Treating ADHD and ODD in Children Essay

Total Length: 3650 words ( 12 double-spaced pages)

Total Sources: 12

Page 1 of 12


Attention-deficit hyperactive disorder (ADHD) and oppositional defiant disorder (ODD) are commonly linked mental health disorders that children exhibit. This paper examines some of the challenges that both children and parents face as a result of living with these disorders. It suggests some positive approaches to parenting that parents may find useful and offers recommendations in terms of how parents can most positively help a child with ADHD or ODD. The most important conclusion that this paper provides is the notion that parents must be able to demonstrate patience over the long term while facilitating their love and support for the child with guidance, reinforcement, and education. Eliminating stress from the child’s environment can be especially helpful in allowing the child to deal in a healthy manner with the impulses he or she feels, and parents, for their part, may benefit from parental training so that they can learn what to avoid and what to do when a child with ADHD or ODD acts in a certain way. This paper also notes that while medications are available for treatment of children with ADHD and ODD, they should not be relied upon as a cure-all but rather as a support as the parent and the child both attempt to cope with the disorder and learn to interpret and respond appropriately to impulses.


I. Introduction

a. ADHD and ODD are commonly linked (Harvey, Breaux & Lugo-Candelas, 2016)

b. Opposition can stem from feelings of rejection on the part of the child with ADHD

c. Parents who are stressed can compound these negative feelings (Hutchison et al., 2016)

d. Parenting children with ADHD and/or ODD requires patience and training.

II. Body

a. The issue

b. Challenges

i. For children

ii. For parents

c. Positive Methods that can Help

i. One-to-One Time

ii. Knowing the History of the Disorder

iii. Receiving Parental Training (Daley et al., 2017)

iv. Reducing Stress

v. Medication

III. Conclusion

a. Parents must be supportive

b. There is no overnight fix, and patience and skill are required.


As Harvey, Breaux and Lugo-Candelas (2016) point out, attention-deficit hyperactive disorder (ADHD) and oppositional defiant disorder (ODD) are “among the most common childhood disorders and frequently co-occur” (p. 154). Parents who must cope with raising a child who suffers from ADHD are fairly likely to also have to address the issue of ODD as well. Many researchers have examined various methods of parenting children with ADHD and/or ODD. Hutchison, Feder, Abar and Winsler (2016) have noted, for instance, that there is a distinct relationship between stress factors, parenting style and child executive functioning for children with ADHD. Indeed, one of the major findings of Hutchison et al. (2016) is that “in general, increased parenting stress [is] associated with greater use of authoritarian and permissive parenting styles, as well as more problems with behavior regulation for children” (p. 3644). What this means is that the challenge of parenting a child with ADHD or ODD can be very stressful for parents who are not effectively trained to handle the situation, which creates a negative feedback loop for the children, with the parents’ stress increasing the child’s inability to cope or function with his or her own ADHD/ODD symptoms. As Hutchison et al. (2016) state: “Authoritarian and permissive parenting styles [are] associated with poorer child executive functioning” (p. 3644). This paper will discuss the issue of parenting children with ADHD or ODD, identify some of the main challenges, and propose some positive methods that researchers have shown can be effective ways to help parents better cope with their child’s special needs.

The Issue

Parenting a child with ADHD or ODD requires a special set of knowledge on the parents’ part to ensure that the child receives the support and structure needed to navigate the challenges posed by the disorders. ADHD or ODD can be treated via a number of different methods in which pharmacological intervention or behavioral therapy may be introduced to assist with the child’s development and/or coping with the disorders.

In any event, parents are tasked with creating a loving and stable environment that can easily be disrupted by what they perceive to be the uncaring actions of an unconcerned and undisciplined child. Parents can experience feelings of guilt (sensing that they have done something wrong to make their child this way), anger and frustration (feeling that their child is simply bad and cannot be fixed), and despair (giving up all hope that the situation can be solved). Children with ADHD and/or ODD, however, still require love and attention, care and consideration, so that they can grow and develop into functioning adults.
It is critical, therefore, that parents be aware of the challenges that are to be faced by both children with ADHD and parents who must raise them.

The Challenges

For Children

It is important to realize that ADHD or ODD can be particularly challenging for the children themselves, not just for the adults who must parent the children. A child who has ADHD experiences a range of emotions and impulses that often prevent the child from limiting his or her train of thought to a single idea or subject. In many cases, a child with ADHD will see numerous corollaries to a single idea and feel compelled to explore them. At the same time, the child may experience the underlying problem of engaging in so many tangential sequences, but—feeling frustrated by his or her inability to prevent the mind from exploring these tangents—the child can easily become upset, distracted, and annoyed. These feelings may be directed inward or outward, and can be manifested in what amounts over a period of time to ODD. The child’s eventual oppositional attitude is a reflection of the inner self being at odds with itself. At one and the same time, the child may want to focus on a single activity while wanting to do several others too. This produces tension and conflict within the body, mind and will of the child. The challenge for the child is to understand these conflicting impulses and develop the ability to control them, which can in all fairness be at times beyond the child’s grasp (Caye, Swanson, Thapar et al., 2016).

