Ever seen a family under the control of one of the children? It’s a troubling sight. Sometimes the role reversal is due to the inability of a parent to effectively discipline the child, while, at other times, a recalcitrant child has forcibly stripped the parents of authority. All children are oppositional to some degree, but when a child becomes so overtly hostile toward authority that the behavior interferes with normal social functioning, oppositional defiant disorder (ODD) may be a reasonable suspicion. Children with this disorder tend to have frequent temper tantrums (meltdowns), argue excessively with anyone who dares challenge their misbehavior, respond to even the slightest insult with disproportionate anger and aggression, simmer with resentment, and are often driven to exact revenge for any perceived transgression. Children with oppositional defiant disorder will go out of their way to annoy others, and will blatantly and quite stubbornly disregard rules. Parents of children with ODD frequently report that the child was overly demanding and rigid from a very early age.
What if a diagnosis of oppositional defiant disorderr seems to fit your child, but his symptoms are even worse than described. What if your child initiates physical fights, has been cruel to animals, has set fires, or destroyed property? A child who displays these behaviors may suffer from conduct disorder. Like ODD, conduct disorder, thought to be either a more extreme form of ODD or the childhood version of antisocial personality disorder, can cause an extreme disruption of family and social life both for the distressed children and their overwhelmed parents.
One theory about the cause of ODD or conduct disorder supposes that these children get stuck in the “terrible twos” stage of development. Other theories implicate a genetic inclination, physiological factors, or even an insatiable need for attention. One thing that is certain is that these children have disregulated nervous systems. Further complicating an already serious situation, ODD or conduct disorder seldom occurs without one or more related dysfunctions such as ADD, ADHD, anxiety, depression, or learning disabilities.
Neurofeedback, also called EEG Biofeedback, involves direct brain training that leads to better self-regulation. Self-regulation training enhances the function of the central nervous system and thereby improves mental performance, emotional control and physiological stability. A non-invasive therapy, Neurofeedback involves applying electrodes to the scalp so that brainwave activity can be observed from moment to moment. The information is shown to the client in the form of a video game that anyone can play using just their brain waves. The brain is rewarded for changing its own activity to more appropriate patterns. Better neuronal regulation leads to more suitable behavior, including the reduction or even elimination of tantrums, hostility, aggression, and can promote a willingness to accept discipline and parental guidance. Behavioral issues aside, Neurofeedback has a proven track record of helping children succeed in school by sharpening their focus, calming hyperactivity, improving memory, increasing IQ and instilling better organizational skills.
If you suspect your child might suffer from or has already been diagnosed with ODD or conduct disorder, Neurofeedback training is something you should investigate. If your child does not exhibit these types of extreme behavioral issues but has learning, physiological, or emotional problems, neurofeedback training can help improve the quality of their lives, too.