Wilderness Therapy in Winter: Staying Safe While Healing & Having Fun

Wilderness Therapy in Winter

Wilderness therapy in winter offers therapeutic value and unique opportunities for growth, especially at Aspiro. Not only is winter in Utah incredibly beautiful with the views of snow-capped landscapes, but a Utah winter also provides students with diverse environments and allows them to accomplish things they never thought possible. Living in the winter elements provides students with a boost of confidence, greater resilience, and an increase in self-efficacy. Research indicates these qualities translate into a strong belief in the ability to do hard things. Once a student moves on to the next step following Aspiro, this belief stays with them; whether it be the confidence to tackle an algebra class, to communicate with a peer, or to be emotionally open and vulnerable with a parent.

Aspiro’s priority is ensuring the safety of students throughout the year, and especially during the winter months. Maintaining the highest standards of risk management is crucial to the Aspiro team. There are many protocols in place that apply to different aspects of the program. Below are some areas where there is an additional focus in the winter months.

Gear/Supplies

During every season, a variety of seasonally appropriate gear is provided to ensure comfort and safety. In the winter:

  • thick, warm coats are given out,
  • an addition to wool socks,
  • 2 pair of gloves,
  • a warm winter hat,
  • layers of thermal underwear,
  • fleece layers,
  • and waterproof layers.

Students also have insulated winter hiking boots and over-boots.

Students are given a -20-degree sleeping bag plus two insulated sleeping pads in order to protect them from feeling cold at night. The specialized gear, a student’s body heat, and the heat from the others in the shelter provide a cozy place to sleep. Also, students spend a few hours each week at the field office near Aspiro’s base camp, where they take warm showers and get freshly laundered clothes for the new week, ensuring they have clean and dry clothes available. All gear is regularly assessed and replaced or repaired as needed, in order to ensure that all students are comfortable and warm.

In addition, students are taught to properly care for and pack their gear so it stays dry, as well as how to wear the right layers in the correct order, to ensure warmth. Field staff teach the students to first use a wicking layer next to their skin to help move moisture away from their bodies. Second, they put on on an insulating layer to keep that heat trapped in, and lastly, they have a waterproof layer to keep out moisture and wind. It’s a science!

Staying Warm When the Weather is Cold

In addition to quality clothing and gear, another utilized practice for staying warm is engaging in warm-up exercises first thing in the morning, throughout the day, and before bed, in order to keep blood circulating and the body’s core temperature high. Being proactive and getting moving is the best way to stay warm.

To supplement physical movement and activity for warmth, each student and staff member has a stove that heats water efficiently. They then put this hot water in water bottles and keep them next to their bodies under their layers of clothing, or in their sleeping bags at night. This hot water, which can be made quickly and often, is also used for herbal tea and to make warm meals.

Students also utilize fires and wood burning stoves to stay warm. Army grade tents are available while at base camp, and each of these has a wood burning stove inside. Students spend time in these tents doing activities, eating meals, participating in therapy, group activities, and receiving safety checks. Each tent is equipped with thermometers in order to monitor the temperature, as well as carbon monoxide detectors and smoke detectors.

Versatility in the Location of Programming

One of the most unique aspects of Aspiro is the ability to utilize many environments throughout the state of Utah, ranging from the mountains in the North to the warm desert climate down South. Taking into account the therapeutic objectives for each group, as well as weather conditions, Aspiro has the flexibility to send students on various adventure itineraries throughout the state of Utah. These can range from mountain biking on the red rock terrain in the warmth of the St. George desert, to skiing in the fresh snow up in the mountains of Sundance, Utah.

During the winter month’s Aspiro dedicates considerable time to warmer itineraries down South such as mountain biking, rock climbing, hiking, and canyoneering. Although Aspiro often utilizes the warmer desert climate during the winter, there is great therapeutic value in the cold weather adventure itineraries as well. These winter itineraries create a great sense of confidence as students learn to care for themselves in more difficult conditions, learn to plan ahead and ensure they are prepared, recognize they have the tools and equipment to stay warm and safe and gain confidence from their ability to manage the winter elements. Another important part of wilderness therapy in winter is learning to reframe snow and winter as an opportunity for peace, enjoyment, and learning. Students often report that some of the winter adventure itineraries are their favorites.

