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Are there ways to prevent Oppositional Defiant Disorder?

Research shows that early-intervention and school-based programs along with individual psychotherapy can help prevent Oppositional Defiant Disorder.

A developmental sequence of experiences occurs in the development of Oppositional Defiant Disorder. This sequence may start with ineffective parenting practices, followed by difficulty with other authority figures and poor peer interactions. As these experiences continue, defiant behaviors develop into a “pattern” of behavior. Early detection and intervention into negative family and social experiences can be very helpful in disrupting the sequence of experiences leading to more defiant behaviors.

Early detection and intervention with more effective communication skills, parenting skills, conflict resolution skills, and anger management skills can disrupt the pattern of negative behaviors and decrease the interference of defiant behaviors in interpersonal relationships with grown-ups and peers, and school and social adjustment.

Among preschoolers, the Head Start program has been shown to help kids do well in school and prevent delinquency later in life. Head Start is a program of the United States Department of Health and Human Services (US-HHS) that provides education, health, and other services to low-income kids and their families. Young kids in this program learn social skills, how to resolve conflict, and how to manage anger. A home visit to high-risk kids also has been shown to help prevent Oppositional Defiant Disorder among preschoolers.

Among teenagers with Oppositional Defiant Disorder, talk therapy, social-skills training, vocational training, and assistance with academics can help reduce disruptive behavior. In addition, school-based programs can be effective in stopping bullying, reducing antisocial behavior, and improving peer relationships.

Parent-management training programs have proven effective in preventing Oppositional Defiant Disorder among all age groups. These programs teach moms and dads how to develop a nurturing and secure relationship with their youngster and how to set boundaries for unacceptable behavior.

Since Oppositional Defiant Disorder is caused by many different factors, it is impossible to completely protect your son or daughter from developing this disorder. However, you can carefully control the environment in which your youngster lives, especially if he or she has existing conditions that put him or her at risk. These conditions include ADHD, developmental disorders, anxiety, and depression.

Consistent, caring parenting with appropriate rules and boundaries can teach a youngster or teen how to correctly follow guidance and respect authority figures. Early diagnosis improves the prognosis of treatment, so contact your doctor if your son or daughter begins to exhibit symptoms of Oppositional Defiant Disorder, especially if he or she has other existing risk factors.

Help for Parents with Oppositional Defiant Children and Teens

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