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Oppositional or Defiant Behavior and Conduct Disorders


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All children and teenagers can be difficult from time to time, especially when they’re tired, hungry, stressed, or upset. On occasion, they may argue, talk back, disobey, and defy parents and other authority figures.

But, if your child is acting out more frequently or severely, it can be a major concern. Oppositional or defiant behavior and conduct disorders can have a devastating effect on your all aspects of your child’s — and your family’s — life. 

Symptoms of oppositional defiant disorder (ODD) and other aggressive, destructive, or deceitful conduct disorders include:

  • Active defiance and refusal to comply with adult requests and rules
  • Being “touchy” or easily annoyed by other people
  • Blaming others for mistakes or misbehavior
  • Deliberate attempts to annoy or upset people
  • Destroying or vandalizing property, such as setting intentional fires
  • Frequent anger and resentment, including excessive arguing with adults or temper tantrums
  • Heavy drinking or drug use
  • Lying to get a favor or avoid obligations
  • Questioning and breaking rules frequently without clear reason
  • Running away
  • Skipping school
  • Spiteful attitude and revenge-seeking behavior
  • Using cruel or aggressive behavior toward people or animals
  • Using hateful speech when upset

Conduct disorders are often linked to ADHD and can be an early sign of depression or bipolar disorder. Conduct disorders are more common in boys than in girls.

The pediatric developmental-behavioral team at University of Miami Health System specializes in diagnosing and treating oppositional or defiant behavior and conduct disorders. We develop a personalized treatment plan to help your child manage symptoms. We work with you and your family to provide strategies that improve the way you and your child interact.


Comprehensive Evaluation
If you and your child’s doctor suspect your child has a behavior disorder, your child will receive a referral for a comprehensive behavioral evaluation. The evaluation is performed by a pediatric developmental-behavioral specialist and:

Blood Tests
Your child’s doctor may order blood tests to rule out medical conditions that may cause behavioral symptoms.


Parent Management Training
Your child’s developmental-behavioral specialist may recommend you receive parent management training to learn skills and gain resources to better cope with your child’s behavior disorder.

Therapy can help your child manage symptoms and gain better control of their emotions. Your child’s treatment plan may include one or more types of therapy, such as individual therapy or family therapy.

In some cases, medicines can help manage the symptoms of behavior problems. Our pediatric specialists begin with therapy and other behavior-based strategies before considering medicines.

Why Choose UHealth?

World-class health care for children. Children and their families come from all over the world to receive top-quality care from our compassionate team of pediatric specialists. Your child receives personalized attention from doctors who are sought out for their expertise.

Research leads to better treatments for your child. In addition to seeing patients, our doctors are involved in leading-edge research at one of the nation’s top medical schools, Miller School of Medicine. Through this research, we have access to innovative treatments and procedures more quickly than other facilities. Our team uses the latest technologies and research findings to provide your child with superior, personalized care.

HealthySteps program helps children meet milestones. All our general pediatrics offices use the HealthySteps program to ensure that children are developing appropriately for their age — physically, emotionally, and psychologically. When there are issues or concerns, we work closely with patients and their families to connect them with support resources.

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