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Effective Troubled Teen Programs

Not all parents subscribe to the notion of "tough love," which is used so extensively in many troubled teen programs. Some parents want their children close by and want to avoid placing their troubled teen into an environment that may build even more resentment and anger. For these parents and troubled teens, behavior modification programs are a good starting point. In behavior modification programs, appropriate behavior is reinforced and rewarded and inappropriate behavior is confronted and redirected, with consequences given.

This may be as simple as drawing up a contract with a teen that outlines the rules for the household and identifies the consequences ahead of time if the rules are broken. The rules and consequences must be fair and consistently administered by both parents. A contract is a viable option for teens who are just beginning to misbehave due to a lack of structure in the home for routines, chores and expected behaviors.

For troubled teens who need assistance over and above what their parents can give, outpatient therapy programs may be a viable option, especially for teens who are already committed to recovery. These programs offer a variety of treatment options, including individual and/or group counseling, family counseling, or substance abuse programs. Although outpatient programs can be very beneficial, they are usually relatively short-term, and are not designed for teens with severe emotional or psychiatric problems.

Another option is to enroll a troubled teen in a day treatment program. This type of program is designed for teens who were unsuccessful in an outpatient setting. These teens often struggle with emotional and psychological issues, and are an option for troubled teens who need intensive therapeutic support but who do not yet require a residential environment.


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