How to Discipline a Child With Oppositional Defiant Disorder

By Charlina Stewart

The American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry notes, “In children with oppositional defiant disorder (ODD), there is an ongoing pattern of uncooperative, defiant, and hostile behavior toward authority figures that seriously interferes with the youngster's day to day functioning.” Disciplining kids can be a challenge for parents under ideal circumstances, and when your child has oppositional defiant disorder, the challenge of discipline is multiplied manyfold. Use these steps to learn more about how to effectively discipline a child with oppositional defiant disorder.

Have your child evaluated. Sometimes, there are other issues accompanying oppositional defiant disorder, such as attention deficient hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), bipolar disorder, mood disorder or depression.

Attend parent training programs and learn all you can about oppositional defiant disorder. The more you know about the disorder, the more effective your discipline techniques will be.

Use positive reinforcement. Instead of always pointing out the things your child does wrong, take the time to let her know that you notice and appreciate when she behaves and follows the rules.

Don’t nag your child about small things. It’s easy to nitpick about everything a kid does wrong, especially if he's always in trouble. If your child’s behavior does not pose a danger to himself or others, ignore it.

Be realistic about your youngster's capabilities. Take your child’s age and developmental level into consideration when you’re setting behavior expectations. Having unrealistic expectations can cause you to become frustrated, make your kid feel inadequate and lead to more behavior problems.

Contact a mental health professional, an advocacy center or your child’s attending physician about obtaining mental help for your youngster.

Eat right, exercise and get plenty of rest. Taking care of yourself will better equip you to manage the stress associated with disciplining a child with oppositional defiant disorder.

About the Author

Charlina Stewart has been a professional ghostwriter since 2004. Her articles have been published in the "Tyler Morning Telegraph," and on websites such as Education.com, Womb to Bloom, Suite 101, and eHow. Stewart has also had articles referenced in the Lamar University Early Child Development Center's Employee Handbook, and the Wilkes County Smart Start Newspaper Column.