Family Solutions Teen Help

For Struggling & Troubled Teen & Young Adult Issues

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10 WAYS TO DEAL WITH YOUR DIFFICULT OR NEGATIVE TEEN


10 WAYS TO DEAL WITH YOUR DIFFICULT OR NEGATIVE TEEN

“Judge nothing, you will be happy. Forgive everything, you will be happier. Love everything, you will be happiest.” ~Sri Chinmoy

I love him to death, but it’s draining to talk to him. Every time I talk with my son, I know what I’m in for: a half-hour rant about everything that’s difficult, miserable or unfair. Sometimes he focuses on the people he feels have wronged him (like his mother and I) and other times he explores the general hopelessness of his high school life. He never asks how I am doing, and he rarely listens to what’s going on in our family life for more than two minutes before shifting the focus back to himself. I tell myself I keep making the attempt to connect because I care, but sometimes I wonder if I have ulterior motives–to pump up my ego offering good parental advice, or even to feel better about my own reality of being the head of this family.

I’m no saint, and if there’s one thing I know well, we only do things repeatedly if we believe there’s something in it for us. Even if that something is just to feel needed. Is that what my son is feeling?

I thought about this the other day when a client asked me an interesting question: “How do I offer compassion to my son when he doesn’t seem to deserve it?”

While I believe everyone deserves compassion, I understand this feeling.

One mother spoke to me about her daughter saying she is offensive and emotionally exhausts everyone around her in the family. Is she hateful of her life already at age 16, or is she just terribly depressed? Some teens seem to have boundless negative energy that ends up affecting everyone around them.

How do you interact with negative or difficult teens?

Teens who seem chronically angry, belligerent, indignant, critical, or just plain rude.

When your teen repeatedly drains everyone around them, how do you maintain a sense of compassion without getting sucked into their doom?

And how do you act in a way that doesn’t reinforce their negativity–and maybe even helps them? Here’s what I’ve come up with:

1. Act instead of just reacting.

Oftentimes we wait until our teen gets angry or depressed before we attempt to buoy their spirits. When you know your teen is dealing with difficult feelings or thoughts (as demonstrated in their behavior) don’t wait for a situation to help them create positive feelings. Give them a compliment for something they did well.

Remind them of a moment when they were happy–as in “Remember when you scored that touchdown? That was awesome!” You’re more apt to want to boost them up when they haven’t brought you down. This may help give them a little relief from their pain.

2. Dig deeper, but stay out of the hole.

It’s always easier to offer your teen compassion when you understand where they’re coming from.

However, that can’t completely justify their bad behavior.

When you show negative people you support their choice to behave badly, you give them no real incentive to make a change (which they may actually want deep down).

It may help to repeat this in your head when you deal with them: “I understand your pain. However, I’m most helpful if I don’t feed into it.”

This might help you approach your teen with both firmness and kindness so they don’t bring you or the rest of the family down with them.

3. Disarm their negativity, even if just for now.

You know your angry and depressed teen will rant about life’s injustices as long as you let them. Part of you may feel tempted to play amateur counselor or therapist –get them talking, and then help them reframe situations into a more positive light.

Then remind yourself you can’t change their whole way of being in one minute or perhaps even in one day. They have to want that. You also can’t listen for hours on end, as you’ve done in the past. However, you can listen compassionately for a short while and then help them focus on something positive right now, in this moment. You can ask about any upcoming activities or school events. You can remind them it’s a beautiful day for a bike ride or walk.

Don’t think you can fix your teen.

Just aim to help them now.

4. Don’t take it personally–but know sometimes it is personal.

Conventional wisdom suggests that you should never take things personally when you deal with your angry and negative teen. And yes, I do think it’s a little more complicated than that. You can’t write off everything your teen says about you just because they are being insensitive or tactless.

Even an abrasive teen may have a valid point. Weigh their comments with a willingness to learn. Accept that you don’t deserve the excessive emotions in their condensing tone, but weigh their ideas with a willingness to learn.

