Fact Sheet Index

Behavior modification techniques for struggling pre-teens and adolescents comprise a number of therapeutic interventions designed to address specific behavioral problems and give the child tools to change those negative behaviors. In fact, behavioral modification techniques tend to be highly effective in children and teenagers, primarily because of their youth. They, unlike adults, are not set in their ways. The younger you begin to use behavior modification techniques to work with children, the more effective they can be. For example, children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, ADHD, respond much better to behavior modification techniques when they are under 16 years of age. For this reason, parents who become aware of behavioral and emotional problems in their young pre-adolescent and adolescent children should not delay in getting help for the child.

Behavior Modification in Residential Programs and Wilderness Programs

The use of phases and levels, often described in metaphorical terms, has proven to be a highly effective behavioral modification technique in therapeutic boarding schools and wilderness programs. The teen can learn through direct experience the consequences of his or her behavior and how to adjust that behavior to achieve a more positive result. By working through levels or phases, the child gains self-esteem, which reinforces the new found, more positive behaviors.

Metaphors for Behavioral Growth

Some of the metaphors used in residential programs have strong resonance for youth. For example, a ranch-type setting might use metaphors that allow children to progress from a mustang (wild and undisciplined), to a Rider (responsibility for something of value-the horse), to the Rancher (one who can lead other mustangs and riders). A wilderness program might help a child progress from a mouse, to a coyote, to an eagle. These metaphors operate as rites of passage that have been lost or forgotten in modern society. They give the child concrete feedback for behaviors, as well as powerful imagery to inspire him or her to continue on the path toward responsible behavior and integration into the larger society.

Aspen Education Group has a number of programs that can help pre-adolescent and adolescent children who have emotional and behavioral problems. These intensive programs can quickly narrow down the issues your child is experiencing to help him or her on a positive life path.

Youth Care offers a continuum of care for adolescents who are experiencing emotional or behavioral problems. Students participate in a level system where points are awarded for appropriate behavior. This immediate reinforcement helps students to formulate a more healthy attitude. Talk to a program representative for more information.

SUWS of the Carolinas is a therapeutic camping program with a unique clinical treatment approach that has proven to be highly effective in helping students identify their limiting emotional beliefs and destructive behavioral habits. The wilderness settings help staff to connect with students. Talk to a program representative for more information.

Our Assessment Test can help you determine if a residential program might be best for your particular child.