Cold Weather Adventure Itineraries

Winter presents its own beautiful twist on the scenery and allows students to access incredible places in Utah that might be overpopulated in the spring or summer. This allows them to take full advantage of the solitude and peace that comes from the lack of other visitors while snowshoeing on untouched trails, or backpacking amidst the quiet landscape.

In addition to snowshoeing and backpacking, skiing is a favorite winter adventure.  Not only is skiing an enjoyable activity, but in addition, students gain skills such as awareness of self and others, physical strength and coordination, and an ability to find great emotional reward as they get into the state of “flow”. Flow Theory stems from positive psychology, and is the state of mind where one is focused completely on the moment and is fully “in the zone”. In this state of flow, there is a feeling of being more present than ever, losing oneself completely, and being intensely focused. Being in a state of flow helps students learn to alleviate anxiety and stress in life as they practice getting into this mindful place.

Vehicles

Aspiro’s vehicles are regularly inspected and all have high-quality all-terrain tires, as well as tire chains available to use as needed. Each vehicle is also equipped with a tracking device, allowing the field leadership team to know where all vehicles are at each moment, as well as exactly how each driver is doing. This helps ensure the safety of both guides and staff. All staff also go through a DDC professional driving course and must have a clean driving record in order to be eligible to drive Aspiro vehicles. There is also great flexibility in the Aspiro program that allows a group to drive out to a different area to camp or facilitate a therapeutic adventure if driving conditions are deemed unsafe by the risk management team.

Medical Checks

Aspiro guides complete hand and foot checks on every student at a minimum of 3 times a day, and check to ensure there are no injuries or blistering. During these checks, extremities are closely evaluated and the warmth and comfort of each student is confirmed. This close evaluation is in addition to the constant safety monitoring of every student that takes place 24 hours a day.
The guides call into the leadership team twice per day to report on each student and have access to the Registered Nurse or EMT 24/7 as needed. Aspiro’s medical team also has access to a Medical Doctor at all times.

In addition to guides completing safety checks of the students, students also complete regular hand, foot, and face washing to ensure cleanliness and safe hygiene. Students are also physically evaluated once a week by a member of the medical team, and each student is analyzed by a Body Composition Analyzer, which reports to the team a student’s weight, body fat percentage, body mass Index, and skeletal and muscle mass. Aspiro’s medical team uses this information to gauge each student’s individual diet and to ensure they all are getting the proper amount of calories, nutrition, and exercise.

Diet

In the winter, students receive additional food that has a higher fat content in order to ensure more caloric intake. Foods denser in calories take longer to metabolize, thus increasing overall body warmth. Because winter temperatures can require more energy to manage, a higher calorie diet also helps offset this. In addition to fresh fruits and vegetables, students eat nuts, peanut butter, canned salmon, canned tuna, rice, beans, cheese, oatmeal, and more, in order to get the calories and energy needed. Staff monitor food and water intake closely to ensure that students are getting the nutrition and hydration they need.

Weather Monitoring

Aspiro’s Operations Team is continuously monitoring weather on a daily basis. They use weather predictions and patterns as part of the information gathered when they plan the weekly schedule for students. Guides that are out in the field communicate with the Operations Team and on-call leadership members at least twice a day. During this call, the guides are updated as needed, regarding weather conditions so they can make any changes necessary to their daily plan. Students do not engage in activities outside of the campsite if temperatures drop below 10 degrees.  Instead, at that point, they stay at camp and keep warm by engaging in warm-up exercises and doing activities by the wood-burning stoves or by a fire.

