Treatment Center For Defiant Teens

Treatment Center for Defiant Teens

Many parents hope that their teenager acting out is “just a phase they’ll grow out of” or “part of being a teenager nowadays,” but there’s a difference between moodiness, bending rules, and being unsafe or aggressive. The first step to remember when dealing with a defiant teen is to take a deep breath. Most teens will age out of defiant behavior. But, impulsivity and disrespect may follow them into other relationships if they don’t learn healthier ways to react and communicate when angry or overwhelmed. Treatment centers for defiant teens help teens discover the underlying emotions behind their defiant behaviors.

The guide is meant to be comprehensive, but as such, not every section will be applicable to everyone. Instead, we invite you to click on the links in the table of contents to jump to the sections that most interest you.

Table of Contents

How Does Our Residential Treatment Center Help Defiant Teens?

As a relationship-based program, our focus is on helping teens recognize how their behaviors affect their relationships. Often, defiant teens think that they are invincible and that other people’s opinions don’t matter. As they build friendships with their peers, they begin to develop greater social awareness and recognize their values in relationships.

We know that punishment doesn’t work for defiant teens, who claim not to care about consequences. Instead, we offer a structured environment that helps teens develop healthier habits and routines. While this is an adjustment for many teens who don’t like rules, we invite teens to collaborate with their treatment team on coming up with therapeutic goals and accommodations. This teaches them to communicate respectfully and advocate for their needs. Our goal is to empower teens to feel like they have choices and to recognize that some of their choices have natural consequences that affect things they care about.

Types of Defiance in Adolescence

  • Sneaking out of the house
  • Arguing with parents
  • Breaking house rules, like curfew
  • Disrespecting authority figures
  • Disruptive in Classroom
  • Refusing to go to school
  • Risky behaviors, including substance use, reckless driving, and sexual activity

Signs of Oppositional Defiance Disorder in Teens

Signs of Oppositional Defiance Disorder (ODD) vary depending on what is developmentally appropriate. Oppositional Defiant Disorder is characterized by patterns of hostile, defiant behavior towards parents and other authority figures. It sometimes co-occurs with or is misdiagnosed as ADHD or depression. If your teen’s defiance is unpredictable, explosive, or regularly becomes violent, it may be related to other conduct issues. To fit the diagnosis of Oppositional Defiant Disorder, a person must have exhibited some of the following symptoms for at least six months:

  • Easily losing one’s temper
  • Arguing
  • Refusing to follow rules
  • Blaming others
  • Being unwilling to compromise or negotiate
  • Repeated disobedience
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Failure to think before speaking
  • Difficulty making friends

Recreation Activities Reduce Impulsivity in Teens

One of the underlying causes of defiance in teens is that the part of their brain that is responsible for rational decision-making is underdeveloped, which means they are more vulnerable to making impulsive decisions. We offer therapeutic recreation activities that help teens realize that there is such thing as healthy risky taking and getting their need for adrenaline met in different ways. While engaging in activities, we encourage teens to practice mindful awareness of what the activity brings up for them and how they interact with others during team sports.

This is just one of many ways we help teens build social awareness and confidence in their ability to try new things. No matter where a student is with their skills in snowboarding, biking, kayaking or rock climbing, recreation specialists help students feel comfortable and provide coaching in order for students to continue their learned habits after graduation.

Each day of the week, students take part in Physical Education (PE) classes that expand their knowledge and practice of fitness and healthy living. During PE, students explore different forms of exercise through group activities and personal workouts using the campus gym and weight room. Between Monday and Friday, students take part in planned activities that help them work together as teams and learn what workouts they prefer. Planned activities include exercises like dodgeball, soccer, and capture the flag.

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Family Support Central to Continued Success

Research has demonstrated that programs for defiant teens that include high levels of parental involvement have better outcomes than those who do not. Ultimately, our goal is to facilitate conversations between parents and teens about how to communicate respectfully, advocate appropriately, and set boundaries when necessary. While your teen participates in individual and group therapy throughout the week, we also involve families in a parallel therapeutic process.

We believe that parenting styles often have an influence on teen’s defiance. Parents that struggle with being clear about rules or why they have them are more likely to get pushback. When parents are generally permissive and hands-off about what their child does, they are met with resistance when they do try to implement rules. Living with a defiant teen can be stressful for the whole family, even siblings. When parents learn how to respond, rather than react to their child, they are better able to separate their child’s anger from their own and maintain healthy boundaries.

We offer psychoeducation and healthy communication strategies to parents through weekly family therapy, quarterly family workshops, and transition planning once your child is preparing to return home.

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