Some of the most useful lessons I’ve learned came from caring friends I wished weren’t right.

5. Maintain a positive boundary.

Some people might tell you to visualize a bright white light around you to maintain a positive space when other people enter it with negativity.

This doesn’t actually work for parents and their teens because most parents and teens respond better to ideas in words than visualizations. So tell yourself this, “I can only control the positive space I create around myself.”

Then when you interact with your teen, do two things, in this order of importance:

~ Protect the positive space around yourself. When their negativity is too strong, you need to walk away.

~ Help your teen feel more positive, not act more positive–which is more likely to create the desired result.

6. Maintain the right relationship based on reality as it is.

With your teen you may always be wishing they could be more accepting and more positive. Do you consistently put yourself in situations where you feel bad because you want to help, because you want them to be happy?

Please realize the best you can do is accept them as they are, let them know you believe in their ability to be happy, and then give them space to make the choice. That means gently bringing your conversations to a close after you’ve made an effort to help.

Or cutting short a night and going to your room when you’ve done all you can and it’s draining you. Hopefully your teen will want to change some day. Until then, all you can do is love them, while loving yourself enough to take care of your needs.

7. Question what you’re getting out of it.

We often get something out of relationship, even with our negative teens.

Get real honest with yourself: have you fallen into a caretaker role because it makes you feel needed by your child? Do you have some sort of stake in keeping the things the way they are?

Questioning yourself helps you change the way you respond–which is really all you can control.

You can’t make your teen act, feel, or behave differently.

You can be as kind as possible or as combative as possible, and still not change reality for them. All you can control is what you think and do–and then do your best to help them without hurting yourself.

8. Remember the numbers.

Research shows that all people with negative attitudes have significantly higher rates of disease and stress. Someone’s mental state plays a huge role in their physical health. When your teen is making life difficult for their family and other people around them, you can be sure they’re doing worse for themselves. What a sad reality. That your teen has so much pain inside them they have to act out just to feel some sense of relief–even when that relief comes from getting a rise out of people. When you remember how much your teen is suffering, it’s easier to stay focused on minimizing negativity, as opposed to always defending yourself.

9. Resist the urge to judge or assume.

It’s hard to offer your teen compassion when you assume you have them pegged. He’s a jerk. She’s dissatisfied. He’s rebellious. Even if it seems unlikely they will wake up one day and act differently you need to remember it is possible.

When you think negative thoughts, it comes out in your body language.

Someone prone to negativity may feel all too tempted to mirror that.

Come at them with the positive mindset you wish they had.

Expect the best in them.

You never know when you might be pleasantly surprised.

10. Temper your emotional response.

Negative teens often gravitate toward others who react strongly–people who easily get angered, outraged, or offended. I suspect this gives them a little light in the darkness of their inner world–a sense that they’re not floating alone in their own anger, bewilderment or sadness. Your teen will remember and learn from what you do more than what you say. When you feed into the situation with emotions, you’ll teach them they can depend on you for a reaction. It’s tough not to react because we’re human, but it’s worth practicing. Once you’ve offered a compassionate ear for as long as you can, respond as calmly as possible with a simple line of fact.

When you’re dealing with an angry, confused and rude teen, you may want to change the subject to something unrelated: “Your favorite TV show is on tonight. Planning to watch it?”

You can’t always save your teen.

But you can make their world a better place by working on yourself–by becoming self-aware, tapping into your compassion, and protecting your teen from self-destructing or self-harming.

Dore E. Frances, Ph.D.

Horizon Family Solutions, LLC

Sunrise


Residential Treatment Program and Boarding School for Teen Girls

At Sunrise, we know that every girl is different. Because your daughter possesses a unique constellation of experiences, talents, relationships, and struggles, Sunrise offers a teen residential treatment program that is customized to meet her special needs. Sunrise works to uncover the academic, social, and emotional potential of girls who have been held back by emotional or behavioral struggles. Our staff knows that in school and treatment one size does not fit all, so we meet your daughter right where she is and design a program that changes with her as she grows confident, secure, and healthy during treatment. All aspects of our program are designed to form a healing milieu that combines the warmth of a home, the safety and clinical expertise of a residential treatment program, and the community access of a transition program. As a result, many students who would otherwise need two or three programs can move through their entire healing process – from treatment to their transition back home or off to college – all at Sunrise, quickly, effectively, and affordably.

