The past several years have been a horrible struggle. We recently found out (probably 4 years ago) that our youngest son has O.D.D. or Oppositional Defiant Disorder or sometimes confused or partnered with C.D. or Conduct Disorder.

Our son is only 11. He's been going through this for as long as I can remember.


I remember hearing stories from his birth father, that his nephew used to be very similar to how my son is acting. His nephew used to kill animals and laugh. He would take forks and stab family members just because they defied him. Outside of the family though, everyone thought this lil' boy was a perfect angel. He would be polite, considerate, kind, and helpful.

It's a common trait for children with ODD or CD to be “Nice to everyone else” except for the people who are around him so much that he can't hold back their anger and defiance from.

If you've never heard of ODD or CD. It's more than having an unruly child. It has nothing to do with discipline, or lack of discipline. You can be as consistent as  you want, somethings just don't click or work for your child who has Oppositional Defiant Disorder or Conduct Disorder, at least it doesn't with our child.

Teen Oppositional Defiant Disorder

This is not fun!

It's not a walk in the park!

If you have a short fuse, it's even harder to deal with!

Spanking does NOTHING but adds fuel to the “fire”!

Grounding, does the same thing as spanking!

I love my son.

He can be the most loving, caring, considerate young man in the world.

He'll play with his baby cousin and she loves him and he loves her. They play with dolls, he plays with her kitchen set, reads her books, and pays attention to her and treats her perfectly.

Other days, he'll be the most vindictive, mean, spiteful, and physically hurtful child anyone has ever come across.


He's cut whiskers off of our cats, broken things of his brother's or ours, he's flat-out cussed out “friends”, called females he goes to school with derogatory names.

All of which he KNOWS that he's not supposed to do. He knows it's wrong. If he doesn't get his way, this is what he does. He destroys his friendships, relationships, and more. EVERY SINGLE year, he hones in on one person and will destroy their self-esteem just to “apologize” and try to make things right.


Today, I received a phone call from the principal saying that he was yelling at a fellow classmate and calling her a “bitch”, “slut”, “whore” and more.

While the principal was talking to him, he showed remorse. *Yay* Only that's the problem with children with Oppositional Defiant Disorder. They can show it, but they don't “mean” it.

It's almost as if they don't have that characteristic. They know they are supposed to show it so that they don't get into more trouble, but they truly don't understand what it is. It doesn't mean a thing to them. It doesn't bring them any type of satisfaction.

So what do we do?

We try to live still.

Even though we still live our lives, we don't go many places because there is always some type of explosion that happens before or during the event that embarrasses my husband and myself and puts strain on the remainder of the day or event. Majority of our family knows and understands. We do have some that tell us “This wouldn't happen if you take a belt to his ass!” (Yes, it's been said many times.) We have tried spanking in the past. It doesn't work. It just adds more fuel to the fire.

We also do LOTS & LOTS of Therapy.


Right now our insurance will only pay for 30 sessions a year. So we can only go every OTHER week and recently cut us from 1 hr sessions to 45 minute sessions. (Yeah like that's freakin' helpful!) Insurances recently feel that a therapist or psychologist should be able to diagnose within 45 minutes and be able to “cure” their patients or find “cures” or find something that works within 45 min sessions only 30 times a year.


I truly wish insurance companies would STOP putting such restraints on mental illnesses such as Oppositional Defiant Disorder, Conduct Disorder, ADHD, Bi-Polar Disorder, Anxiety, Depression, Autism, Schizophrenia, etc.

These disorders and illnesses need patience, time, structure…

They need HELP!

It's a known fact (through studies) that children who have ADHD, Oppositional Defiant Disorder, Conduct Disorder, Depression, Anxiety, Schizophrenia, and more… have it because a parent or grandparent has the disorder or one disorder that can develop into another. (There is still developing studies on autism. I'm not knowledgeable in that realm.)

I think the only website I've found, so far; that explains ODD (or at least the “strain” my son has) is Liahona Academy. You can see a descriptive info-graphic below that explains pretty much my son perfectly. I figured I would share it with my readers in hopes that it helps someone else in my shoes.

I have a couple of questions after the info-graphic so make sure you answer them in the comments!

Again, let me remind you.


I love both of my children.

Both have ADHD, however my youngest also has Conduct Disorder and Oppositional Defiant Disorder. There are days that I wonder what I did wrong in raising him for him to act like this. I'm often reminded by our therapist “You did nothing wrong. You parented how you knew and know how!”

Learn how to address Oppositional Defiant Disorder at

Many people have asked me in the past year “How do you even deal with it?”


He's my child. I gave birth to him and I will NEVER EVER give up on him.

The moment I felt my boys move while in my uterus, I was connected to them for life. NOTHING was going to tear us apart.

ODD is not a family breaker. If your family falls apart because you let ODD tear your family apart, (completely my opinion), your family wasn't that strong to begin with.

My husband knew what he was in for with my boys. He knew my oldest was ADHD and hearing impaired. We suspected ADHD or some type of conduct disorder with my youngest. Sure, it stresses us the hell out. I think it has actually made us stronger. We talk more, hold hands more, kiss more, and all of that.

Knowing that I have a husband that supports all of us NO MATTER what, makes me stronger. I can lean on him to help me when I need him to and vice versa.

Do you have a child with Oppositional Defiant Disorder, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, Conduct Disorder, etc?

What types of re-enforcement do you do in order to encourage positive behavior?


