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Parenting Teens

Conduct Disorder in Teens

Posted by Sue Scheff on September 16, 2015  /   Posted in Parenting Teens, Parenting Teens, Residential Therapy, Struggling Teen Help, Teen Help, Troubled Teens

ParentsTeensWhat is conduct disorder?

We hear so many labels these days with teenagers, ADD, ADHD, ODD, bipolar – there is always family conflict and I frequently am asked about conduct disorder.

Conduct disorder is a set of ongoing emotional and behavioral problems that occurs in children and teens. Problems may involve defiant or impulsive behavior, drug use, or criminal activity.

What causes conduct disorder?

Conduct disorder has been linked to:

  • Child abuse
  • Drug or alcohol abuse in the parents
  • Family conflicts
  • Genetic defects
  • Poverty

The diagnosis is more common among boys.

It is hard to know how common the disorder is. This is because many of the qualities for diagnosis, such as “defiance” and “rule breaking,” are hard to define. For a diagnosis of conduct disorder, the behavior must be much more extreme than is socially acceptable.

Conduct disorder is often linked to attention-deficit disorder. Conduct disorder also can be an early sign of depression or bipolar disorder.

ConductDisorderWhat are some of the symptoms?

Children with conduct disorder tend to be impulsive, hard to control, and not concerned about the feelings of other people.

Symptoms may include:

  • Breaking rules without clear reason
  • Cruel or aggressive behavior toward people or animals (for example: bullying, fighting, using dangerous weapons, forcing sexual activity, and stealing)
  • Not going to school (truancy — beginning before age 13)
  • Heavy drinking and/or heavy drug abuse
  • Intentionally setting fires
  • Lying to get a favor or avoid things they have to do
  • Running away
  • Vandalizing or destroying property

These children often make no effort to hide their aggressive behaviors. They may have a hard time making real friends.

How can parents treat conduct disorder?

Treatment for conduct disorder is based on many factors, including the child’s age, the severity of symptoms, as well as the child’s ability to participate in and tolerate specific therapies. Treatment usually consists of a combination of the following:

  • Psychotherapy: Psychotherapy (a type of counseling) is aimed at helping the child learn to express and control anger in more appropriate ways. A type of therapy called cognitive-behavioral therapy aims to reshape the child’s thinking (cognition) to improve problem solving skills, anger management, moral reasoning skills, and impulse control. Family therapy may be used to help improve family interactions and communication among family members. A specialized therapy technique called parent management training (PMT) teaches parents ways to positively alter their child’s behavior in the home.
  • Medication: Although there is no medication formally approved to treat conduct disorder, various drugs may be used to treat some of its distressing symptoms, as well as any other mental illnesses that may be present, such as ADHD or major depression.

Sources: A.D.A.M. Health, WedMD

If you feel you have exhausted your local resources, your teen is shutting down in therapy, out-patient isn’t working, please contact us for information regarding quality residential therapy.

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Teens, Entitlement Issues and Summer Jobs

Posted by Sue Scheff on June 07, 2015  /   Posted in Parenting Teens

Teen Entitlement Issues
Is your teen spoiled?

In today’s society, kids seem to expect parents to provide expensive gadgets and designer clothes without a thought as to who or how they will be paid for.  Some parents will go into debt to be sure their teen is keeping up with their peers, while others might be able to afford — and of course there are those that simply just can’t afford this lifestyle.  They might be the lucky ones. Why? They are in a position where they will learn the lessons of accountability and responsibility.

What happened to old fashioned work ethic?

With shows like “Rich Kids of Beverly Hills” not to mention the “Keeping Up With The Kardashians” that glorify teens that have extravagant lives and demanding over the top birthday parties we’ve become inundated with the idea that our teens need to be pampered and spoiled beyond reason.

This mindset has led to teens believing that they deserve the most expensive clothes, cars, and cell phones, and that these things should just be handed to them on demand. The reality of it, though, is that our teenagers should be learning the importance of working hard for what they want, and one way to impart this lesson and have them reap the benefits of it is by having them work a part-time job.

There are numerous lessons and values teens will learn from working:

  1. Time management:  Having to balance school and work will teach teens early on the importance of prioritizing responsibilities and managing their time. The sooner they learn how to do this the better off they’ll be when they leave for college and eventually branch out into the real world of full-time jobs and responsibilities.
  2. Help build a resume:  Being able to list work experience on a resume will help your teen get ahead of the crowd when it comes time to apply for college or find a full-time job. It will show prospective colleges and employers that your teen is a motivated, hard-working individual and will set them above the people who have no prior work experience.
  3. Financial independence:  There’s a certain satisfaction that is brought about by being able to buy something you want with your own hard-earned money, and having a job that brings in a paycheck will allow teens to learn how to effectively manage their money and rely on themselves and not their parents for different purchases. Learning to manage money is a life skill that everyone needs to have, so learning it early on will only benefit your teenager.
  4. Develop indispensable life skills:  Your teen will learn very quickly the importance of working as a team and having solid communication skills, two talents that are transferrable into almost any industry or experience. The experiences that they have, both good and bad, from a part-time job will help them to become better-rounded as an individual.
  5. Learn the value of hard work:  Unfortunately hard work is becoming more under-valued these days, especially with teens, and it’s important to teach our kids that hard work is a trait to be admired and respected. Learning to work for what you want is an advantageous tool to have.

While your teens may complain about having to get a job initially, it’s likely that they’ll end up thanking you for it in the long run. The lessons they’ll learn from having to work a part-time job are irreplaceable.

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