Oppositional Defiance?

I have written three extensively-researched articles about the topic of Oppositional Defiant Disorder (O.D.D.), in particular as it relates to ADHD.

Why We Must Stop Calling Children “Defiant”

“Morality is doing what is right regardless of what you are told. Obedience is doing what is told regardless of what is right.”

— H.L. Mencken

“The symptoms of Compliance Acquiescent Disorder (CAD) include: defers to authority, actively obeys rules, fails to argue back, knuckles under instead of mobilizing others in support, and stays restrained when outrage is warranted.”

–Norm Diamond

“You can’t have two people pushing against each other if one of them doesn’t participate! You can’t have a power struggle with only one person engaged.”

— Susan Stiffelman

Read “Stop Calling Children Defiant” on Fourth Wave.


O.D.D. Does. Not. Exist.

“Diagnoses — such as ADHD, oppositional defiant disorder, bipolar disorder, depression, an autism spectrum disorder, reactive attachment disorder, the newly coined disruptive mood regulation disorder, or any other disorder — can be helpful in some ways. They “validate” that there’s something different about your kid, for example. But they can also be counterproductive in that they can cause caregivers to focus more on a child’s challenging behaviors rather than on the lagging skills and unsolved problems giving rise to those behaviors. Also, diagnoses suggest that the problem resides within the child and that it’s the child who needs to be fixed.”

(Greene, 2014)

“Gifted children with ADHD argue wth parents and teachers about problem behaviours. They have a very difficult time accepting the authority of adults unless they see it as reasonable or just. Gifted children with ADHD feel equal to adults and think logical arguments ought to decide outcomes.”

(Lovecky, 2004)

“When we become untrustworthy, children are less likely to cooperate.”

(Luvmour, 2017)

“When we view behaviours as intentional, we tend to use disciplinary strategies aimed at a surface target rather than the underlying cause of the behaviour.”

(Delahooke, 2019)

“When we appreciate children’s behaviours for what they are telling us about the child’s internal life, we experience a paradigm shift, moving from viewing behaviours negatively to seeing them as providing useful information.” 

(Delahooke, 2019)

“When a child is challenging, it’s a sign that something is getting in the way of the child meeting a demand.”

(Delahooke, 2019)

Continue reading on The Fourth Wave.


I’d Like to Rewrite the DSM, Please

(Just a couple sections).

ADHD and ODD: what’s the connection?

Can we talk about the irony of hyperfocus? We ADHDers, who are known for being distractible, are also more likely to get stuck on something and unable to tear our attention away from it.

The PFC is like the cool-headed friend who is supposed to hold back the hot-headed amygdala when they start to get worked up. The PFC is meant to calm the amygdala, as well as communicate to the motor cortices to slow down and think before acting.

“You can’t have two people pushing against each other if one of them doesn’t participate! You can’t have a power struggle with only one person engaged.”

– Susan Stiffelman

Based on this, and my other writings on these topics, I would argue that ODD is an unnecessary and harmful label that places unfair blame on the child, and usually one with an underdeveloped PFC to begin with.

This “diagnosis” stigmatizes developmentally and situationally appropriate behaviour, and worse than that, it labels and stigmatizes children. Once adults hear a child is “ODD”, they’re likely to view all their behaviour through that lens, and assign malicious intent to potentially benign or innocent behaviours.

“In every power struggle between an adult and a child, there’s an adult who wants their own way, too.”

– Dr. Ross Greene

People with ADHD and other divergent brains already deal with stigma and ignorance on a regular basis, we really don’t need to add to it.

Continue reading on Fourth Wave.


Published by Jillian ADHD 2e MB

Jillian has Child and Youth Work diploma as well as a BA in Psychology. Jillian worked on the front lines of Social Services agencies from 2003 - 2012. Jillian has taken numerous continuing education courses and has attended various workshops focused on supporting neurodiverse children, in particular children with ADHD.

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