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Oppositional Child Specialist

Washington Center for Women's and Children's Wellness (WCWCW) -  - Child, Adolescent, Women’s & Reproductive Psychiatry

Washington Center for Women's and Children's Wellness (WCWCW)

Child, Adolescent, Women’s & Reproductive Psychiatry located in Bethesda, MD and offering Telehealth appointments in Maryland, Virginia, DC, Florida and Michigan



If your child experiences frequent outbursts or acts vindictive toward you and other authority figures, they may have a condition called oppositional child, or oppositional defiant disorder (ODD). At WCWCW, our team of board-certified children, adolescent psychiatrists and outstanding therapists specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of ODD. To make an appointment at the Bethesda, Maryland, office, or throughout Maryland and DC via telehealth,  call or request an appointment online today.

Oppositional Child Q & A

All Services > Our Specialties > Child & Adolescent Psychiatry > Behavioral Issues > Oppositional Child

Oppositional Child

What is oppositional child disorder?

Oppositional child disorder is also known as oppositional defiant disorder (ODD). It’s a behavioral disorder in which a child is frequently angry, argumentative, or vengeful. While most children are defiant and rebellious at times, one with oppositional child disorder exhibits persistently challenging behavior for six months or more.

If your child regularly experiences outbursts, it can affect their relationships and their performance at school. Fortunately, with early intervention and treatment, it’s possible to encourage positive social interactions and reduce the incidence of problematic behavior. 

What are the symptoms of oppositional child disorder?

Symptoms of oppositional child disorder include:

  • An angry or irritable mood
  • Being easily annoyed by others
  • Argumentative and defiant behavior
  • Talking back to authority figures
  • Deliberately upsetting people
  • Blaming others for bad behavior
  • Vindictiveness

The severity of oppositional child disorder varies. Some children only act out in certain settings, like the classroom or church services. Others experience persistent symptoms that occur at home, in public, and elsewhere.

What causes oppositional child disorder?

Researchers aren’t entirely sure what causes oppositional child disorder, but it’s thought various factors contribute, including genetics and environment. In some cases, there may be problems at home or at school that contribute to the development of oppositional child disorder.

When should I see a psychiatrist about oppositional child disorder?

If your child’s behavior has felt extreme over an extended period of time,, and their behavior is affecting other members of your family or causing problems at school, make an appointment at WCWCW. Following a comprehensive psychiatric evaluation, we will develop a custom treatment plan.

How is oppositional child disorder diagnosed?

To diagnose oppositional child disorder, your child’s WCWCW clinician reviews their medical history and conducts a complete psychological evaluation. The evaluation includes an assessment of your child’s health, their emotions and behavior, and a discussion of how often they experience symptoms.

What treatments are available for oppositional child disorder?

Treatment of oppositional child disorder involves a combination of counseling and family-based interventions. Medication typically isn’t necessary, unless your child has another underlying behavioral condition like anxiety, depression, or attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

Your child’s WCWCW clinician might recommend:

  • Parent training
  • Parent-child interaction therapy (PCIT)
  • Individual and family therapy
  • Cognitive problem-solving training
  • Social skills training
  • Play Therapy

The goal of treatment is to reduce the frequency of emotional outbursts and encourage healthy social interactions.

To learn more about treatment for oppositional child disorder, call the WCWCW office or request an appointment online today.