A constant battle: oppositional defiant disorder in teens

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In every school, there are a few notoriously “bad” kids. These young people are defiant to authority figures like teachers and administrators, and act out at home, too. But some of these kids can’t help their insubordination. Oppositional defiant disorder in teens is a pattern of irritability and defiant, insubordinate behavior that lasts at least six months. Oppositional defiant disorder in teens can wreak havoc on your teen’s social, academic, and home life.

Identifying ODD

Symptoms of oppositional defiant disorder in teens include:

  • Deliberately annoying others, especially siblings.
  • Blames bad behavior on others
  • Arguing with adults
  • Defying adults
  • Excessive arguing
  • Spiteful or vindictive behavior
  • Swearing or using obscene language.
  • Touchy and easily annoyed

Causes of ODD

The causes of oppositional defiant disorder in teens is currently unknown. However, researchers have investigated the possibility of neurological, genetic, or chemical causes. Another cause may be the past responses by family members to the teen’s behavior. Oppositional defiant disorder in teens is more common in boys than girls, and behavior issues typically begin around the age of eight.

oppositional defiant disorder in teens

Image source: Flickr user- josh janssen

Some tips for parents

Dealing with oppositional defiant disorder in teens is extremely difficult to deal with and may even seem impossible at times. Make sure to praise your teen when they show flexibility or cooperate. Manage your own stress by taking breaks to relax and exercise. Even though your teen might want to fight about every little thing, pick your own battles. Prioritize the things you want your teen to actually do, rather than fighting with them at random. Make sure to have other interests other managing your teen with oppositional defiant disorder in teens. Seek out support from other adults who work with your teen. Work out a system with them for how to deal with your teen, specifically.

Trails Carolina can help

If your teen continues to defy authority figures and poses a serious distraction to other students in their classes and in your household, it might be time to consider getting professional help.

Trails Carolina is a wilderness therapy program for struggling teens ages 10-17. With a multidisciplinary approach to wilderness therapy and a professional, caring staff, Trails can help your teen overcome their negative behaviors.

For more information about Trails Carolina, please call 800-975-7303.


Graham Shannonhouse

All stories by: Graham Shannonhouse