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  • Writer's pictureNancy Sokol Green

Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD)

Here’s how Oppositional Defiant Disorder symptoms may also be explained by retained primitive reflexes and incomplete lower brain development.

On-going arguments and frequent temper tantrums can be signs of a retained Moro reflex. In such cases, the child is in a constant fight or flight state since this reflex stimulates the production of adrenaline and cortisol. When that happens, the body is physiologically wired to fight—and will do so in response to the stress hormones that were just released.

Children who routinely refuse to comply may be missing several automatic functions that are associated with a well-organized brain. For example, it may seem like a child is being defiant when he doesn’t want to get dressed. However, certain fabrics and clothing tags may register as extremely bothersome to his brain if the midbrain is underdeveloped. The child’s refusal to get dressed is based on a physical reaction, rather than a desire to be uncooperative and defiant.

Likewise, kids with a disorganized brain are continually compensating, so life is simply easier when they control what happens. Insisting on doing something their way ensures that they won’t fail at a task—and avoiding failure may supersede being viewed as compliant. Refusing to do what is asked also gives these children a brief sense of control, something that is not often experienced with a disorganized brain. They feel empowered when they thwart everyone else’s sense of calm.

Children who routinely express negativity and resentment, and blame others for mistakes may also be trying to function with a disorganized brain. Since these children are smart, it is very frustrating when they’re not always able to perform like others whose brains are functioning as intended. Such on-going frustration often turns into vindictiveness towards others.


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