Some level of teens pushing back against their parents is to be expected during adolescence. It means they’re learning boundaries and consequences and trying to exercise greater autonomy. While teen angst is relatively normal, it can be difficult for a parent to discern between regular angst and signs of mental health issues, like oppositional defiant disorder. If your teen’s defiance is becoming a barrier to daily life and getting in the way of their education, you may want to look into treatment options for oppositional defiance.

What is Oppositional Defiance?

Oppositional defiant disorder is described as someone having a frequent and persistent pattern of anger, irritability, arguing, defiance or vindictiveness toward you and other authority figures. The key difference between oppositional defiance and regular teen pushback is that teens with ODD struggle with impulse control and taking responsibility for their actions. Rather than not pausing to see possible consequences of their behavior, they are insistent that their choices are rational as they meet their personal needs even though they ignore their need to connect with others. 

The American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychology outlines common signs of oppositional defiance disorder including:

  • Temper tantrums
  • Issues with authority figures
  • Frequently questions rules
  • Often defies and refuses to listen to adults
  • Purposely tries to upset or annoy others
  • Easily annoyed by others
  • Often blames others for their own mistakes
  • Bursts of anger or resentment
  • Spiteful and revenge-seeking behavior

Developing Leadership Skills in Wilderness Therapy

Adventure-based wilderness programs stand out from traditional forms of oppositional defiance treatment, as they encourage teens to find ways to channel their impulsivity and restlessness. Wilderness programs offer a structured environment for teens struggling with establishing healthy routines that are less restrictive than other options, like boot camps, that use a “tough love” approach.

As staff members join students on wilderness expeditions, they form collaborative relationships based on shared goals rather than differences in authority. Instead of just following rules, these programs focus on teaching teens the importance of following personal values and developing self-discipline. Teens are encouraged to step up as leaders and to recognize how their behaviors affect others. Through adventure therapy, teens develop meaningful relationships with their peers and mentors and discover the importance of teamwork and cooperation in maintaining these relationships.

blueFire Wilderness Can Help

blueFire Wilderness is a wilderness therapy program for teens, ages 11 to 17, grappling with depression, bullying, anxiety, addiction, and other emotional or behavioral problems. We incorporate adventure therapy and family therapy into the program to help students build confidence, improve communication skills, and gain leadership skills that help them repair relationships and rebuild trust with their parents. Our goal is to help teenagers rediscover their inner spark.

Call 1 (844) 413-1999 to learn more about treatment options for oppositional defiant disorder!


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