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What to do at home with adolescents with oppositional defiant disorder?

Oppositional defiant disorder is a relatively common psychological disorder in minors, and that in addition to generating discomfort, also has a significant impact on the quality of life of the entire population. family.

Luckily, there are strategies that help correct this type of behavior patterns, and although it is necessary to have the help of psychology professionals to deal with these cases, many things can also be done from home in that address. Therefore, in this article we will review some advice for parents of adolescents with oppositional defiant disorder.

  • Related article: "The 3 Stages of Adolescence"

What is oppositional defiant disorder?

As its name very well expresses, oppositional defiant disorder (ODD) is a disorder that is linked to behavior that breaks with social norms and the tendency to refuse to cooperate or collaborate with others, and to lose his temper easily, adopting hostile attitudes. It is diagnosed in children and adolescents, and if it is not treated in therapy, it usually triggers the appearance of other more severe psychological alterations.

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Of course, in oppositional defiant disorder the symptoms are not as extreme as those that characterize conduct disorder (previously known as dissocial disorder), given that in the latter if physical violence is very present, the destruction of the property of others, and the Stole.

Between the distinctive symptoms and behavior patterns of oppositional defiant disorder the following stand out.

  • Disruptive behaviors appear very frequently.
  • The person has a high degree of irritability and loses patience "at the slightest."
  • There is a predisposition to hold grudges and seek revenge for real or imagined wrongs.
  • The person tends to annoy others just for fun.
  • The person's behavior reflects that he never respects the rules or authority figures.
  • There is a tendency to verbally attack others, although physical attacks are rare.
  • The person rejects any initiative that implies cooperation.
ODD in adolescents

In addition, Oppositional Defiant Disorder is very common with other disorders. disorders, especially Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, with which there is a high comorbidity Specifically, although It is estimated that around 3% of boys and girls develop oppositional defiant disorder, among those with ADHD, this percentage rises to 30%.

  • You may be interested: "Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD) in Children: Causes and Symptoms"

What to do when living with and raising a teenager with ODD?

These are the main guidelines and advice that parents of an adolescent with oppositional defiant disorder should take into account.

1. Convince him of the practicalities of attending therapy

In the first place, it is important to do everything possible to make him want to attend psychotherapy, since in this context it will be possible for him to adopt other behavior patterns. going beyond mitigating the most extreme symptoms offered by the use of some psychoactive drugs (under medical prescription). To do this, it is recommended that you do not do it from arguments based on morality, since this can make them defensive by feeling that we want them to “fit” with a series of roles linked to “what is well". Instead, emphasize the practical consequences of what going to the psychologist can bring to your daily life.

  • Related article: "The 10 benefits of going to psychological therapy"

2. Set clear limits to comply with at home and outside of it

Make those limits, the basic rules that must be met, few and very clear, so that you always have them in mind. In addition, it clarifies from the beginning what the consequences of not complying with the rules are: that you withdraw your help or collaboration in aspects of your life that you took for granted (for example, lowering your pay weekly). It is important that the punishments are not too extreme so that their priority does not become breaking everything because of the anger that the situation produces, and that he continues to feel interest in not going beyond those limits.

And, on the other hand, never make exceptions in complying with those rules and set an example.

  • You may be interested: "How to set limits on children: 10 tips to educate them"

3. Make the rules not just an imposition

It is important that the adolescent does not see the rules as something he has to carry, but as something that also brings you good things. For example, the rule system applies to the whole family, so he knows what to expect of others and is assured that they will not act in ways that are detrimental to him or her. In other words, you must show that system of norms as a general framework that applies to several people at the same time.

4. Congratulate him/her on his/her progress in therapy

Loudly acknowledging and appreciating their progress is even more important than punishing bad behavior. Also, don't just show your satisfaction at their progress; to see how proudly you speak of him or her in front of others.

  • Related article: "The 16 types of reinforcers (and their characteristics)"

Are you looking for professional psychological assistance?

If you want to have professional psychological support, contact me.

My name is Thomas Saint Cecilia, I am a psychologist specialized in the cognitive-behavioral model and I work with adults, adolescents and families, either in person at my practice located in Madrid or online through video call.

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