Making Changes

About the Program:

Adolescence is a major developmental transitional period; during this period, teens are experiencing the pull of independence while simultaneously still depending on their parents for guidance, support, and structure. Also, teens are experiencing many hormonal changes that affect their mood, attitude, feelings, and thinking. On top of these developmental transitions, the teen’s brain is still under-construction—meaning it is not fully developed to think and reason and manage emotions like an adult.

These and many more factors converge to make the teen years sometimes volatile years. Research indicates that about 75% of all anger and abuse is directed at family members. Teens can be especially angry toward their parents and sometimes to their siblings. This abusive behavior can lead parents to file court proceedings for an unruly child or to seek counseling to help their child to stop the abusive behaviors.

The purpose of Making Changes is to help teens who are abusive in their families to move from abuse to respect in their relationship with family members. The program is based on a cognitive-behavioral approach to help teens stop the use of violent and abusive behaviors and teaches nonviolent, respectful ways of communicating and resolving conflict with family members. The program also includes sessions for parent where parents learn how to respond to violence in the home, get support from other parents and gain new skills for parenting teenagers.

The focus of Making Changes is twofold: to address the issues of teens as initiators of violence in their homes and to address the needs of parents who have been the targets of violence and abuse. In most cases, the teens and parents continue to live together and continue to have regular contact with each other. Making Changes addresses the needs of both teens and parents by having them participate together during some group session times and by having them separate into teen and parent groups during other times.

The purpose of the combined parent/teen groups is to teach interaction skills, such as mutual respect, communication skills, problem solving and taking Time-Outs.

Treating adolescent violence against parents and siblings is both prevention and intervention. The Making Changes program can help teens stop the use of violent behaviors in the home where family members have a right to feel safe and protected from harm. Providing intervention to teens that use violence in the home also prevents family violence in future relationships with intimate partners.

Objectives:

Upon completion of the program, the teen will be able to:

  • Be accountable for your behavior. This means you can talk about your abusive or violent behavior without denying, justifying, or minimizing it, or blaming others.
  • Understand the effects of your behavior on others and on yourself.
  • Know how to actively take responsibility for your behavior when you have been abusive and violent.
  • Know when to take a time-out from a heated situation.
  • Understand the difference between abusive communication and respectful communication.
  • Know how to use respectful communication, even when you are upset or angry.
  • Know how to resolve conflict without abuse or violence.
  • Understand that you have choices about your behavior and are able to choose to stay nonviolent.

Sessions

  • Session 1: Why teens do what they do?
    • Introductions
    • Understanding the teens brain=It is still under construction
  • Session 2: Taking responsibility for my behavior
  • Session 3: Family Reunion-Exploring relationships in your family
  • Session 4: Family Violence=Family members hurting family members
  • Session 5: Understanding Anger=Warning—Warning
  • Session 6: Power and Control in Families
  • Session 7: I Am Accountable
  • Session 8: Why Do I Feel This Way? Understanding Feelings
  • Session 9: What Do I Say When I Talk To Myself? Understanding Self-Talk
  • Session 10: The Power of Choice (Hurtful or Helpful)
  • Session 11: Healing the Hurt My Making Amends
  • Session 12: Respond-ability-Thinking for a change
  • Session 13: Improving My Communication Skills
  • Session 14: Problem-Solving for Teens and Parents
  • Session 15: Making Changes

Who Should Attend?

  • Parents who have teens who are abusive or disrespectful at home.
  • Teens that are abusive and violent toward parents and siblings.
  • Teens that are in the juvenile justice system because of unruly behaviors.
  • Teens that have anger problems with family members.

How The Program Works:

Assessment and Screening:

Teens and parents attend an assessment interview prior to beginning the Making Changes program. Teens and parents are interviewed to learn about the teen's use of violence, and obtain a social, mental health, substance abuse and family history. The parent and teen are interviewed separately so that both feel safe about disclosing information.

Group Sessions:

Teens and Parents will participate in group sessions to build more effective and respectful relationships. Teens will learn how to stop the abuse and violent at home and demonstrate accountability and responsibility for their words and behaviors.

Teens will participate in 15 sessions of 1 hour each. Parents will attend as requested by the facilitator.

For more information about registration and participation, contact Gary K. Byrd at 404-523-6074.