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Treatment Programs and Centers For Teens Struggling With Manipulative Behaviors

Treatment Programs for Teenagers with Manipulative Behaviors

How Does Trails Carolina Help Teens with Manipulative Behaviors?

Trails Carolina is a holistic and innovative treatment center for teens with manipulative behavior disorders. We approach treatment in a safe and healthy environment. We believe that building trust and relationships are crucial for the treatment of your teen.

Teens have plenty of reasons to manipulate their parents. They do it to garner love and attention, to cover misdoings, to get what they want, and to feel powerful.

Our therapeutic approach is based around wilderness therapy. By taking your teen out of their regular negative environments and placing them in nature, it allows all damaging outside distractions to fall away. Trails Carolina also offers treatment through education, various therapies, family and peer support, and life skills. We also know that mood disorders can co-exist with manipulative behaviors, so we also focus on treating the underlying causes with our trained professional staff of therapists.

What are the Causes of Teenage Manipulative Behaviors?

Teens typically manipulate their parents, and they are successful at it because their caregivers allow the behavior to continue. Manipulative behavior comes from a place of frustration, desire for power, lying, and high emotions. 

These manipulative teens typically have a goal in mind that causes them to need control within a specific situation. Reasons for why a teen is displaying manipulative behavior can include an effort to receive more love and attention, to avoid punishment, and ultimately to get something they want.

Adolescence is a time when getting freedom from parents becomes increasingly important, manipulation of parental authority through lying, pretense, and pressuring becomes more common. Because teens so desire that freedom, they engage in manipulative behavior to get what they want.

Academic workload, peer pressure, friendships, relationships, activities, body changes, and self-esteem are all heightened. At this time in their life, your teen may also be dealing with mood disorders such as anxiety and depression. Because they want to explore and engage in whatever behaviors they want, they use manipulation as a negative tool against their parents.

The particular emotions exploited vary according to the emotional susceptibility of the parents, but the objective is always the same- to get parents to give in or change their mind.

Equine Relational Programming Programming Helps Teens Struggling With Manipulative Behaviors

At Trails Carolina, our equine relational programming program is based in a relationship and neurological approach.  Students have the opportunity to experience being in a connected, attuned relationship with a horse. They learn the principles of pressure and release, to request change, within a safe relationship.  This causes the horse or student to create connections in their own brain that will help them to remain calm and think, in stressful situations.  

Students learn that when things within their relationship get difficult the first thing to do is to regulate themselves and/or help others regulate. They learn think and respond instead of reacting emotionally.  This will strengthen our relationships rather than damage them.  A healthy relationship is always the goal of this programming.  

Trails Equine Unmounted Program is unique in that all our horses either come from a rescue, have little or no training or are here due to emotional behavioral issues.  Like our students, our horses live at Trails. They are at Trails until they are able to have good relationships with people and can stay calm and think in stressful situations. They then go on for advanced training, up for adoption or return to their owner.  The relatability of the horses to the students is very powerful. They see the changes in the horses due to the relationship work they are doing with them. All the principals we use with our horses are easily transferred to relationship with self and others.

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Treatments for Teenage Manipulative Behavior

Trails Carolina offers a family-based therapeutic approach for the treatment of teens with manipulative behaviors. Our professionally trained staff will assess your teen and provide options for various forms of therapy. Term State

Our main source of therapy is wilderness therapy. Your teen will experience nature and learn skill building in a positive and holistic environment. Not only that, but your teen will learn to work with others to accomplish wilderness tasks. Our program helps teens with manipulative behaviors learn to let go of their anger and fear. When they develop trust and relationships with others, they can learn positive coping mechanisms instead of turning toward manipulation. Trails Carolina will teach your teen how to feel confident, and also make them aware that their manipulative behavior will no longer be tolerated.

Family therapy is extremely helpful, and we bring all members of the family together to resolve issues of manipulative behavior. We teach parents and children alike the appropriate ways to respond to manipulation.

What are signs of manipulative behaviors in teens?

Symptoms of Teenage Manipulative Behavior include:

  • Making a parent feel guilty
  • Turning one parent against the other
  • Playing the victim
  • Attention seeking
  • Using others to get what they want
  • Strategically lying
  • Shutting down emotionally
  • Retaliation
  • Anger
  • Criticism
  • Suffering
  • Helplessness
  • Apathy
  • Explosive behavior
  • Strained relationships with parents, peers, and teachers

Learn how we can help your child succeed

Family Programming at Trails

Trails Carolina Wilderness Therapy provides an evidence-based therapeutic approach to young people ages 10-17. Located in Western North Carolina, Trails Carolina is surrounded by the majestic Blue Ridge Mountains. 

One aspect of our programming that we believe to be one of the most important is our family programming.

At Trails, we believe that lasting change can only occur if the entire family is on board throughout the therapeutic process. Our family programming includes:

  • Weekly calls with the entire family: Every week, a student and their family will meet over the phone, mediated by the student’s Primary Therapist. During these calls, the family will address specific challenges and discuss areas for continued growth and progress.
  • Trails Family Calls: Every week, we offer parents  the opportunity to speak with other Trails Carolina families who are in similar stages within the program. Through these sessions, families can feel less isolated and alone during the process.
  • Parent Workshop: After your child has attended the program for several weeks, we invite parents to a parent workshop where they are able to experience wilderness therapy and gain skills to build a stronger, closer family system. After the workshop is completed, parents speak with a new set of Trails parents on the weekly Family Calls. This offers a new level of support.
  • Common Ground: Common Ground is an optional 5-day extended program which takes place at the end of a student’s time in our program. This program offers the same skills and training taught throughout wilderness therapy to the entire family. Every member of the family attends equine relational programming sessions, as well as other aspects of the program.

Learn more about family programming at Trails Carolina here.

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National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI): NAMI is the nation’s  largest grassroots organization in America focused on spreading awareness and education about mental health issues. This organization works within communities to provide support to families and individuals who struggle with mental illness. By spreading public awareness of mental illness through events and activities, NAMI helps fight stigma and encourage understanding of mental health issues.

Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA): ADAA is a nonprofit organization which works towards preventing and treating anxiety, depression, and challenges that emerge from those mental health issues. Their goal is to spread information and awareness about anxiety disorders and depression through research and education. Their website provides resources for individuals seeking help for mental health challenges.



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