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What are the symptoms of oppositional defiant disorder?

My child has ADHD and has also been showing signs of defiance. Last week he had a complete meltdown and wouldn't listen to anyone. Could he also have oppositional defiant disorder?
Submitted by Parents.com Team

It's possible. About 40 percent of kids with ADHD have oppositional defiant disorder (ODD) as a coexisting disorder. These children have extremely argumentative and challenging behavior, such as frequent tantrums, refusing to obey rules, and blaming others for mistakes.

If you suspect your child has ODD, then a clinical evaluation should be done for a firm diagnosis. The good news is that if your child is diagnosed with ODD, a change in his medication along with some behavioral therapy should get his condition under better control. There are also things you can do at home to help your child, whether she has ADHD, ODD, or both, such as:

• Constantly praise and provide positive reinforcement when he's flexible or cooperative.
• Model good behavior. If you're losing your temper with your child, take a break. Praise your child if he decides to take a time-out to prevent an outburst.
• Set up reasonable, age-appropriate limits with consequences that can be enforced consistently, so your child knows what's expected of him.
• It's hard for kids with ADHD and ODD to avoid conflict, so pick your battles. Prioritize what rules are most important (like not being verbally or physically abusive to siblings) and focus on them.

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The answers from our experts are for educational purposes only. Please always refer to your child's pediatrician and mental health expert for more in-depth advice.

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