New Haven


RESIDENTIAL TREATMENT PROGRAM AND BOARDING SCHOOL FOR TEEN GIRLS, AGES 12-18

At New Haven, we base our treatment decisions on a simple question: What would I want for my daughter?

We know that underneath her struggles – whether with an eating disorder, substance abuse, trauma, or another challenging emotional issue – your daughter is still there, waiting to be discovered, loved back to wholeness, and reunited with her family. After fifteen years working together, our treatment team is one of the most experienced in the field of girls’ adolescent treatment. We know from experience that girls struggling with complex emotional and behavioral issues need access to a variety of proven therapies. Experience has also taught us that even the most clinically sophisticated approaches to treatment are only effective if those delivering them come from a place of connection, compassion, and hope.

Daniels Academy


A premier residential program & school for young men ages 13 to 18 with learning differences.

(801) 979-6294

Daniels Academy is a small home-style residential program & school that provides both academic and emotional support to teenage boys, ages 13-18, with learning differences.  Each component of the Daniels Academy program is designed to support the development of executive functioning and relationship skills.

Daniels Academy believes in seeing each student individually. Every student receives an individualized education and treatment plan. Daniels Academy strongly emphasizes the integration of meaningful relationships coupled with clear and concise expectations, and dependable routines and structures.

Daniels Academy values authenticity and strives to provide experiences and lessons that easily transfer to life at home, work, or school.  To help the treatment experience generalize into life back home, students spend time in local communities nearly every day.

The Vive! approach is different


We help families flourish through therapeutic mentoring for young people combined with supportive coaching for their parents. Our mentors and parent coaches wrap support around the whole family, offering experiential, real-time support, where it counts the most—in the family’s own environment rather than in an office or program setting.

Vive supports young people and their families who find themselves struggling with a difficult transition or life event, or who are experiencing mild to moderate emotional issues. Vive clients benefit from personalized support but are not currently in need of residential treatment. At Vive, we believe that young people and their parents need support. For this reason, Vive delivers a powerful combination of mentoring and parent coaching directly to your family where you live, work, play, and go to school. Therapeutic mentors work directly with young people in their real world setting (whether they are living at home, college, or independently) rather than in an office or controlled environment.

Mentors stay connected! They are available not only by appointment but also by email, text message, and telephone for those stray questions, issues, or just to connect. Parent coaches are similarly available to parents in real-time and by appointment to provide practical, compassionate support to parents when it’s needed. Vive’s integrated family services have proven effective for teens, young adults, and parents in all stages of life.

Call us at 1-800-261-0127 for pricing in your area.

Shelterwood is a licensed therapeutic boarding school


THERAPEUTIC BOARDING SCHOOL DESIGNED TO HELP TROUBLED OR STRUGGLING TEENS

Is your teenager struggling? Are you looking for qualified, compassionate support, continued education, and a safe harbor for your teen away from peers and other influences at home and school? We invite you to learn more about Shelterwood.

We understand how to transform a vision for a new life and new positive thinking in your child into reality. Shelterwood is a licensed therapeutic boarding school.

We believe that every interaction with teenagers in our care is a therapeutic opportunity that helps them change their behaviors and motivations from the inside out.

Shelterwood provides individual, group, and family therapy along with an accredited school for at-risk youth. Unlike traditional boarding schools, we are uniquely equipped to treat struggling adolescents that may be spiraling out of control. Shelterwood is designed to provide excellence in academics right along with life-changing therapy. Our program for teens is a year-long journey which fosters dynamic growth through small class sizes, one-to-one mentoring, small group discussions, recreational activities, and day-to-day living in community.