Staff Training

Aspiro guides are taught to empower students with the information they need in order to live safely in the wilderness and to manage various temperatures and environments. These staff are trained on various topics in numerous areas and attend mandatory training on a weekly basis. The training for winter includes how to build winter shelters, how to implement emergency heat wraps, first aid, how to respond to any cold weather emergency scenarios, how to monitor for winter safety, and more. Aspiro’s medical team, a Registered Nurse, an EMT, and a Medical Doctor, are on call 24/7 and available to answer any questions that guides may have while in the field.

Aspiro guides are certified or working toward certification as Wilderness First Responders (WFR), which is the nationally recognized standard in wilderness medicine and provides education on the best practices for risk mitigation. A WFR certification typically requires 72-80 hours of classroom training and practice and includes a written and practical exam.

Throughout the year, and especially during the winter at Aspiro, a great amount of time and effort goes into ensuring the quality of programming, the availability of high-quality gear, the training of staff, a healthy diet, and overall safety. The attention to detail and safety in these areas adds to an impactful wilderness experience. The joy that comes when completing a winter adventure, the peace attained through the serenity of the quiet landscape, and the additional opportunities for growth that are found during the snowy adventure itineraries all lead to a powerful and life-changing experience.

Welcoming Jamie Ahern Back To Aspiro’s Clinical Team

Welcoming back Jamie Ahern to Aspiro's Clinical Team

As we launch into 2019 Aspiro is excited to welcome Jamie Ahern back to the Clinical Team!

Jamie is a warm and inviting therapist with a passion for helping young people in the outdoors. He has been a therapist for 8 years and is trained in a number of therapeutic modalities including CBT, DBT, EMDR, and Motivational Interviewing. Jamie has worked as a wilderness guide, as a community mental health therapist, and as a wilderness therapist. Jamie is committed to helping clients facilitate lasting change through the therapeutic connection he forms and the research-backed interventions he utilizes.

Jamie believes in the healing power of the outdoors as well as the many opportunities for growth that can be found through adventure. He is an avid outdoorsman and can be found fly fishing, hunting, mountain biking, hiking or skiing whenever he gets the chance. Jamie says that some of the most profound moments of his life have come from these experiences and have brought him great emotional insight and healing.

“My outdoor adventures have taught me how to do extraordinarily difficult things and through them I have learned how to challenge myself, how to focus, and how to push myself physically. This has taught me that I can do things outside of my comfort zone; things I didn’t think I was able to do. This has helped me to really challenge myself both personally and professionally and has led to an increased desire to find new skills, attend more trainings, and to create applications to my work that I may not have otherwise seen,” says Jamie.

In addition, Jamie shares that outdoor adventure not only motivates him but is also the medicine he needs to keep himself level. He also finds that the outdoor community keeps him grounded and connected. Engaging in outdoor adventure is how he met many of his friends, including his wife. He loves to share this enthusiasm with his students and help them find their own healthy outlets, gain an understanding of the power of nature, and discover the close connections with self and others that can be found there.

Jamie’s outlook on the outdoors and his personal experiences align perfectly with Aspiro’s philosophy that “#AdventureHeals”. Dr. Carl Smoot, Director of Clinical Assessment, attests to this by saying, “We are excited to have Jamie back on our team. He does a great job of combining his love for facilitating positive change in his students with his passion for the outdoors. Jamie has truly lived a life in which he can personally claim that outdoor adventure has changed him in profound ways. He has found healing on his personal journey through adventure, and sets a great example for his students so they can learn to do the same. His positive energy, sense of humor, fun-loving personality and clinical expertise are an exciting addition to our clinical team.”

Please feel free to e-mail Jamie directly at [email protected] or contact the admissions department [email protected] with any question.

Defining Level 1 Autism: Distinguishing Why Different Levels of Care are Needed for Different Traits

Understanding the levels of autism, especially Level 1 Autism by Defining the Traits and Behaviors of Autism Spectrum Disorder

By: Carl Smoot, PhD, Shane A. Whiting, Ph.D., LMFT, Brandon Moffitt, LPC

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is defined as having persistent deficits in social communication and social interaction across multiple contexts.

