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Things You Should Know About Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD) and Conduct Disorder

Things You Should Know About Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD) and Conduct Disorder

Let’s say one of your students is intimidating you or even scaring you. You feel threatened, bullied, and teaching became a real nightmare. Why is this happening? Children with antisocial or extremely aggressive behaviors can be diagnosed with Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD) or Conduct Disorder. Putting a definition over these two will help you understand why certain behaviors are being displayed. These are the main things everyone should know about Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD) and Conduct Disorder.


The main clues that suggest a child might suffer from ODD can be taken from analyzing his or her behavior. Negative, defiant, disobedient, and hostile attitudes towards any authority figures are some fundamental characteristics. It is important to notice that the belligerent demeanor is usually targeted towards parents or teachers, or other authority figures, but never towards their peers.


Signs of Oppositional Defiant Disorder

A child can be diagnosed with Oppositional Defiant Disorder if four or more of the following behaviors are being displayed for at least six consecutive months:

  • Loses temper repeatedly

  • Constantly confronts and argues with adults

  • Doesn’t comply with the rules or requests given by authority figures

  • Deliberately disturbs and annoys others

  • Easily provoked and annoyed by others

  • Often angry and resentful

  • Blames others for his or her mistakes or wrongdoing

  • Often shows a vindictive attitude


All these behaviors must occur more often than they would do in the case of other children with similar ages and development characteristics.


Similar to the ODD, the Conduct Disorder involves constant and repetitive rule breaking and a threatening attitude towards others. Individuals diagnosed with this disorder are not emphatic with other people’s pain, they do not showcase any feeling of compassion or culpability, and they often throw temper tantrums and get frustrated or irritated with ease.


Signs of Conduct Disorder

In order for a child to be diagnosed, the following criteria, split into four categories (aggression, destruction, theft, and rule-breaking) were set in place. If at least three of these behaviors have been displayed in the last twelve months, then Conduct Disorder may be suspected.


Aggressive behavior towards people and animals

  1. Frequently intimidates and bullies others

  2. Initiates physical altercations

  3. Uses a weapon with the intention to physically harming other people (a gun, knife, bat, etc.)

  4. Shows cruelty towards people

  5. Shows cruelty towards animals

  6. Has been involved in mugging, extortion, armed robbery, or any type of stealing while confronting a victim

  7. Has sexually abused someone


Destruction of propriety

  1. Has set something on fire with the clear intention of causing damage

  2. Has destroyed other people’s properties through other means than fire


Theft or deceitfulness

  1. Has illegally broken into a house, building or car

  2. Constantly lies to obtain favors

  3. Has been involved in shoplifting, without confronting the victim


Breaking the rules

  1. Doesn’t respect the curfew imposed by parents or other authority figures

  2. Has run away from home

  3. Often skipping school

Things You Should Know About Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD) and Conduct Disorder


Left unguided and unsupported by educators or by specialized helpers, the child’s academic and social performance will be negatively influenced by his or her behavior problems.


It is imperative to understand that teachers cannot nor should assume a student has either one of the two disorders. They can only observe and notify the parents, and once diagnosed, support the child and help him or her integrate into the educational system.


INcompassing Education provides on-site professional development for teachers in Indiana, off-site site PD through seminars, and online PD for educators all over the world through our Lounge & Learn training sessions. We have a new webinar series entitled “Supporting Mental Health Needs in Schools”. This webinar series gives educators tools and tips to help support students with a variety of mental health needs including ODD and Conduct Disorder. To sign up, click here. If you want to get in touch with us, please visit our contact page.



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