If you have ever spent time around children, you’ll know that they have a tendency to get cranky, test boundaries, and act uncooperatively. Today, we’re going to talk about when these behaviors should warrant a diagnosis of Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD). Regardless of whether or not your child has this issue, today’s conversation contains a wealth of wisdom that is relevant to everyone who lives or works with children. Sharing this knowledge with us today is Kellie Cole, with Compassion Child and Family Counseling. Tune in to hear about what ODD is, how Kellie goes about observing a child’s behavior to determine whether they have ODD, and why it is so important to conduct a full evaluation before making a diagnosis. Kellie focuses largely on building the relationship between the parent and the child and empowering parents to grow out of shame and into the new ideas that she introduces them to. We discuss why consistency is so important, the value of teaching accountability, and how to learn to raise the child that you have instead of comparing them to others. Join us today to hear how Kellie uses her own stories to inspire others to build strong connections with their children and support them as they grow.

Key Points From This Episode:

  • An introduction to today’s guest, Kellie Cole, with Compassion Child and Family Counseling.
  • What Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD) is. 
  • Why it is so important to observe potential ODD symptoms for more than six months.
  • Kellie’s observation that ODD is not often a stand-alone diagnosis, but rather it is a ‘dangler’.
  • DMDD: Disruptive Mood Dysregulation Disorder.
  • Multiple diagnoses that are common in children. 
  • Why it is so important to have a full evaluation to guide intervention.
  • Why Kelly sees a child at least three times to confirm her observations.
  • Children’s self-reporting abilities and the tools Kellie uses to interpret how they see their world.
  • Why Kellie focuses on the relationship between parent and child. 
  • The power of choosing to learn to raise the child you have.
  • The genetic propensity to ODD and other disorders.
  • Kellie’s approach to treating ODD and why this focuses largely on the parents’ strategy.
  • Why consistency is the golden nugget of parenting.
  • Why follow-through is so important.
  • ACT: Acknowledge feelings, Communicate limits, Target alternatives.
  • The power of giving a child choices to teach accountability.
  • Why it’s okay that your children aren’t always going to like you very much.
  • Rebuilding self-esteem by acknowledging positive behavior.
  • The deterioration that can happen around 11 or 12.
  • Why it is so important for kids to understand consequences before junior high school.
  • Being fully committed to the process as a parent.
  • A reminder that there is no quick fix, and that the focus is on creating consistent limits and boundaries.
  • Why you need to remember that you are the consumer when seeking treatment and therapy.
  • Why parents are so pivotal for change and have to be a part of the process.
  • The importance of checking in on the therapeutic process to see if it is working for the client.
  • A story of hope from her practice: Kellie’s own child with ODD, ADHD, and anxiety.
  • How, when you feel more connected to your child, they accept your corrections more easily.
  • Kellie’s hope that other families will learn from her story.
  • Loving your kids through hard times.


“In order to have this diagnosis of ODD, we need to see these behaviors for at least six months. The reason that’s important, is because we know that a cranky child can be hungry or tired, or maybe they’ve just come back from vacation and they’re off their routine. You certainly wouldn’t want to be quick to put a diagnosis on a child.” — Kellie Cole [0:03:52]

“In the medical field, especially when it comes to children, a child doesn’t just have one diagnosis, there’s usually two or three.” — Kellie Cole [0:07:03]

“One of my goals when I have a parent who has a child with ODD, is to really focus on the relationship between the parent and child because a good relationship, a good connection is based on mutual affection.” — Kellie Cole [0:13:20]

Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode:

Compassion Child and Family Counseling
Kellie Cole on LinkedIn
Kellie Cole on Email


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