You've probably heard, or even seen, children engaging in rebellious behavior from time to time. They have tantrums, don't obey their parents or teachers, constantly fight with their peers or engage in risky activities without seeming to really care about the consequences. Most of the cases in which these maladaptive behaviors occur in children is because they need to express an emotional need. However, there is a psychological disorder called oppositional defiant disorder, which can also be the cause of all these behavioral disorders in children
Also known as Oppositional Defiand Disorde (Oppositional Defiand Disorde), Oppositional Defiand Disorder is one of the classifications of Behavioral Disorders according to DSM 5 (Statistical Diagnostic Manual of Mental Illnesses).
It refers to all those childhood behaviors that involve a maladaptive and inadequate pattern to the regular one that children should have according to their stage of development. These generally manifest in the preschool or pre-adolescent stage and these behaviors can be observed continuously and repeatedly, despite attempts to correct and eliminate them. On the contrary, it seems that these only accentuate and increase them, almost uncontrollably.
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There is no specific cause that explains the origin of oppositional defiant disorder. But there are certain elements that can trigger your symptoms. For example, a deficit, difficulty or alteration in cognitive skills, little control over the emotional sphere, inadequate parenting habits and parental permission or, on the contrary, that the child is constantly subjected to irrational punishments.
Other reasons may stem from an inherited disorder, an imbalance in neural connections, in the release of brain chemicals, or as the result of another disorder, such as ADHD (Attention Hyperactivity Disorder) or bipolar disorder.
According to DSM 5, the criteria for its diagnosis are based mainly on a pattern of negative behavioral changes, for a considerable period of time and that appear repeatedly, without there being any apparent reason for their triggering. It is usually considered that a period equal to or greater than 6 months must be assessed, uninterruptedly. There are also other symptoms that could alert us that our child could suffer from oppositional defiant disorder.
1. Defiance and constant irrational disobedience towards authority figures (parents or teachers).
2. Aggressive and hostile behavior towards peers, family and colleagues.
3. Constant feelings of anger, annoyance, resentment, anxiety, and revenge towards others.
4. You are often frustrated or overly sensitive to changes that you cannot make and control.
5. Argue intensely, spontaneously and continuously with people.
6. Tends to blame, judge and point out others for their mistakes or deliberately in any situation.
7. Refuse requests from adults or increase their negative behavior.
8. The symptoms greatly affect the other areas of development (social, personal, intimate, academic, etc.), interaction and quality of life.
You must bear in mind that this is a disorder that can affect the future of children and young people who manifest it. That is why it is important to carry out a series of actions that will help your little one.
- Attend psychotherapy
Child psychological therapy is the most feasible and functional tool to treat the symptoms of oppositional defiant disorder. Well, not only do they provide guidance to children on their behavior and how to control it, but also give parents tips to handle their children in any situation without hurting them and in a more advantageous way.
This type of treatment is only used when the symptoms of the disorder are more severe. That is, they represent a risk to the overall health of the child and others around him. Risperidone and Aripiprazole are mostly indicated to help combat and reduce impulsivity. Remember that it should always be a professional who has followed the evolution of your child who recommends a medication.
- Reinforce positive behaviors
Remember that the idea is to eliminate all those negative elements that can trigger oppositional symptoms. So try to observe and compliment all positive behaviors or when your little one realizes that they have done something wrong. Guide him to find practical solutions, build empathy, and acknowledge his own right acts.
- Avoid your own negative behaviors
Be an example for your little one. Remember that this disorder develops in the childhood stage and children learn through modeling, observing their parents and their behavior. Therefore, it is necessary to avoid behaviors that aggravate symptoms, such as yelling, losing your mind, being impatient, accusing without reason or blaming. Instead, look for more assertive responses so the child can learn and imitate them.
- Explain your situation
Many children and young people tend to be rebellious because they do not understand the actions that adults take with respect to their actions, that is, it is unfair for them to be punished if they do not tell them why they do it. Take some time and sit down with your son or daughter to explain their situation, the consequences of their behaviors and the solutions they should apply.
- Set clear boundaries
Order is your best ally in these situations, as well as the rules and consequences when they are not followed. In this way, children can control their actions within those set limits. After all, no child likes to be punished and they will then choose to adopt other more functional and adaptive measures. Although, the ideal is to educate children in responsibility and not obedience.
- Adequate penalties
What do we mean by punishing? In psychology, punishment refers to the fact of removing an element that the child enjoys, far from his control or instead that he performs an activity that he does not consider fun. In this way they learn that when they perform an inappropriate act this leads to negative consequences for them, such as decreased enjoyment or the performance of a job. Avoid physical punishment and always explain why you are imposing such punishment and what you should do from now on to improve your situation.
There are certain educational currents, on the other hand, that advocate using natural consequences with children (those that derive directly from their actions) instead of punishments.
- Try to prevent stressful situations
Most of the symptoms are triggered by a troublesome situation that causes discomfort, discomfort, and frustration to the little ones. To avoid this, observe very well what these situations are and try to offer simple solutions for them to imitate and, in this way, that they can solve the problem.
Remember that you can always help your little one if everyone in the family collaborates and is dedicated to improving.
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