Children are also faced with the challenge of developing relationships with peers, which is a task that can be quite difficult for children with ADHD and/or ODD (McQuade & Hoza, 2015). Misbehavior often stems from the child’s inability to control impulses, which can upset other children and cause the child with ADHD or ODD to be isolated, feel cut off, disliked, unloved and even despised. It is difficult for children with ADHD to comprehend why they marginalized and their responses to feelings of marginalization can increase the distance between them and their peers even more—especially if those feelings are represented confrontationally. This can easily carry over into school performance. Czamara et al. (2013) show that ADHD is one of the most common neuro-behavioral childhood disorders, noting that 5% of all school children are affected by ADHD and that half of all children with ADHD present to teachers as students with a learning disability.

For Parents

For parents of the children with ADHD or ODD, the main challenges are coping with a child who appears on the surface to be defiant, disobedient, unruly, undisciplined, inattentive and ungovernable. The parent may feel at times that nothing will work to get the child to sit still, pay attention, or simply listen to what the parent has to say. Instruction seems to fall on deaf ears and parents may be tempted to resort to corporal punishment in order to “get through” to the child. This in turn could create a further rift between parent and child, depending on the child’s age and the severity of the punishment. Parents can feel a kind of “fight or flight” instinct in their approach to the child, or a passive-aggressive manner in their approach that is counter-productive because it is inconsistent and ultimately ineffective in addressing the issues. Parents can feel overwhelmed, unprepared, and inefficient when it comes to raising a child with ADHD or ODD.


Positive Methods That Can Help


One-to-One Time

Children who suffer from ADHD require special, individualized attention and education that engages them in a one-on-one format. Siegel and Bryson (2012) state that “our brain has many different parts with different jobs” and because the brains of children are still developing, their environment and the people they interact with can have a very formative impact on how they perceive themselves and their world. That is why it is critical that they not feel abandoned, neglected, or marginalized during this difficult time in which they are learning to cope with their own ADHD and the struggles that go along with it (p. 6). A child who experiences undue stress because of a tense environment or because….....

Show More ⇣

     Open the full completed essay and source list


     Order a one-of-a-kind custom essay on this topic


American Psychiatric Association. (2000). Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition. Retrieved from

American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Highlights of Changes from DSM-IV –TR to DSM-5. Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition. Retrieved from

Caye, A., Swanson, J., Thapar, A., Sibley, M., Arseneault, L., Hechtman, L., & Rohde,
L. A. (2016). Life span studies of ADHD—conceptual challenges and predictors of persistence and outcome. Current Psychiatry Reports, 18(12), 111.

Czamara, D., Tiesler, C., Kohlbock, G. et al. (2013). Children with ADHD symptoms have a higher risk for reading, spelling and math difficulties in the GINIplus and LISAplus cohort studies. PLOS One, 8(5): 1-7.

Daley, D., Van Der Oord, S., Ferrin, M., Cortese, S., Danckaerts, M., Doepfner, M., ... & Banaschewski, T. (2017). Practitioner Review: Current best practice in the use of parent training and other behavioural interventions in the treatment of children and adolescents with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry. doi:10.1111/jcpp.12825.

Harvey, E. A., Breaux, R. P., & Lugo-Candelas, C. I. (2016). Early development of comorbidity between symptoms of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and oppositional defiant disorder (ODD). Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 125(2), 154.

Hutchison, L., Feder, M., Abar, B., & Winsler, A. (2016). Relations between parenting stress, parenting style, and child executive functioning for children with ADHD or autism. Journal of Child and Family Studies, 25(12), 3644-3656.

Johnston, C., & Chronis-Tuscano, A. (2015). Families and ADHD. In R. A. Barkley (Ed.), Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder: A handbook for diagnosis and treatment (pp. 191-209). New York: Guilford Press.

Joshi, H., Connelly, R., Rosenberg, R. (2014). Family Structure and Stability. In: Millennium Cohort Study Initial Findings from the Age 11 Survey. London: Centre for Longitudinal Studies, Institute of Education.

McQuade, J. D., & Hoza, B. (2015). Peer relationships of children with ADHD. In R. A. Barkley (Ed.), Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder: A handbook for diagnosis and treatment (pp. 210-222). New York: Guilford Press.

Pryor-Kowalski, M. (2013). Learning disabilities, juvenile delinquency and the family: the role of ‘intensive parenting’. Michigan Family Review, 17(1): 21-41.

Siegel, D., Bryson, T. (2012). The Whole-Brain Child. NY: Bantam.

Sandstrom, H., Huerta, S. (2013). The negative effects of instability on child development: A research synthesis. Urban Institute.

sample essay writing service

Cite This Resource:

Latest APA Format (6th edition)

Copy Reference
"Treating ADHD And ODD In Children" (2018, January 30) Retrieved October 1, 2020, from

Latest MLA Format (8th edition)

Copy Reference
"Treating ADHD And ODD In Children" 30 January 2018. Web.1 October. 2020. <>

Latest Chicago Format (16th edition)

Copy Reference
"Treating ADHD And ODD In Children", 30 January 2018, Accessed.1 October. 2020,