Oppositional Defiant Disorder, which is also ODD, in short, can affect people negatively if not treated right away. Aside from interventions that are based on family, there are a few ways to treat this disorder in toddlers.
Characteristics of children with ODD include often getting angry, sensitive, arguing against people, opposing others’ opinion, or holding grudges against authorities such as parents. This kind of condition can be caused by genetic issues or environmental factors. Besides, a number of children and adolescents with this disorder also have other mental health disorders, such as:
- Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
- Conduct disorder
- Learning and communication disorders
In some cases, ODD in toddlers will disappear as they get older. However, others continue to experience behavior issues.
If you have children with ODD and want to know the benefits of ODD treatment and the risks if it is not treated, check out the following information taken from Orami:
Handling Toddlers with ODD
Aside from the family-based interventions, treatment of ODD can also involve psychotherapy and other training. The treatments for this kind of disorder usually last a few months or more. The basic ODD treatment in toddlers usually includes:
- Parent training. Mental health professionals who have experience in dealing with ODD will help you as a parent to practice parenting skills that are more consistent, positive and less frustrating for you and your children. In some cases, your children will join the training as well, so all the members of the family will know how to fix the issues.
- Parent-child interaction therapy (PCIT). Parents will be guided by the therapist through strategies that encourage positive behavior. The therapist will do it by sitting behind a one-way mirror and by using headphones. The things that parents will learn include more effective parenting techniques, the way to improve the quality of the parent-child relationship, and the way to decrease behavioral issues.
- Individual and family therapy. With individual therapy, your children will learn to manage anger and express feelings in a healthier way. As for family therapy, it can improve communication and relationships and help the members of the family to learn how to work together.
- Training on how to deal with cognitive issues. This kind of therapy has the purpose of helping your children identify and change patterns that are suspected of causing behavior issues. Basically, you as a parent, will work with your children to come up with a solution that works for you two, so you two can master problem-solving skills that can be used any time.
- Social skills training. Your children will feel more flexible as well as will be able to learn the way to interact with friends in a more positive and effective way. For children with anxiety or depression, cognitive behavioral therapy is also recommended.
In addition to undergoing therapy, it is also important for you to address other ongoing issues such as learning disorders because they can worsen or even cause ODD symptoms if left unchecked.
Medications Used to Treat ODD
According to Child Mind Institute, medications are not usually used to treat ODD unless your child also has another mental health disorder. In the case where children are at risk of being expelled from school or home, antipsychotic medications are often used to reduce aggression and irritability. If they are excessively impulsive, including children with ADHD, stimulant medications are used. In addition, antidepressant medications are also used to help those who suffer from depression or anxiety.
Effects of ODD Handling on Toddlers
There are several benefits that both children and those around them get if ODD is treated right away, such as:
- Restore the confidence of children, which is important for their future.
- Improve the relationship between the toddler and the parent, which is important for the health and happiness of the household.
- Rebuild positive relationships with other important people in the life of children, such as teachers or caregivers.
Then, what will happen if ODD treatment in toddlers is not treated immediately? The list includes:
- Rejection from peers
- It will be hard to form healthy relationships
- Disputes in the family
- Your children have a hard time reaching their potential
- If something does not go the way your children want, they will think that it is someone else’s fault and not their own.
- Your children will take refuge where they can get what they want.
- Your children will try less and force people that are close to them to do something for them, which is not good as it will make the relationship messier.
A few children with ODD experience more severe behavioral disturbances. These include criminal acts such as stealing, burning, and hurting others.
The most important thing when handling toddlers with ODD is to show unconditional and consistent love and acceptance for your children, even in difficult and disturbing situations.
While it is true the process will be hard, including for the parents of the patients, it will succeed as long as there is an intention. As a mother, you have to keep the good work and remember to not be too hard on yourself.