You have come to a place at home where your teen is out-of-control. Their behavior is unacceptable as they continue to defy your house rules, refuse to attend therapy to get help, you may have tried outpatient treatment that has failed.
School is not working since they are either skipping classes or not attending at all. Maybe you had your troubled teen admitted to a short-term hospital stay for an evaluation — which ended up being unsuccessful. Will behavior modification help your teen?
Does this sound familiar?
-Is your teen doing drugs? Vaping? Drinking? (Recreationally)
–Suspended or facing expulsion from school?
-Withdrawing from friends and family, or changing peer groups?
–Disrespect you and your family values?
-Struggling with depression, sadness, anxiety?
-Do they have outbursts of anger, rage or rebellion?
-Is your teenager explosive? Do they your destroy property?
-Is your teen stealing? Maybe your car or other personal property (money)?
-Are they constantly seeking negative attention? Fighting with their siblings?
-Trouble managing ADHD, ODD, RAD or Bipolar?
These negative behavioral issues (unlike youth that are struggling with drug or alcohol addiction, which you would likely be seeking a 12-step rehab), these concerns can be treated with behavior modification therapy (BMT). Also known as behavioral modification treatment which is part of a behavior modification program for troubled teens that has many benefits.
What is Behavior Modification Treatment?
Behavior modification is a method used to replace negative behavior patterns with desired behaviors or promote behavior change. Using a system of positive or negative consequences, the individual learns the correct set of responses for any given event.
Behavior modification treatment is found in most therapeutic boarding schools and residential treatment centers. They are often referred to as behavior modification programs since they are designed to encourage positive change and build self-worth through a controlled and consistent encouraging environment.
Understanding treating only the behavior issues and not its underlying causes — skips important teachable moments, such as connecting with teens on a deeper level, teaching empathy, values and other life lessons. In most cases, these strategies work best when paired with techniques to change the mind (negative and dark thoughts) as well as the behavior. Having a credentialed and quality clinical team with behavioral therapy is always recommended.
Why behavior modification programs can work:
Unlike a teen that is spiraling out-of-control with while using alcohol or drugs that needs a detox center, behavior modification helps the typical defiant teenager that has taken over your home — when you feel like you are walking on eggshells constantly, although they might be vaping or smoking marijuana recreationally, the truth is, their behavior is unruly and belligerent.
Some parents feel like they are living in a warzone, at any moment their teen will explode at the drop of a dime. They break curfew without any remorse, refuse to do their chores and completely disrespect family rules. We are living in a world of entitled teenagers — where many parents truly fear discipling their own child. Many parents have had their teen contact the authorities on them with erroneous stories out of spite, or maybe they wanted their smartphone back.
A well-designed behavior modification program accelerates the environment to enhance the likelihood and speed of change. The foundation of such environments is the creation of a safe, relationally warm place where the teen is protected from self-destructive behavior, unburdened from the “overwhelm” of life, and immersed in relational climate that invites introspection.
Such places enable young people to look at their choices, their personal limitations, and the outcomes of the strategies they are using, and to recognize their own contributions to their problems and unhappiness. From a basic, high-level vantage point, effective treatment programs share common elements:
- A full and balanced daily life structure and schedule;
- Clinical support through individual, behavioral therapy and group therapy;
- Constant exposure to positive role models and coaching from staff;
- A positive peer culture in which teens who have progressed influence other teens in positive ways;
- Clear and constant expectations and rules;
- Experiential and recreational activities;
- Methods for defining and recognizing progress;
- Academic programming and support;
- Parent education and involvement in the treatment process.