A child may be diagnosed with Conduct Disorder when there is a pattern of repetitive behavior where the rights of others or the major age-appropriate social norms are violated. For example, the child may frequently bully, threaten, or intimidate others; may destroy property; or may frequently lie or steal.
Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD) is diagnosed when there is an enduring pattern of uncooperative, defiant, and hostile behavior toward authority figures that does not involve major antisocial violations, is not accounted for by the child's developmental stage, and results in significant functional impairment. The child may frequently lose his temper, argue with adults, or actively defy rules or refuse to carry out requests from adults. He may deliberately try to annoy others or blame others for his own mistakes or misbehavior or seem angry and resentful.
It can be very difficult to distinguish behavior associated with ODD from behavior that is a normal but inappropriate response to feelings of frustration and anger stemming from academic difficulties and frequent criticism encountered at school. As with other behavioral issues, it is important for parents and teachers to recognize and address learning problems as a first step toward addressing behavioral issues.