Adolescence can be fraught with tumultuous changes -- both for teens and parents. However, when a teen undergoes a significant behavior change that involves defying social norms, established rules and authority figures, it's crucial to obtain the necessary resources to prevent the teen from doing irreparable harm to herself and others.
Chronic defiance in teens can lead to disorders such as oppositional defiance and conduct disorder. Teens with oppositional defiance disorder show frequent disregard of rules, argue with adults and engage in vengeful or spiteful behavior. Adolescents who have conduct disorder, a more serious condition, act out by committing violence against others, animals and property. Left unchecked, defiant behavior in teens can lead to legal troubles. In fact, according to a 2002 study published in the Archives of General Psychiatry “Psychiatric Disorders in Youth in Juvenile Detention,” 40 percent of male and female teens met criteria for disruptive disorders such as oppositional defiance, conduct disorder and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. However, resources are available to help parents get their teens back on track.
American Psychological Association
The American Psychological Association, the premier organization for psychologists, provides resources and information on conditions that affect a teen's mental health and behavior. Parents can find guidance on finding appropriate treatments and interventions for their troubled teen. Examples of common treatment protocols for teens include psychotherapy, cognitive therapy, which helps teens modify inappropriate behavior, and anger management classes. Anger management courses help teens by providing strategies to manage negative emotions and stress. The inability of a teen to handle conflicting emotions and stress can cause a teen to act out inappropriately. The American Psychological Association has a provider locator link for parents to find professional help for their teen.
Mental Heath America
Mental Health America provides a variety of resources to help parents gather information about behavioral problems with teens and other mental-health related conditions. The organization also has material of support groups around the country as well as information on seeking professional treatment for teens. Additionally, a parent can contact the organization if a teen is experiencing a crisis.
American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry offers in-depth information, fact sheets and resources for parents on defiance disorders and stress-related conditions. The site provides links for parents to access child and adolescent psychiatrists who specialize in treating and diagnosing conditions that affect a teen's thinking, emotions and behavior.
Parent and Teen Resources
The Parent and Teen Resources site provides assistance to parents who are seeking specific programs and schools for defiant teens. The site offers information on therapeutic boarding schools, boot camps and residential programs which specialize in treating teens with behavioral issues. Parents can also find information about financial assistance for treatment programs and guidance on what to look for in specific programs. Parents can fill out the contact form on-site or call for assistance.
- The National Center for Biotechnology Information: Archives of General Psychiatry: Psychiatric Disorders in Youth in Juvenile Detention
- Children's Mental Health Matters: Facts for Educators: Oppositional and Defiant Children
- American Psychological Association: Teens
- Mental Health America: Children's Mental Health Resource List
- American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry: Children with Oppositional Defiance Disorder
- Parent and Teen Resources
- Jupiterimages/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images