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Young Child with ODD Is Becoming More Violent and Dangerous


I'm concerned with how one of my children has been acting lately. He is 10 and has been diagnosed with oppositional defiant disorder (ODD). We've lived with his temper for the past five years, but he recently has been getting progressively more violent. When he doesn't get his way, he starts throwing things, putting holes in the wall and ripping his room to shreds. He even goes as far as attacking his little brother because he gets so mad. One night, he grabbed a butcher knife from our kitchen counter and said he would rather be dead than live in this household anymore. I don't know what to do anymore or what help to get him. I have three other children, two of whom are younger than he, and I’m worried that he is teaching them that it’s okay to do this. I'm completely at a loss.


Angry child leaning against a wall

The behavior you described is worrying, especially from a safety perspective, not only for him but also for others in the household. If you have not done so already, it is important to have a safety plan in place for the other children, should your son become a threat. They need to have a safe place to go, such as another room with a locked door. Even if you are present, it would be reasonable to have them go to another room for their safety and allow you to focus on your son.

This is important: If your son threatens to harm himself or anyone else with any type of weapon, immediately call 911 for support and assistance.

You didn't mention whether your son is seeing a therapist or counselor, taking any medications, or has an individual education program (IEP) at school. Given the behavior you described, these would be reasonable approaches. If he is seeing mental health professionals, reach out to them and address the behavior. If he is not, then we strongly suggest seeking professional intervention and treatment.