Levels of Autism

The current DSM-5 diagnostic manual has separated the disorder into three varying degrees:

  • Level 1: Requiring Support
  • Level 2: Requiring Substantial Support
  • Level 3: Requiring Very Substantial Support

In this article, we will focus specifically on level 1 autism, distinguishing traits of level 1 autism, and how specialized treatment such as a wilderness adventure therapy or a residential program can help.

Defining the Traits and Behaviors of Level 1 Autism

Individuals with level 1 autism, without proper support, will display noticeable impairments in social communication. Common behaviors in individuals with level 1 autism include:

  • Inflexibility in behavior and thought
  • Difficulty switching between activities
  • Problems with executive functioning which hinder independence
  • Atypical response to others in social situations
  • Difficulty initiating social interactions and maintaining reciprocity in social interaction

Theory of Mind in Specialized Treatment Programs for Level 1 Autism

One of the most effective ways to treat level 1 autism is through utilizing the Theory of Mind. Theory of Mind and adaptive skills-based treatment that targets executive function, emotional regulation, cognitive flexibility, social communication skills, and anxiety reduction. These are all critical aspects in the field of Level 1 treatment, particularly in specialized treatment programs such as Vantage Point, Black Mountain Academy, and Daniels Academy.

Theory of Mind is the ability to accurately predict or attune to the thoughts, intentions, feelings, and perspective of another person. Individuals with autism have delays in this particular development. As a toddler, a neurotypical child will transition into a phase of cooperative play in which theory of mind begins to develop. Ideally, the child begins to be aware of the needs and feelings of those around them.  When theory of mind does not develop, early adolescence is marked with delays in social maturation, social/emotional problem solving, and cognitive flexibility all of which play a crucial part in adaptive function.

Enrolling a teen in a specialized program that both understands and executes Theory of Mind can help these individuals with ASD become more aware of other perspectives in addition to learning social skills and adaptability.

Wilderness Adventure Therapy and Specialized Residential Programs as Treatment for Level 1 Autism

Additionally, for teens with level 1 autism, a credible wilderness adventure therapy program, such as Vantage Point by Aspiro, or a smaller residential programs such as Daniel’s Academy or Black Mountain Academy, can be a highly effective treatment option in helping these individuals improve their social skills, establish healthier patterns, and learn how to make smooth transitions.

Vantage Point: Short-Term Program as Treatment for Level 1 Autism

Short-term wilderness adventure therapy programs such as Vantage Point should be considered as an intervention, foundation, and starting point for level 1 autism treatment.  When students first begin treatment in a specialized program like Vantage Point, they participate in a variety of adventure activities, service, and community involvement. This helps lay the foundation for them to establish a connection with the people and the world around them. This is especially effective in a short-term specialized treatment program because of the novel and new environment.

Daniels Academy and Black Mountain Academy: Long-Term Care for Level 1 Autism

With Vantage Point and other short-term programs serving as a starting off point, long-term programs such as Daniel’s Academy and Black Mountain Academy provide students with ongoing reinforcement, application, and long-term efforts to solidify new skills. A long-term residential program is able to teach teens with ASD these skills on a long-term basis through project-based learning systems as a way to collaboratively solve problems that have real-world application.

Ultimately, both long-term and short-term programs help teens with ASD break through boundaries, build awareness, and establish healthier cognitive and behavioral patterns. Students with ASD who enroll in a specialized treatment program learn how to reduce their stress through coping skills and learn how to increase their flexibility and improve their social skills. The students are able to make lasting change and internalize these skills through cognitive behavioral, collaboration and communication, consistency, active training, verbal praise, and encouragement.

Conclusion

Each individual with autism is unique. The level of disability and combination of symptoms can vary dramatically on the autism spectrum which makes it essential for every child and teen with ASD to get a proper diagnosis and the treatment they need. For teens with level 1 autism, a credible wilderness adventure therapy program or residential program can help refine and teach these individuals how to work through their executive function deficits through individualized care and research-based model to facilitate lifelong growth and lasting change.

This article is brought to you by Aspiro Group. To learn more about the authors of this article, click here.