  1. Matt

    Great Article Anna.
    Sadly in the U.K. ODD isn’t recognised by all regional councils . My 12 yr old son got diognosed at 9 and it’s been a rough ride since.
    Getting better at home but as soon as he walks into school the devil comes out in him. The school have finally given up on him , we now are gearing up for a “second chance” school ? – whatever that means !

    • Anna C.

      Don’t you just love it when schools “give up” on the very children they are supposed to be encouraging and helping succeed in life? I’m so sorry you guys are going through all this.

      Second chance schools just sound like “Hey, you weren’t good enough to be in a regular school so we’re going to throw you into this “other” school for “those” kids!” I wish you and your family all the luck!

  2. Ctrrt

    “Brain Balance” helped my 10 year old nephew. His parents took him for 1 year and oh the change was a blessing. He learned to stop and think his feelings through, of course it is done differently than most of us do. Their brains are just wired differently. I don’t understand it all but maybe worth a try. Hopefully there is one near you. There is one in St. George, Utah and northern Utah.

    • Anna C.

      I’ve heard good things about that program. Unfortunately I don’t feel comfortable sending my child all the way to UT from Ohio without my husband or myself there. We have similar programs here but insurance doesn’t cover them and they are a few hours away. I’m glad you found something that worked for your son.

  3. Cathy

    I’ve struggled with our son for years, he was passed through the school system ,in Ontario, finally diaganosed woth severe learning disability , bullied , beat up, and in grade 7 , gave up on school, he is now a 19 year old, highschool drop out, ( they gave up on him, they banned me , his advocate and support , to communicate with , labelled , judged and discriminated against a parent also with a disability ) .my son has severe ODD ! ADHD, avoidance anxiety , but there is NO support groups or much help in Ontario … my son gave up , he can’t even hold a job, he’s putting us in debit, and all we get advised… kick him out… why so he can try again ,as he has twice to commit sucide … it’s a huge daily challenge , but as a officer once told me … you chose to have a child, you deal with it!

    • AnnaCockayne

      OMG! I couldn’t even imagine having to go through all of that with your son. Is there any mental health institutes that you could contact to help him? I’m so sorry that officers and the school system is doing such a horrible job with helping you and your son. That’s just horrible.

  4. Tara Cannizzo

    Great article. It’s nice to hear from other parent’s dealing with the same issues. We’re not alone!

    • Anna C.

      Definitely! So many people just don’t understand.

  5. Belinda M

    I have been saying my child had ADHD since she was 2. No one wanted to listen to me, but she was always the teachers pets at daycare, she was smarter than most 2 year olds all the way up to 4 when I took her out of daycare. Every teacher she had would tell me that she was an amazing child, however, she could not sit still, she could not stay focused and I needed to get her help. Which I knew, but continued hearing she wasn’t of age to diagnose her. Well this year has been completely different. We finally got her diagnosed and on medication. We are on month 4 and I LOVE IT. she is on a time release medication and you sure can tell when she comes off of it. I LOVE LOVE LOVE my child and will never give up on her and this is a difficult struggle so I could only imagine having more than one going through this.

    A lot of people are against medications for their children. I was one of them, until now. When it is the right medicine and the right dosage and they an still be themselves without all the extra nonsense that “normal” people would not understand – it helps us parents out for sure.

    • Anna C.

      I completely agree! My oldest was on meds (6 different meds actually) for his ADHD. Each med caused reactions that just couldn’t be ignored. I’m not anti-medication at all. They just didn’t work for my son. Unfortunately, with ODD, there isn’t a medication to “help”. They can treat the ADHD part of ODD, but not the actual ODD. We’re at an impasse because of it. He doesn’t have severe ADHD so there isn’t a warrant to treat it. He controls it fairly well, ODD on the other hand, he can’t control. He’s super impulsive.

      I’m glad you found something that your daughter benefits from. There are so many medications that work and scientists are coming out with better medications for everything anymore!

  6. Daphne

    This sounds so much like my 11 year old son. We are in the process of understanding what is wrong with him.

    • AnnaCockayne

      It’s a long process…. I hope you find out soon. I wouldn’t say it’s something that’s wrong with kids with ODD, but it’s definitely a struggle. There are many adults, actors, and successful people who could have been diagnosed with ODD when they were younger. So keep the faith that it’s something that you can help mold into a positive thing.

  7. Raquel

    I am so heartbroken right now. Our oldest (8 years old) has always been a “handful” and we’re just totally lost about what to do. He has violent outbursts at school towards his teacher, bus driver and at school. He yells and has tantrums. His teacher is at a loss and so are we. I’m terrified to take him to family gatherings or out in public for fear he’ll have one of his melt downs. We put him in martial arts, which we thought might help and it has to a point, but his behavior at school is only getting worse.

    • AnnaCockayne

      It’s hard! It really is. Have you talked to a psychiatrist and therapist? Worked out an IEP for him also? Those are 3 steps I would definitely take right now if you haven’t already.

  8. Emily McCoy

    My daughter is 3. Her tantrums are so bad people just believe I don’t discipline her. I had her evaluated at 2 for her violent outbursts and was told she was too young to diagnose! We were told the basic follow a routine, behavior and chore charts, positive reinforcement…which doesn’t really help because 90% of the time she behaves really well even if she is way more hyper than most but the 10% she doesnt behave is scary. People think I overreact until they see it…hitting scratchig5biting kicking throwing things breaking things…ita scary to see that extremeviolence come out of a 3 year old. She will start preschool this year and I am terrified. When she turns 4 I plan to take her in for another evaluation…she needs help. I need help. It is good to know that I am not alone in this struggle that most parents just don’t understand. Thank you


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