Teen Behavioural Problems
If a teenager exhibits behaviour patterns that show aggression, defiance, and behaviour that irritates others for a period exceeding six months it could be a manifestation of Oppositional Defiant Disorder or ODD. This is a psychiatric disorder and can have an impact on academic functioning as well as cause extreme difficulty in all social relationships.
Parents should take note if their teen is constantly losing their temper and is overly defiant and makes it a point to disobey rules. Such a child may argue not only with adults but also excessively with his or her peers. They may go out of their way to irritate others and will not take any responsibility for their actions, finding ways to blame others for their own attitudes and behaviour. Behaviour can not only be angry but show a lot of spitefulness and vindictiveness even with close friends. Tantrums are another symptom. ODD has as its main trait being non-compliant to all instructions, rules, and regulations whether at home or in the school.
These characteristics may not seem very different from behaviour and attitudes of most teenagers, but any frequency in this sort of behaviour should set the alarm bells ringing and the wise parent would ask for external help before things get out of hand.
Diagnosis for such a disorder can only be made after a complete review of the medical history, medical tests, and constant observation. The tests and history are necessary to rule out any other medical conditions that can also cause such behaviour. A psychiatrist would ask the parents to extensively document such behaviour as this can help the diagnosis and the course of any treatment that may be required to be given.
The consistency of care is vital for any treatment of this disorder. Treatment has to include all persons who are part of the daily life of the child. This includes parents and other family members, teachers and any other person who they interact with and whose roles are supervisory.
Families need to be trained to communicate with this rebellious teenager and respond to all his or her problems in positive ways. They need to be firm and even-handed about the behaviour that is expected and must apply any corrective measures needed for such defiant behaviour in a fair and consistent manner. The teenager must be made to be aware of a cool off area that he or she would be always sent to in case of transgressions. Praise must be given if the behaviour is acceptable and any power struggles or confrontations must be avoided.
Psychiatrists may suggest medications in very severe cases and there has to be a proper regime established for such dosages. It is quite likely that hormonal imbalances aggravate this complaint and once these are stabilized and the teenager grows older such behaviour can become a thing of the past.