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When my nine-year-old son, Max, was diagnosed with ADHD last year, I immediately went into education mode. I started reading books. I watched videos. I signed up for a parenting class. So many of the struggles my husband and I had been having with our parenting suddenly made sense.

Something else made sense too—something that had very little to do with Max, and yet everything to with him.

I came across information about a condition that often goes along with ADHD called Oppositional Defiant Disorder, or ODD. Children with ODD tend to have a great deal of aggression. They make a habit of bothering, irritating, and provoking other people on purpose. They can be mean, hostile, and defiant, often refusing to comply with adults’ requests or rules. They consistently blame others for their mistakes. They tend to be touchy and easily annoyed. They lose their temper frequently, with outbursts of aggression. Some children outgrow it; others do not. Untreated, ODD can lead to behavioral problems in adolescence, and substance abuse later in life.

This didn’t describe my Max, but it did perfectly describe someone else: my brother, Paul.

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