Out of all the disorders present in the world today, we can safely say that disruptive behavior disorder can be easily identified from its unique symptoms. This is because they become obvious through the child’s temper outbreaks, tantrums, aggression, violence, rebelliousness, defiance, and even stealing and lying.

Disruptive behavior disorder include ODD (Oppositional Defiant Disorder) and CD (Conduct Disorder). Such disorders have the tendency to interfere with the child’s school and personal life due to conflicts with both adults and kids. These disorders have lifelong effects on children. However, these children can learn to control their temper and change their behavior if treatment begins early.

Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD)

Oppositional Defiant Disorder, like the name suggests, is a disruptive behavior disorder in children that involves symptoms such as defiance, disobedience, a stubborn refusal to follow rules, hostility, and a tendency to go against authority figures. These children have Disruptive Behavior DisorderCredit: Wikipediaa habit of annoying others intentionally and losing their temper when things don’t turn out the way they want. They are usually angry, resentful and choose to blame others for their mistakes and follies. Such behavior leads to complications in schooling as the child is constantly getting into trouble for annoying, bullying and fighting with other children. If the disorder isn’t diagnosed and treated early on, it can worsen and evolve into Conduct Disorder.

Conduct Disorder (CD)

Even though ODD seems like a bad enough disorder for any child to suffer through, CD is a much more extreme version of a disruptive behavior disorder. Where ODD involves bullying, fighting and defiance, CD involves physical harm and violence. Children with CD constantly violate the rights of others and derive satisfaction from vandalism. Reports have shown evidence of children running away from home, destroying other people’s property, being cruel to animals, skipping classes and school, and being aggressive towards adults and even parents. They have a tendency to argue with people and do the opposite of what they are told. Along with these symptoms of CD, children are likely to keep most of their ODD symptoms as well. This extreme behavior of violence and defiance leads to these children being tagged as juvenile delinquents. They can get into trouble with the police and be sent to juvenile hall for breaking the law. If not given proper attention and treatment, these children might get involved in drugs and other illegal actions too.

Indicators for Disruptive Behavior Disorder

  • Impairment in learning - such as having difficulties in reading, writing and verbal speech.
  • A family history of similar behavior as well as anxiety and depressive disorders.
  • Refusal to listen to parents and no obvious response to behavior therapies.

Treatment Options:

1.) Positive Reinforcement

Children who show signs of aggression and short tempers must be trained to control such behaviors. They can be calmly told to breathe deeply when they are dangerously close to losing their temper. They can practice in simulations, asking them to choose the best response to an upsetting situation. Positive reinforcements must be given on the best choice, such as praising them or giving them something that catches their interest. This will make them more aware about how they choose to react to different situations.

2.) Keeping the Child Out of Upsetting Situations

Parents should avoid behaviors that are likely to upset the child. Teachers should also be made aware of this so that they can learn how to control the situation if the child causes trouble in school. Instead of sending him/her to detention, the teacher needs to explain why he/she should not have behaved in that way. Keeping children out of such situations and refraining from scolding and subjecting them to severe punishments will make treatment easier.

3.) Visiting Behavior Therapists

Behavior therapists can use professional methods and techniques to change the behavior of these children. They are well-trained about how to deal with the different symptoms present in different children.

4.) Use of Medications

Stimulant medications prescribed by the child’s doctor will definitely lower the aggression in children who suffer from any type of disruptive behavior disorder. This will make sure that the child remains out of trouble most of the time. Even behaviors like stealing and vandalizing might be suppressed through these medications.


Disruptive behavior disorder might affect the child’s behavior to the point that family life becomes chaotic and parents lose hope. However, if proper attention and treatment is given right from the start, professional behavior therapists might be able to definitely change the unacceptable behaviors caused by disruptive behavior disorder. 

Disruptive Behavior Disorder
Credit: Wikipedia