Defiant Children and Teenagers

The Defiant Child and Oppositional Defiant Disorder

Do you feel that you live in a home where everyone is walking on eggshells because of the behavior of one child/teen who is constantly stirring up trouble — constantly pushing the limits — leaving everyone exhausted and unhappy? Do you feel that this same child/teen uses up all of your emotional resources so that the other kids get nothing from you? Are you and your spouse constantly arguing with ea`ch other because this child/teen leaves you so exhausted and irritable you just aren't pleasant to be around? Does this same child/teen constantly embarrass you because teachers and principles and other parents call you to complain of rude, insubordinate behavior? Do you constantly feel on edge because you always have to restrain yourself from yelling and screaming and even physically striking this child/teen because he or she doesn't respect you or your rules no matter how many chances you've given? If your answer is yes to most of these questions, chances are you are the parent of a child with Oppositional Defiant Disorder, also known as ODD.

How does ODD differ from the normal growing pains that children and teenagers go through — you know, the normal talking back and the occasional rule-breaking? It is in the frequency, intensity, and degree to which these kids will push you and challenge your authority. If your child is keeping your family and home in a constant state of unhappiness and it is primarily due to arguing and rule-breaking, chances are he or she has Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD). Oppositional Defiant Disorder can be found in kids of all ages, sizes, races, all social backgrounds, and from both sexes. The American Psychiatric Association's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition, uses the following criteria to describe their behavior:

  • often loses temper
  • often argues with adults
  • often actively defies or refuses to comply with adults' requests or rules
  • often deliberately annoys people
  • often blames others for his or her mistakes or misbehaviors
  • is often touchy or easily annoyed by others
  • is often angry and resentful
  • is often spiteful or vindictive

While such a list appears useful, caution is urged. Other disorders can look like ODD to the untrained eye. Depressed children and teens are often agitated and angry, and can easily be misdiagnosed as having ODD. There is much public confusion on the difference between an oppositional, defiant child and an explosive child. You clearly cannot treat them using the same methods. Children who are bipolar can easily be mistaken as having ADD/ADHD, being depressed, or being explosive. They are too often treated with inappropriate therapies or medications, to disastrous effect. In order to begin to appreciate the differences between all of these disorders, you need to educate yourself.

Is there hope for these kids and for restoring peace to your family? Most definitely. I get calls from parents from all over the country who say they had lost hope for their child until they found my book, The Defiant Child: A Parent's Guide To Oppositional Defiant Disorder, the first book about Oppositional Defiant Disorder written specifically as a guide for parents. In it I explain the eleven basic beliefs that cause children and teenagers to act in an oppositional, defiant manner. Then I explain nine essential ways parents must begin to think in order to bring these children under control. The most important part of the book, however, the part that parents tell me they like the best, is a set of step-by-step interventions that can be used to restore peace to your home.

More comments from parents:

"I have just finished reading your book and wanted to let you know...I have nominated you for a Nobel Peace Prize!!....Your book was truly the first resource to provide concrete examples, alternative recommendations and insight into the minds of the children....True to your word you eliminated the psychobabble and provided me with tangible examples to implement....After only four days of reading this, significant harmony has been restored in our lives....We no longer walk on eggshells....Phenomenal material...."C. Urbonas

"If you're perusing discipline books, wondering what to do about in-your-face defiance, screaming, foul-language, etc., this is the book for you. It is right to the point and dead-on. I wish I'd found it about 2 years earlier, when my daughter started middle school and the behavior escalated. The author's suggestions definitely work. All I can add is, 'Whew'."From an Amazon.Com reviewer

"Don't be put off buying the book if you feel that your child is not an ODD kid; many of the measures are firm and reasonable enough to deal with kids who are excessive in their behaviour, without maybe being oppositional. The layout of the book is such that a parent can choose the methods that seem most suited to the child and the behaviour. We were most impressed with the book's no-nonsense approach to child rearing. Too many books seem to take a wishy-washy approach to children who drive the parents mad, somehow attaching the blame to the parents. Dr Riley asks you to look at the family situation, but also points out that many children are just oppositional, it's a part of their nature, and blame is not to be attached. Instead, he offers practical ideas on how to deal with the situation you are in. I would recommend this book not just to parents, but to teachers of defiant children as well."From an Amazon United Kingdom reviewer

"This book is very practical and has a lot of great advice. Be warned, however, that it would be important to read the entire book before implementing some of the methods outlined in the stories. I have been struggling with my strong-willed, angry, defiant child for years. The key here is to communicate in no uncertain terms that you are the parent and he/she is the child. The child has no rights and you have every right to expect their behavior to be respectful and pleasant. For years conflicts with our defiant child have brought division between my husband and myself. Finally, a book that clarifies the situation clearly so that we can both see the ride we are being taken on by our defiant child. Now we have the upper hand, we are able to communicate our genuine love and concern for our child (14-year-old boy), and peace reigns in our home as we are seeing our child turn into a happy, well-adjusted, child instead of defiant, angry, manipulative and unthankful!! After the second week of using these methods my child was pleasant, cooperative, obedient, and talking more. We are now seeing his sense of humor return and enjoying one another. The icing on the cake was that he prepared a gourmet breakfast for me on my birthday! What a pleasant outcome! " An Amazon Reviewer

Wished this was available years ago!! This book would be good for any parent with a child with O.D.D. (Oppositional Defiant Disorder). If your child has been diagnosed with O.D.D. or it has ever even been suggested that this disorder is what has been causing your child's behavior you need to read this as soon as possible. Dr. Riley has some great suggestions for helping parents deal with the oppositonal child. My child is now 18 and I wish someone would have offered me this book year ago. After reading this book, if you even suspect that this is what your child's problem is, find a therapist who specializes in O.D.D. It will help you and your child in the long run. From a Barnes and Nobel reviewer,and mother of 3 5 stars

The Defiant Child - Book Cover

Order The Defiant Child at Amazon.comThe Defiant Child bookcover

For more reviews and parenting advice, see Parent to Parent

"A MUST READ for parents of a defiant child!!!
As I thumbed through the pages I could not believe someone had written a book about my child. I have never felt so 'NOT' alone in my life. This book is easy to read and very easily applied to everyday life."

From a Barnes and Nobel reviewer and parent

"Dr. Riley does a remarkable job of giving parents a glimpse of the mistaken ideas that guide the behavior of defiant children. Hopefully, parents will stop blaming themselves and recognize that these children act out due to their distorted sense of reality. Parents who read this book often report that the book serves as guideposts for how to make their children more sensitive."
M. Smith, Amazon reviewer

For more reviews and parenting advice, see Parent to Parent