16 answers

Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD)

Hi, My 2 year old son was diagnosed yesterday by a psychologist as having Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD). Anyone with the same problem? Thanks for your help!

2 moms found this helpful

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So What Happened?™

H Everyone! thank you so much for your answers and advice! The psychologist we've met this week, who said our son had ODD never recommended medication (he couldn't even if he wanted, he's a psychologist and not a doctor). We are seeing him again tomorrow, I'll tell you how it went. I think I may want a second opinion, and someone mentionned Early Intervention, I think I am going to contact them. Our son is aggressive sometimes (he sometimes bites or hits) but it's only occasional. The main reason why we decided to get some help is that he started refusing to sleep without one of us being in his room. That wasn't the case until a few months ago. When we let him cry he can stay awake calling us and crying until 1:30 am! I was so exhausted that I gave up and ended up putting a mattress in his bedroom and spending my nights with him. During the day, he's clinging to me, he wants me to focus on him exclusively all day long, and gets aggressive or extremely cranky when I don't. He totally lacks independance for his age, for example he refuses to eat by himself most of the time, he doesn't play by himself more than 2 mn...I don't know if ODD is the correct name for all this, what matters most if what the psychologist is going to advise to help us fix this. I'll tell you more after tomorrow's appointment! Anyway, thanks a lot for your support! C.

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All the advise on this page is sound. All 2 year olds are ODD they are just learning. They have to be taught right from wrong. I hav e2 sons who were dignosed with ODD they are 11 and 13 but none were at teh age of 2.

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What? I'm no psychologist, but I thought you couldn't diagnose a 2 year old with a disorder like this--it just seems very young. Most two year olds are defiant and oppositional by nature!

I just cannot believe that a two year old was just given a psychiatric diagnosis like that. Your case must be VERY extreme to warrent this. Often this is treated by medication and behavioral therapy. Are you willing to medicate a two year old? I know that I wouldn't.

I'm sorry this might come across negatively, but I'm just in shock. I would find an excellent children's specialist to begin behavioral therapy. And not just for your son, but whole family too. I imagine you'll need help with behavior charting and managment.

1 mom found this helpful

I agree with everyone else - unless he's had testing and observation, I would be very suspicious. And I say this from experience - I met a psychiatrist and a psychologist who both were dead wrong about my child (different diagnoses, but both wrong.) And 2 seems awfully young.

I took my son to Dr. Michael Appleby at Loyola dept. of neuropsychology for a half-day of testing and evaluation. (he ends up having AD/HD and sensory integration disorder, but it wasn't totally obvious when he was 4. When kids are young, disorders can manifest themselves in all sorts of weird ways. now, he's textbook but then? I had no idea what was up with him. He's doing fine now, though.)

If there is any possibility of sensory issues, contact a pediatric occupational therapist. [note - a psychologist may not come up with this because it's not an official DMS-V disorder.) You would be surprised at how not-obvious it is what is causing the behaviors. With my son, he would totally get out of control when around loud noises or stimulating environments, but it took a long time to make the connection. Other kids could have other triggers.

Good luck! I'm not sure what got you to this point, but I know how stressful it can be to not know and to worry and wonder what will happen. It will get better as you learn and start to understand what's going on, I promise you. This is a very hard time that you are in right now.

1 mom found this helpful

I am counselor as well, and I agree that 2 is very young for ODD. On the other hand I have worked with managed care and know the pressure to make a diagnosis so that they can bill your insurance. Often ODD is used to categorize all aggressive behaviors because insurance will cover the diagnosis. I would ask the psychologist point blank if he wasn't going to bill your insurance what would his diagnosis be. Or if you were paying out of pocket. I would think for 2 years old he would use an adjustment disorder (not able to be billed to insurance) or tell you that he wouldn't want to diagnose a child at 2 years old. Good for you for seeking out help, just be aware that the pressure to treat and get paid by insurance is very tricky for psychologists, and usually people aren't willing to pay for counseling services out of their pocket.

GET A SECOND DOCTOR TO ADDRESS THIS. I have worked with kids who are ODD, and I HAVE NEVER HEARD OF A 2 YEAR old with ODD. The drugs they use for it are STRONG. I think you should call someone at Children's hospital and tell them to see a doctor there, one that has experience with Children! I have never heard of a 2 year old at a psychologist unless they have gone through something traumatic. I have a two year old and 6 month old daughter too, and he does things that I think oh my god what are you doing, but he is only two. I wouldn't ever put my two year old on drugs for ODD.

I have never heard of a 2 year old being taken to a psychologist. I see you have a 6 month old daughter too, isn't it just sibling jealousy? My son was a little over 2 when my daughter was born and he was difficult at first with tantrums and such, but eventually grew out of it, definately not enough to go to a psychologist.

Not trying to bash, this really just seems extreme?


I know NOTHING about ODD or psychological issues similar to it, but want to tell you that seeking help is the best thing you can do, no matter what! The earlier you can be assisted with intervetion, the better the outcome, I have always felt. You have the right mindset in that no matter what the label they put on it, you need help!

I personally started with an early intervention team to evaluate my son's speech and behaviorial issues from an educational perspective. I had suspicions about autisim and with a team of 4 evaluators he was diagnosed with a sever expressive language delay, no autisim. We have a therapist come into our home 1 hour per week to work with him, as well as give me ideas for what I can do to help encourage his speech.

In my opinion if you have concerns, get help! At this early of an age, he may just need some extra nurturing which the psychologist can help you manage. You may also want to turn to an early intervention team in addidtion to the psychologist you are seeing to see if your son would qualify for additional services (OT, speech, etc).

Good luck, and remember you are doing this for your son to succeed!

I am a therapist and diagnosing a 2 year old with ODD seems a bit extreme in my opinion. Usually, it has a childhood or adolescent onset, not infant onset. He may be exibiting signs or behaviors of ODD, but to actually diagnose him that seems a bit much. I would wonder why he used that label for him? Again, just my opinion though...

I think with most diagnosis a second opinion is always a good option. I am sure this diagnosis was difficult to hear and am sorry. My only advice is reading 1,2,3 Magic by Thomas W. Phelan, Ph.D. The author specifically discusses ODD and Conduct disorder. The program is also designed for children ages 2-12 so it would be a perfect time to start. It is easy, doesn't have a lot of steps, and helps with parent self control.

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