Oppositional and Defiant Behaviors are very difficult for parents, teachers, and the child who has the disorder. An opposition defiant disorder, as defined by the DSM-V, is a pattern of irritable/angry mood, argumentative behavior, or vindictiveness lasting for at least 6 months. Often symptoms include loss of temper, easily annoyed, resentment, arguing with authority figures, refusing to comply with rules or request, deliberating annoying others, blaming others for his/her mistakes, and vindictive behaviors. Only a trained mental health professional can diagnose this condition but if you have a family member or a child struggling with any of these symptoms, it can be overwhelming and very upsetting to the whole family.

These are a few strategies for parents and teachers to consider:


  • Apply and optimize the anger thermometer asking for anger units based on a scale of 1-100.
  • Utilize deep breathing techniques.
  • Explore sensory self-soothing methods using the 5 senses.
  • Use strategies to label emotions.
  • Use the 3 second rule with a timeout.
  • Teaching accountability for behavior is important. Don’t accept bad behavior.
  • Learn how to channel anger in healthy ways. Some great examples are art, music, and exercise.
  • Create a task analysis in the classroom and at home.
  • Teach your child/student how to read micro-expressions on their face by giving them feedback on the way their behavior comes across to you. This will help them to improve their social skills.

A good mental health professional can help you create a perfect plan that is right for your family.


A dear friend of mine, Quinn Cunningham McClellan, explained parenting so perfect when she said, “Raising children is like launching a space shuttle. You have really good communication and visualization for a while and then the module has to go around the moon and the moon blocks all signal. There’s radio silence while it’s traveling behind the moon, but you have to trust that it’s still there….and then one day you’ll get a little blip on your radar and hope that it’s coming back around. And then you celebrate at base camp when communication is re-established and you’ve survived the teen years without any catastrophic events.