• Residential Treatment Program for Teens 14-18

Teen Treatment Programs and Centers for Defiance

Teen Treatment Programs and Centers For Defiance

Adolescence is all about experimenting with bending rules and pushing boundaries while developing one’s personal rules and ethics. But, along the way, these attitudes and risk-taking behaviors can significantly affect relationships with friends and family. Teen treatment programs and centers for defiance help teens build important life skills such as respect, responsibility, and self-awareness.  

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.

How Does Solstice RTC Help Defiant Teens?

Solstice West seeks to understand what emotions are underlying defiance and the related behaviors. With our relationship-based programming, positive peer culture, and low staff to student ratio, we are able to remove the results that a student may have typically seen in other environments (i.e., throwing a tantrum in order to get a certain food or activity). This is done in an extremely relational way, helping the student to understand the natural consequences of their actions without being punitive or making the outcome feel like a punishment.

Because Solstice West employs a comprehensive, holistic, and collaborative approach to care, and also because of our extensive  experience with student that try to manipulate their surroundings, we are in constant communication with one another. This is critical to working with students that have a history of defiances or manipulation because we are able to address these tactics in a consistent, yet compassionate, way and also offer feedback in the moment.

What are the causes of defiant behaviors in teens?

Defiance, disrespect, and manipulation can feel personal to parents – there’s only so much backtalk and eye-rolling that one can take. But the good news is that your teens defiance is just their way of trying to grow into an independent young person – albeit, without the appropriate approach. Some defiance is considered age appropriate: from a developmental perspective, it is during the teenage years that an adolescent seeks to differentiate themselves and slowly separate from their family. It is the more extreme consequences of defiance that we are concerned with. Here are some causes of defiance:

  • Peer group: If your teen is hanging out with a new group of friends and suddenly begins to behave oppositionally, it could be that they are imitating their new friends.
  • Attention seeking: This is what typical teenage disrespect is about. Any attention, positive or negative, is the goal.
  • Genetics: This type of behavior has a tendency to run in families. Find out if there is any family history and if so, also look for when the behaviors ended.
  • Impulsive control issues: This can be related to other issues such including ADHD. Without the appropriate impulse control, teens may act defiantly without truly realizing the consequence of their actions.  
  • Neurological differences: Some people are just hardwired to push back on authority. Also individuals that have other diagnosed mental illnesses, such as ADHD, depression, or anxiety may be more prone to defiant or oppositional behaviors.

What are signs and symptoms of defiance in teens?

Defiance and oppositional behavior typically starts out small and quickly grows into more serious actions. Here are some examples of what to look for:

  • Intentionally breaking the rules
  • Questioning rules and not following rules
  • Lying, dishonesty, hiding the truth
  • Trying to manipulate people or situations
  • Temper tantrums
  • Excessive arguing with adults
  • Anger and irritable mood
  • Deliberate attempts to annoy or upset people
  • Blaming others for his or their mistakes or misbehavior
  • Vengeful or spiteful attitude
  • Easily annoyed by others
  • Mean and hateful talking when upset

Treatments for oppositional defiance and defiant teen behaviors

Your teen likely doesn’t see their behavior as the issue; they may feel like you have place unreasonable demands on her. It’s helpful to take a step back and bring in a qualified therapist to assess how much of the issue is related to their behavior. Having a third party to work with will help your teen see how they are showing up and how it is affecting the rest of the family system. 

Having a structured approach to how to cool off during heated conversations can also be helpful. This is a form of self-regulation and includes behavioral and emotional reactions. Self-regulation and the associated coping skills are very important for teens that struggle with oppositional or defiant behaviors because it allows for a moment of “pause” before a negative action or reaction occurs.

Solstice West helps teens with self-regulation skills as well as recognizing when they are becoming emotionally dysregulated. The application of these skills throughout the day and also during therapy allows for more progress to be made with reducing problematic behaviors. The comprehensive treatment team approach makes sure that none of the behaviors are spilling through the cracks and also that your teen is being held appropriately accountable for their actions. Doing this with an entire team of caring, supportive staff means that the resources to address their needs are always available. As they works through the program, they will begin to develop an appreciation for relationships, authority figures, and structure.

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Recreation Therapy Teaches Healthy Risk-Taking

The Adventure Therapy program is an integrated part of the clinical program, designed to support each individual’s therapeutic goals through outdoor recreation, experiential education, and community service. Adventure based activities push physical and emotional limits. Students learn how to trust their abilities, overcome thoughts of self-doubt, build self-confidence, and learn patience and compassion for self and others. Lessons learned in adventure activities translate to other aspects of their process at Solstice such as academics, individual and family therapy, and peer relationships.

Recreation activities and adventure therapy make a difference in teen defiance treatment, as their goal is to empower students to use their energy and impulsivity in a constructive way, rather than suggesting it is something destructive that they need to chance in order to be successful. However, there’s a difference between taking risks, like speeding while driving (especially without a license!) and sprinting towards the finish line of a 5k or mountain biking downhill. Some exposure to these fun outdoor activities serve as motivation for teens to engage in healthy social activities with their peers once they leave. 

What makes Solstice West different in treating teens with defiance?

Solstice West provides a truly relationship-based program aimed at whole-person care. Your child is more than their diagnosis and deserves to be in a compassionate, supportive environment that offers a strengths-based approach to care. By focusing on building healthy, trusting relationships, we begin to help their experientially heal unhealthy past relationships. We can help our students understand and practice trust, while building their self-worth and ability to self-regulate.

By developing trusting relationships, students feel safe and comfortable exploring underlying core beliefs related to their defiance. This deep self-work is sometimes difficult, and students need to work with people they trust in order to access these areas of themselves.  

Solstice West believes that every person needs love, acceptance, and a sense of self-efficacy in order to heal and thrive. We focus on principles and values to access intrinsic change and motivation. By understanding students on this deeper level, we are able to work on changes that will be long-lasting and exist even after the structure of being at Solstice West is removed. Though this approach takes more time and investment, it is one we believe in and feel is worth it.  

At Solstice West, we take a holistic approach to the wellbeing of our students. This means that we approach change from the belief that humans are complex, interconnected beings with a variety of needs (social, emotional, family, mental, physical). Therefore we strive to integrate as many components of our program as possible in an effort to create overall health and well-being. Our multidisciplinary treatment team is a wonderful example of this approach in action, as we have integrated professionals from every aspect and setting of your teen’s world at Solstice West in order to further their treatment goals, which includes working on your teen’s defiance issues. The treatment team meets weekly to provide treatment updates, discuss appropriate interventions, and assess phase progression. Learn more about the Solstice Difference>>>