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Good Kids Making Bad Choices: Is it Spoiled Rotten Brat Syndrome?

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Post Newtown tragedy and we as a society not only mourn the loss of precious lives, we are debating what we can do from to prevent this from happening again.

The conversation of gun control and mental health will continue for a long time.

As someone that works with parents of struggling teenagers, I am faced on a weekly basis with families that are at their wit's end. They have exhausted all their local resources, the therapy sessions are going nowhere (if you can get your child to attend), the school has usually reached their limit with the student, and in some cases the local authorities are now involved.

After the tragedy in Newtown we heard from parents all over the country that feel like their teenagers are holding them hostage in their own homes. They will punch holes in walls, they will scream at their parents, the level of disrespect today is at an all time high. Sadly, though we are only hearing about this in the media following this horrific incident, this teen behavior has been going on for years.

Some of these homes consist of only one parent or both parents are working leaving less supervision and guidance at home. Gone are the days when kids came home to at least one parent. Is this part of the problem of today's society? I am not convinced of that. In my opinion it could be one of the excuses.

Kids today lack the respect that generations prior were born and raised with. Gone are the days when a parent told a child to be home at 10:00pm and they were actually home at 10:00pm without question. Today the teen will argue that every other kid has a curfew of 2:00am and that is when he/she will be home whether we like it or not.

Yes, that is the way many parents are living today - at the mercy of their teenager. I am sure some of you are recognizing your child here.

When a teen has escalated to a point that they are now controlling your home, failing in school, using drugs, hanging with the less than desirable peer group (which by the way they have become themselves), and you have determined this is more than typical teenage behavior - it may be time to seek residential therapy. These are typically good kids making bad choices. Some may label them spoiled rotten brat syndrome.

Residential therapy is sometimes mistaken for mental illness. Though there are residential treatment centers that help the mentally challenged, I am discussing residential therapy that is aimed at building a child back up to making the better choices, teaching them self-respect and respect for others, continuing their education (underachievers) and offering enrichment programs.


Many of these teens are spoiled brats. The problem; entitlement issues. Many parents today are guilty of over-indulging our kids and the results are coming back to us during the puberty years - in spades. The sweet angel of a toddler we once had is now a troubled teenager that is driving us mad. We literally don't recognize the person they have turned into. From sneaking out of the house, to dropping out of their favorite sport - that once happy-go-lucky child has gone missing. It is a parent's responsibility to find them again. It is not about shipping them off, it is about giving them a second chance at a bright future. Sometimes that does involve removing them from their comfort zone; their environment.

Researching for residential therapy can be daunting. The sticker shock of the price to get your child help can leave you feeling completely helpless and hopeless.

Don't allow this to happen. Yes, residential therapy can be costly, however there are some that accept insurances and there are others that work with parents in accordance to their income. You need to do your homework, there is help out there. Don't be a parent in denial, be proactive - it is our responsibility as a parent to get our child the help they may need.

As far as private residential programs for teen help, even though they can be a bit more expensive, don't assume anything. You need to do your due diligence and research. Visit www.helpyourteens.com for a list of tips and questions to ask schools and programs. Being an educated parent helps you to find the best program for your individual child. Learn more in Wit's End! Advice and Resources for Saving Your Out-of-Control Teen (HCI).

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