Every parent knows that the teenage phase can be such trying times.
While it is said that at this stage of life a teenager's brain is like a sponge that can swiftly absorb information, the drawback is that some areas of the brain responsible for judgment, decision making, and self-control is still underdeveloped. That is why teenagers are selfish, reckless and irritable because their brains develop slower than their bodies, scientists have claimed.
All young people break a rule or two, especially less important ones, and yet it is normal. However, teenagers who incessantly argues is uncooperative and aggressive to the point of punching walls are never easy to live with, and it will not be long before you and your family will be at wits' end trying to deal with the struggling teenager.
According to experts, if your teenager's attitude has come to the point wherein it is causing excessive stress to your family on a daily basis, then maybe there is a deeper problem rooted behind it.
The American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry states that when oppositional and defiant behavior is persistent, such that it interferes with the teen's ability to fulfill his or her expected duties and responsibilities such as carrying chores to completion or getting good marks at school, then this behavior needs to be checked. Intervention is required as early as possible.
Oppositional Defiant Disorder
Oppositional defiant disorder (ODD) is a persistent pattern of behavior characterized by hostility, defiant, and disregard especially towards authority figures, which goes beyond the bounds of normal behavior.
ODD is commonly characterized by:
- Frequent temper flare ups
- Displays of anger, i.e. punching walls, expletive laced tirades
- Excessive opposition to authority
- Disdain of rules and regulations
- Refusal to comply with simple requests, such as chores
- Deliberate attempts to irritate and annoy people
- Deliberate attempts to aggravate problems
- Negative involvement with regards to family problem solving
- Blaming others for his or her mistakes
- Often being touchy or easily annoyed by others
- Mean and spiteful attitude
- Vindictiveness or revenge seeking attitude
According to the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, if left untreated, more than half of the children with ODD will develop conduct disorders, also known as "antisocial behavior", a precursor to antisocial personality disorder.
This persistent defiance in children has been linked to severe defiance problems and hostility towards established authority in some adults. According to Professor Emily Simonoff of the Institute of Psychiatry, childhood conduct disorder have strong tendencies to develop antisocial personality disorder (ASPD) and criminality in early and mid adult life. So, if you think your teen is having oppositional and defiant behavior problem, you need to act on it as soon as possible.
What Can You Do About It?
There are many factors that cause oppositional defiant disorders, and the foremost causes are biological and environmental. Teens with highest risk are those who have low birth weight, neurological damage or other behavioral problems such as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).
It is important for parents to recognize the problems as soon as possible in order to get the best possible treatment. According to the Mental Health Association of Westchester, treatments that have shown the best results are a combination of the following:
- Educating parents regarding parenting strategies to use when interacting with their struggling teenager
- Behavior therapies that teach teenagers how to control and express feelings in positive, healthy ways
- Counseling aimed to develop the teenager's mental and emotional strength
- Continued aftercare services aimed at long term monitoring of the teen's development
- Sustained positive relationships at home