About Aspiro Group

The Aspiro Adventure programs are uniquely crafted to assist students and their families in creating lasting, life-long emotional changes through compassionate, intentional, research-backed, and safe outdoor adventure therapy programs. The professionals at all of the Aspiro group programs understand individuals don’t come with instructions, and every student is unique, capable, and amazing in their own right.

All of our programs focus on helping adolescents, young adults, and their families through difficulties that occur when various behavioral, cognitive, or developmental issues are present. Research shows that engaging individuals on a personal level with strategic and intentional activities will aid in developing the tools and skills necessary to engage life in a healthy and positive way. Aspiro group programs include Aspiro Adventure, Daniel’s Academy, Vantage Point, Pure Life,  Black mountain Academy, and Outback.

To learn more about level 1 autism, we recommend the following resources:

Troubled Teens and Self-Identity: Causes, Problems, and Common Behaviors

While there are a variety of ways that teens experience identity formation, some experiences can become very harmful to the individual. In the sections below, we discuss the causes and more serious issues in teenage identity issues & development and how parents can help.

Common Causes Contributing to Unhealthy Teen Identity Development

The importance of identity development for teens is huge. When a teen is developing their identity they are learning what makes them unique while also feeling the need to fit in. For teens who feel excluded from others due to their cultural, ethnic, gender, or sexual identity, this process can lead teens to begin participating in harmful behavior.

Other factors that prevent the formation of a secure and positive self-identity include:

  • Lack of attachment to parents
  • Low self-esteem
  • Absence or negative influence of adults
  • Lack of acceptance in a positive peer group

Common Problems and Behaviors Surrounding Unhealthy Teenage Identity Issues

The causes above make a teen more likely to engage in risky behaviors such as drugs, substance addiction, and promiscuity. These teens are also more likely to perform poorly in school, have low self-esteem, and to act compulsively. This is due to the fact that during this time teens are still developing cognitively which makes their thinking process more impulsive than adults. Therefore, the simple encouragement from peers can be enough to persuade a teen to engage in risky behavior without much thought. The result of a teen’s participation in rebellious or promiscuous behavior can result in the teen feeling even worse about themselves and can create a downward spiral of unhealthy patterns and behavior.

15 of the common behaviors and warning signs of a teen struggling with their identity (R.C. Savin-Williams, Conceiving or Misconceiving the Self: Issues in Adolescent Self-Esteem) include:

  1. Distorted or unrealistic perception of oneself
  2. Lack of congruent behaviors and values in different settings
  3. Self-worth relies on opinions of others
  4. Poor academic performance or failure.
  5. Promiscuous behavior
  6. Low self-esteem
  7. Putting down others (i.e., teasing, name-calling, or gossiping)
  8. Dramatic or out of context behaviors
  9. Glances around to monitor others
  10. Putting self down
  11. Keeps his or her own views or opinions to self
  12. Intense emotions of anger or sadness
  13. Change in peers and/or avoids positive friendships
  14. Disregarding rules and limits
  15. Use of illegal substances

If your teen displays several of the above behaviors, they are likely struggling to form their identity. The next step parents can take to encourage healthier patterns is to ensure their teen is getting the support he or she needs at home.


About Aspiro Adventure

Aspiro Adventure’s Wilderness Adventure Therapy program was uniquely crafted to assist students and their families in creating lasting, life-long emotional changes through compassionate, intentional, research-backed, and safe outdoor adventure therapy programs. The professionals at Aspiro Adventure understand individuals don’t come with instructions, and every student is unique, capable, and amazing in their own right. Aspiro Adventure focuses on helping adolescents, young adults, and their families through difficulties that occur when various behavioral, cognitive, or developmental issues are present. Research shows that engaging individuals on a personal level with strategic and intentional activities will aid in developing the tools and skills necessary to engage life in a healthy and positive way.

