Is your child running away? Is your child defiant, rebellious or disrespectful? Is your child angry or violent? Is your child hanging out with the wrong crowd? Do you suspect your child is using drugs or is at risk? Do you fear your child? If you answered yes to any of these questions then there is hope. Statistics show that up to 16% of children and teens in the US have treatable Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD).
The typical behavior of Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD) includes arguing with adults, losing their temper, actively defying rules and instructions, blaming others for their own mistakes, and being angry, resentful and easily annoyed. The DSM IV manual of psychological disorders describes Oppositional Defiant Behavior as a repetitive pattern of behavior in which the basic rights of others, major age-appropriate societal norms or rules are violated as manifested by three or more of the following symptoms over a 6 to 12 month period:
- Aggression to people and animals
- Destruction of property
- Deceitfulness or theft
- Serious violations of rules
Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD) usually becomes evident before age 8 years and not later than early adolescence. It is more common in families which at least one parent has a history of mood disorder, ADHD, Substance-Related Disorder and where there is serious marital discord. There are many reasons for defiance in youths; some live in poverty stricken environments, deal with physical, emotional, verbal, mental and physical abuse that causes them to react.
Sue Scheff, founder of PURE (Parents’ Universal Resource Experts) in her book Wit’s End describes the ordeal she went through with her teen aged daughter with Oppositional Defiant Disorder:
“At one point she ran away for more than two days which is one of the most frightening experiences a parent can go through; skipping school, experimenting with marijuana and alcohol, dabbling in witchcraft, irritating but harmless rebellions of fashion, grooming and choice of slang. Nothing I could do would get through to her; it must’ve seemed to her that the best way to survive was to do the opposite of everything I told her. Constant troubles at school, frequent runaways for days at a time, and ignoring curfews. The final straw landed with her level of severe emotional reaction when she found out that I had been monitoring her computer use; this ‘invasion of her privacy’ caused her to go absolutely ballistic; she came at me with a knife.”
After surfing the Internet and typing in key words, such as “teen rage,” “teen help,” “teen violence,” “teen depression,” “problem teens,” “at-risk teens,” struggling teens, etc. she found help. In Sue’s case, marital discord had triggered Ashlyn’s behavior; a divorce of her parents and then Sue got involved in a relationship that didn’t work and her daughter felt abandoned once again. Sue was able to send her Ahlyn to a Therapeutic Boarding School. The Columbus Girl’s Academy is one such residential treatment program for at risk, teenage girls with Oppositional Defiant Disorder.
Our mission is to “offer life-transformation to individuals through Christ-centered programs. The Columbus Girl’s Academy is not a boot camp where the program is more punitive than redemptive, but rather, we help parents learn how to manage their teenage daughter by taking the necessary steps for the teen to gain control of their emotions through discipline, love and responsibility. We help parents recognize that we are as much committed to the health of their child and the health of the family. Therefore we teach our parents tough love; when parents spend thousands of dollars year after year on treatment for a child and the child continues to violate and runaway, then other solutions become necessary.
The parents are taught how to respond to the child in a healthy way; “we value you, we love you, we feel this is the best treatment for you at this time but if you will not accept the help we are offering through Teen Challenge then you are not welcomed to come back home until you have completed Teen Challenge.
The Columbus Girl’s Academy operates a very structured environment where there is a balance of academics, spirituality, hard work, fun and fellowship. We have a 200 acre property with a huge lake and boating house, a swimming pool, basketball court, softball and baseball fields and a prayer trail. Our counseling sessions are geared to help the student identify the triggers of their behavior, how to control these triggers and respond instead of react to situations. Counseling is done on a one-on-one basis, group counseling and family counseling. Parents are taught how to pick their battles and not argue with the teenage daughter who is constantly in a power battle with the parents. They are encouraged to give positive feedback to their child as the situation warrants and staff and students are encouraged to affirm each other. Phrases such as “please,” “thank you,” “I believe in you,” “I am proud of you” are constantly part of the vocabulary here at Columbus Girl’s Academy.
Our residential program is administered by qualified staff who work twenty-four hours each day to promote and support the emotional well being of every student with Oppositional Defiant Disorder. We offer accredited classroom work where students are able to graduate with their high school diploma or have their credits transferred back to their school. The Columbus Girl’s Academy has a balanced combination of academics, spirituality, athletics, therapy, social and life skills.