The Oppositional & Defiant Child

The Oppositional and Defiant Child

Working with the child who doesn’t act out—

but doesn’t act RIGHT!


James D. Sutton, EdD

P.O. Box 672

Pleasanton, TX 78064

(830) 569-3586

Program Focus:

This program is designed to assist educators, administrators, counselors and allied health care professionals in working with one of the most emotionally, behaviorally and academically problematic youngsters today — the OPPOSITIONAL AND DEFIANT CHILD.

Participant Benefits:

–More harmony in working with this youngster, less wasted time

 –Satisfaction in influencing long-term change

 –Increased confidence and compliments in dealing effectively with this child

 Needs Addressed by this Program:

Jenny is an example of this particular sort of youngster. She frustrates the dickens out of her teacher. She is on the brink of serious trouble in school; not so much for what what she is doing, but for what she is NOT doing. Although she is clearly bright and capable, Jenny is doing little in her studies. She is never prepared for class, and homework is rarely ever completed and turned in.

Things aren’t any better at home. She often jokes around but, at the core Jenny seems quite unhappy.

In a congenial spirit of noncompliance, this youngster warms herself at the fires of resentment and misery. Essentially oblivious to her own nature, she destroys her positive outcomes. She is in serious trouble–AND SHE DOESN’T EVEN KNOW IT.

Intended Audience of this Program:

Special education/regular education teachers, child care professionals, counselors, administrators, school nurses, special education assessment personnel, special education supervisors/directors, drug awareness specialists, social workers and allied health care professionals.

Program Objectives:

Through this workshop and materials, participants will be able to:

1. Pinpoint 15 of the most commonly displayed oppositional and defiant behaviors.

2. Examine characteristics of inflexibility, explosiveness, noncompliance and intent to harm others as they apply (or not) to the oppositional and defiant child.

3. Consider how the oppositional and defiant youngster differs from the more serious classification of Conduct Disorder.

4. Know when an oppositional and defiant child is becoming more severe in behavior.

5. Understand the two primary ways this behavior is maintained.

6. Know why this youngster often attempts to disguise feelings and behavior.

7. Avoid the 7 most commonly employed “No-lutions,” common interventions that don’t work.

8. Identify the 3 reasons why oppositional and defiant behavior develops in the first place.

9. Explain how this behavior relates to ADHD and other conditions.

10. Capitalize on the 2 major approaches for positively redirecting oppositional and defiant behavior.

11. Gain strategies for helping this youngster to improve communication and relationships with significant others.

12. Employ constructive confrontation to redirect oppositional and defiant behavior.

13. Provide effective support services (counseling or therapy) for the oppositional and defiant child.

14. Handle the problem of task completion at home and school (homework and chores).

15. Help the youngster continue to grow as improvement is noted.

16. Consider options for more effective placement and programming at school.

17. Implement effective discipline with the oppositional and defiant child.

18. Conduct a successful conference with this youngster’s parents.

Program Description:

Healthy youngsters know when it is important and appropriate to comply with the requests and directives of authority figures. The oppositional & defiant child, however, compulsively orchestrates his own misery with his continual testing of limits and an ongoing repertoire of noncompliant behaviors.

Addressing school-age youngsters, this program will take an intensive look at this disorder and how to deal with it, focusing on behaviors of procrastination, pouting and stubbornness, obstructionism and forms of intentional inefficiency, such as “forgetting” and chronic episodes of missing or incomplete school work.

This program involves a lecture methodology, with planned activities and group “brainstorming.” A professionally prepared and newly revised 64-page workbook will be utilized.

NOTE: This program acknowledges the fact that there can be a connection between the oppositional & defiant youngster and a dysfunctional family system. This connection can involve drug/alcohol abuse or dependency, as well as other compulsive disorders. For this reason, this program is an excellent one for professionals working in the field of drug/alcohol awareness.

Qualifications of the Presenter:

James D. Sutton, EdD

Texas Psychologist License # 2790

Texas Professional Counselor License # 06979

Texas Licensed Specialist in School Psychology # 6154

Texas Education Agency certifications–see vita

Certified Speaking Professional

Credit Hours Granted:

This program was developed to provide six (6) clock hours of credit. A half day format, When the Kid Who Can, Won’t (3 hours), is also available.

Program Agenda:

8:30 — 10:00


Program Objectives

Overview of Interventions

Characteristic Behaviors

Comparison with Conduct Disorder

Insights into Overdependency

10:00 — 10:15


10:15 — 12:00

The “Why” of Noncompliance

How Expectations Can Become Toxic

The “Psycho-Behavioral Bind” Explained

What We Keep Doing That Doesn’t Work

Three Reasons Why These Behaviors Happen

Comorbidity with ADHD and Other Conditions

12:00 — 1:00


1:00 — 2:15


A Simple Model for Intervention and Management

Changing Behavior Through Changing Perception

Reinforcing Relationships

Constructive Confrontation

Support Work (Counseling or Therapy)

2:15 — 2:30


2:30 — 4:00

More Intervention

Improving Task Initiation and Completion

Helping the Child Experience Continued Growth

Placement and Programming at School

Discipline Issues Unique to ODD

Conducting Successful Parent Conferences