ODD: What to Look For

Children and adolescents with ODD are very quick to lose their tempers, often disobedient at home or at school, apt to ignore or rebel against rules, quick to blame others for mistakes or misbehavior, and prone to annoy others and be easily annoyed. Within limits, every one of these behaviors is typical in children, but those with ODD have problems containing these impulses, and act out so often that it compromises their ability to get along with others. The extraordinary level of oppositional behavior means children with ODD are sometimes described as having a “reflexive ‘No!’”—they will refuse to cooperate even before they know what is being asked of them. Symptoms of ODD can become apparent as early as pre-school or much later, in adolescence.