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It can be one of the most difficult decisions a parent can make.  You have a teenager that was always a good teen, used to bring home excellent grades, always participated in family functions, maybe was involved in sports or other extra curricular activities such as dance or cheer leading, and slowly is losing interest in the things they used to love.

Their behavior has become defiant, disrespectful, rude, underachieving,  lack motivation, withdrawn, secretive and before you know it – you feel like you don’t even recognize your own child.  Some parents have even said they feel like they become hostage in their own home to this behavior.

Maybe you suspect they are using drugs or drinking?  Maybe they have changed their peer group? Maybe they are experiencing something online that needs to be addressed?

Trying to get your teen to open up their lines of  communication is key to helping you determine where this negative behavior is stemming from.  If they are still shutting you down, sometimes they will be more open with an objective person like a relative, close friend or finally you may have to try an adolescent therapist.

After exhausting your local resources and you find your teenager is still spiraling into a dark hole, you may reach a point that they need residential therapy – teen help programs.  Teen Help Programs are much different than having one-on-one therapy at home.  They revolve around your child’s emotional growth in all their activities and they will be with peers that are struggling with the same issues.  It helps them to know they are not alone in whatever they are going through with their same peer group.

However deciding on a Teen Help Program,  (therapeutic boarding school) can be a major financial and emotional decision.  If you have PPO insurance, this can help you a bit.  The next step is taking your time and doing your due diligence.  There are many good programs in our country, but don’t get caught in the trap that you need the one closest to your home.  This is a mistake many parents make.  You have to select on that best fits your child’s needs.

EquineTherapyWe explain to parents that keeping in mind that you have to look at three (3) points which we call the A.C.E. factor, when searching for the right Teen Help Program for your troubled teen:

A – Academics (Be sure the program is accredited with their education. Another words, double check to be sure when they come home your schools accepts their transcripts).

C – Clinical (Especially if you have PPO insurance, be sure the therapist are credentialed and they will give you invoices for their clinical hours – this usually includes peer support groups depending on your policy –  so you can file it with your insurance if they don’t file for you.  There are only a small number of programs that will file for you. Again, PPO is usually the only insurance that has paid for a portion of residential, and that is only if you have already tried local therapy. This is in accordance to your policy.  We are not insurance specialists.   If you don’t have insurance, you want to be sure they have a solid clinical component to their program since it is likely you will be paying for it.  Check the credentials of the therapists).

E – Enrichment Programs (So many parents overlook this and it is so important.  Enrichment programs are what will stimulate your teen to recovery.  Enrichment programs can be sports, animal assisted programs, music therapy, art therapy – anything that engages your teen’s interest in a positive way).

Troubled teens can drive you to your wit’s end, but it’s not the end of the world.  You are not alone and there is help.

Takeaway tip we often give parents:  If you feel your teenager is about to be asked to leave their school (expelled), talk to the school and tell them that you would like to  withdraw them immediately.  This way the expulsion won’t be on their academic record.

If you would like more information on Teen Help Programs (therapeutic boarding schools or residential treatment centers) please contact us.  It’s best to be an educated parent, be prepared before you are placed in a situation that you need placement within 24-hours.

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P.U.R.E. does not provide legal advice and does not have an attorney on staff.
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