Conduct Disorders/ODD

ODD, or oppositional defiant disorder, is diagnosed in children and young people that are persistently and repetitively antisocial, disobedient, have frequent tantrums, can not listen to authority, and purposely harm others. Conduct disorders are the most common disorders in children and are more frequent in boys, with 7% of boys and 3% of girls meeting the criteria for conduct disorders.

It is normal for children to be defiant towards authority to some degree, but if a particular pupil stands out from the others in your class as perpetually defiant, and resentful towards others, this can develop into oppositional defiant disorder (ODD) where they might have temper tantrums and argue with adults and peers. As the child becomes older, they might develop Conduct Disorder (CD) where they might engage in a range of additional violent and destructive behaviours such as fighting, lying and blaming others for their behaviour. In some extreme cases, the young person may engage in being cruel to animals and starting fires.

As a teacher, it can be difficult to know how to handle a student with ODD in a way that ensures they make the most of their learning and helps their behaviours and social relationships. However, there are things you can do to show them that you care and are fair to them, such as setting very clear, achievable behavioural goals so they know what you expect of them. Don’t forget to praise them and reward their good behaviour, and do not just focus on their negative behaviour as this may only encourage it.

If a child with ODD only shows these behaviours in school and not at home, it can be difficult to communicate with their parents about their behaviour as they may not listen or want to believe their child is misbehaving when they don’t see that behaviour themselves. All you can do is recommend the parents contact a Special Educational Needs Coordinator (SENCO) who can help by making a referral to their local child and adolescent mental health service (such as CAMHS) or another appropriate local support service.

To learn more about ODD and conduct disorders in children and young people watch our informational videos below. You can also visit our Where to get Help page.

Watch our Films

Conduct Disorder: Tips For Teachers

This 3 minute film gives Tips for Teachers who have a child in their class with challenging behaviours or Conduct Disorder/Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD).

Read and download our fact sheets, watch more videos or sign up for our mailing list and free interactive guide.

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Conduct Disorders in Children Information Film

Conduct Disorders are mental and behavioural problems in young people and the most common reason for a child to be referred to Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services. (CAMHS)

This film explains how to recognise and help a child who shows the symptoms of conduct disorder or oppositional defiant disorder (ODD).

Read and download our fact sheets, watch more videos or sign up for our mailing list and free interactive guide.

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How to Recognise Symptoms of Conduct Disorder Part One

Read and download our fact sheets, watch more videos or sign up for our mailing list and free interactive guide.

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How to Recognise Symptoms of Conduct Disorder Part Two

Find out more about Conduct Disorders in Children, read and download our fact sheets, watch more videos or sign up for our mailing list and free interactive guide.

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Raising a Child with ODD and ADHD

ODD stands for Oppositional Defiant Disorder. It is a conduct disorder. Children with ODD frequently have severe temper tantrums, do things that annoy people, argue, defy adults’ requests, seem angry and spiteful and blame others for their own misbehaviour.

Find out more about Conduct Disorders in Children, read and download our Fact sheet, or watch more real life experience films.

Celina’s daughter has ADHD. But Celina describes how the ADHD feeds Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD) and it is the ODD that affects her daughter the most. ODD is the most common Conduct Disorder in children 10 years and under.

Celina explains the challenges of her daughter’s behaviour which present both at school and at home. They must explore ways for her to remain at school and for them to have a settled home life.

Conduct Disorders are the most common mental and behavioural problem in children and young people. (7% in boys and 3% in girls).

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