Opposition Defiant Disorder: Label or Diagnosis?
As psychotherapist Erina White notes, in recent years, more and more parents worry that their child is suffering from opposition-causing disorder (OVR). As defined by the American Psychiatric Association, OVR is manifested in anger, irritability, stubbornness, revenge, and defiant behavior.
As a rule, parents admit that a teacher or family doctor stated that their child may have an OVR, and when they read the description on the Internet, they found that some of the symptoms really coincide. They are confused and alarmed, and this is understandable.
The OVR label hung by “well-wishers” makes mothers and fathers think that their child is dangerously ill, and they themselves are useless parents. In addition, such a preliminary diagnosis makes it difficult to figure out where the aggression came from and how to eliminate behavioral problems. At the same time, it’s bad for everyone: both parents and children. Meanwhile, the OVR is nothing more than a common “horror story” that can be overcome.
First of all, it is necessary to get rid of the “shameful” stigma. Someone stated that your child has OVR? Nothing wrong. Let them say anything and even be considered experts, this does not mean that the child is bad. “I have never met bad children in twenty years of practice,” says White. – In fact, most of them from time to time behave aggressively or defiantly. And with you, too, everything is in order, you are normal parents. Everything will be fine – both with you and the child. ”
The second step is to understand what exactly bothers you. What happens – at school or at home? Perhaps the child refuses to obey adults or is hostile to classmates. Of course, this behavior is frustrating, and you do not want him to indulge, but it is fixable.
The third and perhaps most important step is to answer the question “why?”. Why does the child behave this way? Reasonable reasons are found in almost all children.
By the time a child becomes a teenager, people who have every chance of helping him begin to fear him
Parents who think about situations and events that could provoke alarming behavior often find something important. For example, to understand that a child becomes especially unbearable when the school day is clearly not set. Maybe some badass got him more than usual. Or he feels miserable because the rest of the children read better than him. At school, he diligently pretended to be unperturbed, but as soon as he returned home and was among his family, in a safe environment, all the heavy emotions spilled out. In fact, the child is experiencing severe anxiety, but so far does not know how to cope with it.
There are reasons caused not so much by the personal experiences of the child, but by what is happening around. Perhaps mom and dad are getting a divorce. Or sick beloved grandfather. Or a military father and he was recently sent to another country. These are really serious problems.
If difficulties are associated with one of the parents, they may feel guilty or take a defensive position. “I always remind people that at every given moment we do our best. Even if the problem cannot be resolved instantly, to determine it already means to remove the glued label, stop looking for signs of pathology and do correction of children’s behavior, ”the psychotherapist emphasizes.
The fourth and final step is to return to treatable symptoms. You can help your child cope with aggression by teaching him to understand his own emotions. Then go to work on self-control and gradually develop mental and bodily awareness. To do this, there are special video games, playing in which children learn to accelerate and slow down the heartbeat. Thus, they understand what happens to the body when violent emotions take hold of them, and learn to calm down automatically. Whatever strategy you choose, the key to success remains a creative approach, a friendly and sympathetic attitude towards the child and your perseverance.
Problematic behavior is most easily attributed to OVR. It is depressing that this diagnosis can destroy a child’s life. First OVR. Then antisocial behavior. By the time the child becomes a teenager, people who have every chance of helping him begin to fear him. As a result, such children are prescribed the most severe course of treatment: in a correctional facility.
Say extreme? Alas, this happens too often. All practitioners, educators and doctors should broaden their horizons and, in addition to the poor behavior of the child, see the situation in which he lives. A holistic approach will bring much more benefits: to children, parents and the whole society.