Last updateMon, 28 Jan 2013 9pm

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Family Life

Oppositional Defiant Disorder

  • Arguing for the sake of it? Confrontational all the time?
  • Knowing you couldn’t possibly get it wrong?
  • Always having to have the last word?
  • Deliberately controversial any time, any place anywhere?

Yes I agree, everyone is guilty of that, but the majority of the time? For jelibeans it seems that plenty of time is spent moaning and arguing over the silliest stupidest little things. The label 'ODD' on it's own is to me offensive. But descriptive it certainly is - Oppositional - the act of opposing or resisting, being in conflict, Defiant - open or bold resistance to or disregard for authority, opposition or power, challenging attitude or behaviour. Personally I think the letter 'P' could be added for Provocative - a move that will induce, or cause, certain symptoms or effects, to deliberately cause annoyance or anger. Many children and adults will just know which buttons to press to really get you going! 

Kids will argue day is night and that the sky is purple with yellow dots, just to be a pain in the backside. They also have a habit of making you look really stupid especially just as you are sitting in front of the Educational Psychologist, calmly you recount the problems you're having and your dear little jelibean who is on the most perfect of behaviour is telling them that YOU are wrong! How irritating is that, it makes you look a fool and your jelibean look like the angel with the golden halo. WHY can’t anyone else see what is going on?

Did you know there were a number of types of argument though? How about the one that’s engineered and timed very conveniently to get your jelibean out of something that they don’t

want to do, or simply decide at the last minute that they don’t want to do? Then lo and behold it’s you or someone innocent that gets the blame!
So what is going on?

ATTENTION-SEEKING, that’s what is going on, oh what will we do to get attention and in the process blame someone else for what is OUR bad behaviour! It’s only a jelibean that can get away with that one as often as we do.

Arguments tend to happen due innocent misunderstandings as well. We've already touched on a number of obvious reasons - literal speaking for instance leads to all sorts of jumbles and cross words. Jelibeans have many difficulties in understanding their own feelings let alone anyone else’s so when we get upset or excited we expect others to feel the same emotion. What emotion is it that we’re feeling? I have trouble separating the feelings. Anger, worry and panic seem to merge into a muddy brown blob in my tummy and I just know I am angry but why? Sometimes we carry rumblings in our tummy with us from one situation to another and by the time we are set to explode it's for the wrong reason.

My children often carry home troubles into school with them, it isn’t Mrs Wotnot’s fault that your jelibean is angry and grumpy because you forgot to buy the chocolate coated cereal that is essential to start your jelibean’s day. So you get my point, check first why the argument has occurred, what was the first thing to trouble your jelibean, was it forgetting swimming kit? Was it the lost school shoes at 08.30am or did they just wake up late? Whatever the reason, it may not be the last thing that has happened, please try to bear that in mind. I am guilty as well, if I have had a nasty brown envelope plop through the door at 10am, it may brew till 1.00pm and it’s my mum who gets the raw deal. Sorry mum, she gets it from all of us and never ever gives it back.

Frustration, here it is again, and we all know where that gets us. Arguments are normally a very good indication that a very nasty icy chill is on the way, remember when the weather gets unpredictable there's always the danger of a tsunami. We refer to them as twisters that can last for quite a while and tend to follow us wherever we go. It can be quite noisy, thundery with flashes of lightening.

Another reason arguments start is that jelibeans just don’t pay attention to what someone else is saying. They’re often too busy saying something themselves, and if someone else is agreeing with them, they may not have taken the time to just hold back and listen for a moment. They’re persevering with their side of the argument, even when there’s really NO argument in the first place!

For those of you who have more than one jelibean in your midst, arguments can become unnecessarily complex and magnified due to the intervention of others who quite frankly have no business poking their noses in in the first place, and who, like everyone else, just wasn’t paying attention right from the start! Most people associate ODD with children - however my children would testify that it has travelled with me all my life.

Link for DSM1V  diagnostic criteria Oppositional Defiant Disorder