16 Signs of Depression in Young Adults and Teens

Signs of Depression in Young Adults and Teens

Depression in teens and young adults doesn’t consist of just moodiness and bouts of sadness or melancholy. Depression is a serious problem that has the potential to affect many aspects of an individual’s life. While many well-adjusted adults have trouble learning how to deal with depression, it is even more difficult for teens and young adults. Left undiagnosed or untreated, depression in teens and young adults can lead to serious, harmful behaviors, such as substance abuse, promiscuity, self-injuring or mutilation, violence, or even suicide.

Read more16 Signs of Depression in Young Adults and Teens

Why is Teen Identity Development Important?

Why Teen Identity Development is Important

Identity formation in teens is about developing a strong sense of self, personality, connection to others and individuality. Therefore, a positive teen self-identity is vital because it shapes a teen’s perception of belonging not just for their teens years but most of their adult life. In addition, a positive self-identity is correlated with positive self-esteem. Positive reinforcements of effort, good choices and perseverance from parents can help adolescents develop a strong sense of self.

Erik Erikson, a psychologist, argues that if a teen does not establish what their personal beliefs and values are then they will have an identity crisis. Erikson believes identity development is a key process for teens and that a failure to establish identity leads to role confusion and a weak sense of self later in life.

To learn more about why teen identity is important, download our FREE white paper today by following the link below.

 

 


About Aspiro Adventure

Aspiro Adventure’s Wilderness Adventure Therapy program was uniquely crafted to assist students and their families in creating lasting, life-long emotional changes through compassionate, intentional, research backed, and safe outdoor adventure therapy programs. The professionals at Aspiro Adventure understand individuals don’t come with instructions, and every student is unique, capable, and amazing in their own right. Aspiro Adventure focuses on helping adolescents, young adults, and their families through difficulties that occur when various behavioral, cognitive, or developmental issues are present. Research shows that engaging individuals on a personal level with strategic and intentional activities will aid in developing the tools and skills necessary to engage life in a healthy and positive way.

5 Reasons Boot Camp for Teens is Not the Best Way to Provide Help for Troubled Teens

Why Aren’t Teen Boot Camp Programs Effective at Providing Help for Troubled Teens?

While the media often lumps teen boot camp programs in a similar category as wilderness therapy, they are not the same. Wilderness therapy provides individualized treatment, intrinsic changes, and addresses the family dynamic. A credible wilderness therapy program also provides a treatment approach that is clinically-driven by licensed therapists and researched-based practices. Since teen boot camp programs are “one size fits all,” teens do not receive the individualized treatment they need to work through their issues.

Read more5 Reasons Boot Camp for Teens is Not the Best Way to Provide Help for Troubled Teens

Aspiro is happy to welcome Ian Ferguson, RN, to our team!

About Ian

Ian Graduated Cum Laude from Westminster College with a BSN.  He was introduced to the power of psychiatric nursing on rotations at University of Utah Neuropsychiatric Institute. During his tenure at UNI Ian discovered a passion for this field. He was then selected for a Post-Baccalaureate Nurse Residency Program at the VA hospital in Salt Lake City where he had a well-rounded experience working in every department of the hospital, including more time with psychiatric medicine.

Ian has 6 core emergency nursing certifications; BLS (Basic Life Support), ACLS (Advanced Life Support), PALS (Pediatric Advanced Life Support), TNCC (Trauma Nursing Core Course), ENPC Emergency Nursing Pediatric Course, and NRP (Neonatal Resuscitation Program).

Ian’s passion for nursing developed after his three-week-old son stopped breathing for over 4 minutes. After almost losing his son Ian reflected on the supportive, caring nurses in the hospital, and the impactful role they played in helping his family through a difficult time. He was then inspired to become a nurse to make such a difference for others.

Ian has been working in trauma and emergency nursing over last 2 years and enjoys helping people in times of crisis. Ian says, “Seeing the impact and changes that come from great medical care and intervention are what make my job so enjoyable, making it feel like it’s not really a job at all.”

