What to do at home with teenagers presenting a difficult negativistic disorder?

Difficult Negative Disorder is a relatively common psychological disorder among minors and, in addition to causing them discomfort, it also has a significant impact on the quality of life of the whole family.

Fortunately, there are strategies that help to correct this type of behavior, and while it is necessary to have the help of psychologists to treat these cases, there is also a lot that can be done in this direction from home. Therefore, in this article, we will review some tips for parents of teens with difficult negativistic disorder.

What is Difficult Negativistic Disorder?

As its name suggests, Difficult Negativistic Disorder (DND) is a disorder related to the behavior of breaking with social norms and the tendency to refuse to cooperate or collaborate with others, and get carried away easily, adopting hostile attitudes. It is diagnosed in children and adolescents and, if not treated in therapy, usually triggers more serious psychological disorders.

Of course, in provocative negativistic disorder, the symptoms are not as extreme as those that characterize behavioral disorder (formerly called dissocial disorder), since in the latter if physical violence is very present, the destruction of the property of others and theft.

Between Distinctive Symptoms and Behavioral Patterns of Difficult Negativistic Disorder the following stand out.

  • Disruptive behaviors happen very often.
  • The person has a high degree of irritability and loses patience “to a minimum”.
  • There is a predisposition to harbor resentment and seek revenge for real or imagined grievances.
  • The person tends to annoy others just for fun.
  • The person’s behavior reflects that they never respect rules or authority figures.
  • There is a tendency to verbally attack others, although it is not uncommon for physical attacks to occur.
  • The person rejects any initiative involving cooperation.

Additionally, difficult negative disorder often occurs with other mental disorders, particularly attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, with which there is high comorbidity. Specifically, although It is estimated that about 3% of boys and girls develop a difficult negative disorder, among people with ADHD, this percentage rises to 30%.

What to do when living and raising a teenager with TND?

Here are some tips and tricks for parents of teens with difficult negativity disorder.

1. Convince him of the practicalities of therapy

First of all, it is important to do your best to undergo psychotherapy, because in this context, it will be possible for you to adopt other behaviors. go beyond alleviating the most extreme symptoms which proposes the use of certain psychotropic drugs (under medical prescription). In doing so, it is advisable not to do so from arguments based on morality, as this can put you on the defensive feeling that we want you to “fit” into a series of roles related to “this which is right”. Focus instead on the practical consequences of consulting a psychologist on a daily basis.

2. Set clear boundaries at home and away

Make these boundaries the ground rules you must follow, few and far between, so always keep them in mind. Moreover, it clarifies from the beginning what the consequences are of breaking the rules: that you withdraw your help or cooperation in aspects of your life that you took for granted (for example, decreasing your weekly salary). It is important that the punishments are not too extreme so that your priority is not to break everything because of the anger that the situation causes you, and that you continue to have an interest in not exceeding these limits.

And, on the other hand, never make exceptions to respecting these rules and lead by example.

3. Make the rules not just an imposition

It is important that the adolescent does not perceive periods as something to wear, but as something that also brings you good things. For example, the rule system applies to the whole family, so they know what to expect from others and are confident that they will not act in a way that is detrimental to them. In other words, you have to show this system of rules as a general margin that applies to several people at the same time.

4. Praise you for your progress in therapy

Acknowledging and appreciating your progress out loud is even more important than punishing bad behavior. Also, don’t just show your satisfaction with your progress; see how proudly you speak of him in front of others.

Are you looking for professional psychological help?

If you want professional psychological support, contact me.

My name is Tomas Santa CeciliaI am a psychologist specializing in the cognitive-behavioral model and I work for adults, adolescents and families, either in person in my office located in Madrid or online via video call.

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