Built on our love for Jesus, we walk alongside hurting teens and help them reconnect with their families and build healthier lives.

Redwood Grove Transitional Systems


Redwood Grove Transitional Systems began working with families in 2006, when our founder, Dr. Tolen, sought a way to help his residential treatment clients return home with minimal chance of relapse.

We have trained therapists across the country to apply our treatment model, and continue to recruit therapists nationwide in order to meet all our clients’ needs.

Our program is a research-based, comprehensive home and community-oriented approach that addresses the complete environment in which the family lives.

We identify barriers on five key scales (personal, family, social, spiritual, and educational) and work directly in the home with our clients, their families, and their extended communities to make positive and long-lasting changes in their lives.

Our program generally lasts from one (1) to three (3) months, depending on the level of service that you choose. We always hope to have a client enroll in our program several weeks before the child is discharged from his/her residential or wilderness program so that our team can make contact with the child and begin to establish a relationship of trust with both him/her and the whole family before the child comes home. However, we understand that the decision to enroll in transitional/ aftercare services may be made late in the residential treatment process and we can achieve that relationship of trust after the child has already gone home, if necessary.

The Programs of The Pinnacle School


Elk River Treatment Program – Therapeutic Intervention Program that provides diagnostic, assessment, education and treatment services.


Elk River Academy (Mid-Term Program) – Individualized Transitional Therapeutic and Education Program with a flexible length of stay up to one year.


Elk River Healthy Lifestyles – Teen Weight Management and Education Program focusing on nutrition and positive behaviors while building self-esteem.

(866) 906-TEEN 

The programs of  The Pinnacle Schools provide diagnostic, assessment, education and intervention services for troubled teens, ages 12-18, and their families.
Our programs are based on a medical model with 24-hour medical/nursing care.

We believe “no child left behind” also applies to teen residential treatment programs.

The Pinnacle Schools pioneered the use of year-round individualized academics in the short-term residential setting. Because of our flexible length of stay, students can complete a quarter, semester or full academic year.

Continued medical and psychological therapies, along with education, ensure long-term success.

THE OPTIMUM PERFORMANCE INSTITUTE


Young Adult Programs

(888) 558-0617

Borderline Personality Disorder Program – New from OPI!

More Information >

“WE ARE RESOLVED TO PROVIDING THE HIGHEST POSSIBLE QUALITY OF CARE FOR YOUNG ADULTS” – Dr. Robert Fischer M.D.

OPI a small, highly individualized, co-ed transitional young adult program in Southern California.

Our Participants ages 17-28 years old come to us from throughout the world to progress through our highly therapeutic, educational, vocational, recreational and recovery program, find balance in their lives and their place as responsible members of society. As Participants enroll in a nearby junior college or university—or complete high school, get their GED or enter the work force–they receive services ranging from individualized and group therapy, substance abuse counseling when indicated, career counseling, educational tutoring, organizational and Life Skills Training and support to help them set goals and decide what they want to do with their lives.

New Start Transports


Integrity, compassion, respect, along with experience and professional training in appropriate crisis de-escalation techniques, are the building blocks of a safe and successful youth transport intervention.

NST’s founders and their family personally participated in two troubled teen programs. Their personal experiences during this process inspired them to provide an intervention service founded on compassion and care for both the parents and their children being admitted into treatment or wilderness therapy programs.

NST is business licensed, specifically insured, employs all of its interventionist’s, and provides thorough background checks on its entire staff. NST understands not just the need of its youth transportation services, but the need for professional responsibility.

All employees are trained in the New Start Transport Intervention (NSTI) model and certified in Positive Control Systems (PCS). PCS is a crisis intervention training program that can be compared to a variety of other training models: Nonviolent Crisis Intervention (NCI), Handle With Care (HWC), Integrated Crisis Response (ICR), and The Mandt System. Additionally, all employees maintain current CPR and First Aid certifications.

Phone Numbers

OFFICE: 801 805-4785
TOLL-FREE: 1-877-258-2423

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