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Oppositional Defiant Disorder: What It is & When to Seek Help

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Guest Post from Dr. Dyanna Villesca, Ph.D. Owner of Katy Psychological Services, PLLC

Before we dive into this post, I wanted to thank Dr. Dyanna Villesca, Ph.D., owner of Katy Psychological Services, PLLC for the guest blog post. Super informative and helpful for those parents who may be struggling with a challenging child.

Katy Psychological Services, PLLC has provided quality assessment and testing for those we have referred. We at Katy Teen & Family Counseling, PLLC are happy we have professional Psychologists we can rely on!

Oppositional Defiant Disorder is a persistent pattern of anger, irritability, arguing, and defiance toward authority figures (parents and/or teachers). Treatment for ODD involves meeting with a psychologist or other mental health specialist trained to treat the disorder.

If your child's defiance has reached the point where you feel you no longer have control (or you are on the brink of losing control) of your child, it is time to get some additional tools and strategies to get things going in a more positive direction.

Parenting Styles & ODD

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We all have a certain mindset on how to raise children based on how we grew up, and we tend to either do things the same way as our parents, or the complete opposite if we did not like the methods they used. Parenting styles can be grouped into three main types:


Parent sets limits, teens are expected to follow them. “Do as I say, or else”, or “My way or the highway” philosophy. (Hint: if this is your parenting style, you will need to change it or you are in for some very rough years ahead).


Children have a lot of leeway to do as they want, as long as it is not breaking any major rules or causing trouble. There is usually little required of them with regard to responsibilities or chores. Consequences are not outlined or strictly enforced if misbehavior occurs.


Children are given rules and expectations to follow. They are allowed some input when they disagree (although there is a time and place to do this, and it is not when parents are asking them to do something).Research consistently demonstrates that is the most balanced approach and it has the most successful outcome in raising children to become confident and respectful adults.

Regardless of your parenting type, we all are trying our best. Yet, strong-willed children will not react well to those who try to place limits on them. Any of the above parenting styles may clash with a child who is determined to challenge authority and rules. Why?

What Drives a Child With ODD?

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This is because ODD behavior is fueled by the desire to have power and control over the situation. Parents have said, “I took away everything he owns, his room is bare, he has nothing, and he’s just as defiant!”. This is because a child will spite themselves to show you that no matter what you take away from them, they still do not have to follow your rules (thus, they “win” the power struggle).

ODD behavior thrives on negativity even if your child is not conscious of what they are doing. Emotions are at the center of the child's behavior. Emotions can control him or her over logical thinking (e.g., this is also referred to as the rational mind vs. emotional mind split).

Thus, the child will lose perspective and even spite him/herself to win any control battle with the parent. ODD children will also sabotage a situation to spoil the parent's hopes that things will turn out positively.

Katy Psychological Service, PLLC:

Supporting Parents & Treating Children With ODD

If you are ready to change this cycle, we are ready to help. At Katy Psychological Services, PLLC we provide assessments and parent management training to identify your situation and develop a plan to improve things at home.

This can involve individual therapy with the child, parent sessions only, or combined sessions. Rest assured even if your child “refuses” to meet individually, there are plenty of things parents can do to change the dynamics in the household.

It would be nice if our children came with a manual, but we all know they do not. Parenting is hard enough. Parenting a strong-willed child with oppositional tendencies can be mentally and physically draining for everyone involved.

Seeking out help from a professional who knows how to treat this type of behavior when all your strategies have been exhausted with limited success, is a great next step to take.

About the Author

Dr. Dyanna Villesca, is a Licensed Psychologist and owner of Katy Psychological Services, PLLC. She has a private practice comprised of dedicated professionals. These professionals have extensive knowledge and experience in providing assessments and individual therapy to children, and adolescents. In addition to therapy, the practice provides psychological assessments, testing for ADHD, autism spectrum disorder, and specific learning disabilities.

832-913-8747 or

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