When he isn’t working, Ian loves spending time with his wife and children outdoors; hiking, camping, boating, mountain biking, baseball, football, and soccer. He is an avid skier, snowboarder, rock climber, and mountain biker, which gives him great enthusiasm about Aspiro’s Adventure Therapy approach to treatment. Ian has found much confidence and satisfaction through adventure, as well as peace and healing in the outdoors.

“I absolutely love my job,” says Ian. “I love being able to make a difference in the lives of the patients I work with and I am excited to be a part of the Aspiro team and vision.” 

Please help me in welcoming Ian to our team.

With Gratitude and Appreciation –

 

Shannon Weaver, LCSW
Associate Director of Marketing & Outreach

How Parents Can Help Their Angry Teen

teenage anger outbursts

teenage anger outbursts

While parenting a defiant or angry teen is extremely draining for parents, there are several key steps parents can take to help ease the contention and strain within the home. Teenagers lack the emotional maturity and stability and therefore significantly rely on their parents to give them the help and direction they need. It is essential that parents do the best they can to love and support their teen while still keeping in mind that they cannot control their teen’s emotions or actions. The best thing parents can do is provide their teen with proper support within the home and seek appropriate external treatment to help the teen learn how to manage his or her emotions. For the next two weeks on the Aspiro blog, we will provide parents with strategies that can help manage a teen’s anger outburst.

 

Create Boundaries and Expectations for Your Teen

Defiant and angry teens need clear rules that are tied to a clear consequence when he or she breaks the rule. Establish these rules and expectations during a calm time.  Have a conversation with your teen so they know what to expect when the said rules are broken. Explain to your teen that these rules are to help keep him or her safe and free from harm. Express your love for your child.. Even angry teens want to know that their parents love and care about them.

Talk to Your Teen

Parents of angry teens may find it difficult to talk and communicate with their teen through the outburst and contention. During times of peace or once a teen has calmed down from their outburst, parents should try and talk to their teen about what is really bothering them. If the teen is willing to speak or share, do not judge or try and correct your teen. Simply listen to him or her without becoming angry.

Encourage a Healthy Lifestyle

Encourage a healthy lifestyle of physical exercise, healthy eating, and proper sleep. Creating a healthy lifestyle routine for your teen helps fosters good behavior in children and teens. This includes setting regular mealtimes and bedtimes, a set time to check-in with your teen, and regular exercise. Most of all, make sure your teen gets enough sleep. Sleep deprivation can increase stress, mood swings, irritability, and can also cause problems with weight, memory, concentration, and decision-making. All teens should get between 8-10 hours of sleep. Many parents find it helpful to achieve this having teens turn in their electronics two hours before bedtime to eliminate distractions.

Limit Technology Use

Parents should not just limit technology at bedtime. The overuse of technology or screen time is unhealthy for any teen. Too much screen time can not only adversely affect your teen’s sleep, it can also lead to irritability. Parents must monitor their teen’s technology use to ensure they are not consuming violent tv shows, video games, movies, and music as they increase the likelihood of outbursts and violent behavior.

 

Do you know a teen struggling with anger management?

Click here to download the FREE “Anger in Teens” white paper today

10 Signs Your Teen’s Anger Is Out of Control

If a parent is concerned about the level of anger and defiance a teen is exhibiting, the first step is understanding what behaviors are normal for teens and which behaviors may indicate a more serious issue. If your teen is exhibiting one or more of the following behaviors, they likely have anger issues that require external help.

  1. Physical Aggression or Violence
  2. Excessive arguing with parents, teachers, and peers
  3. Regular emotional outbursts
  4. Irrational thinking and behavior
  5. Bullying
  6. Verbal threats
  7. Cruel behaviors to people or animals
  8. Criminal activity
  9. Destroying property
  10. Self-harm

Any of the above behaviors are a red flag that your teen’s anger issues require professional treatment, in addition to parental support. If your teen’s anger extends beyond normal response to outside stressors and exhibits one or more of the above behaviors, the next step is to lay a parenting plan in place and consult with his or her physician.

Do you know a teen struggling with anger management?

Click here to download the FREE “Anger in Teens” white paper today