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Are You Running Out Of Options for Your Troubled Teen?

Posted by Sue Scheff on January 15, 2021  /   Posted in Featured Article, Teen Help

How do you know when you need a teen help programs for your teen?

Are you running out of options for your struggling teen?

Many parents are extremely concerned today about their teen’s today. We are witnessing higher rates of depression, stress, anxiety, self-harm and sadly — suicide ideation among our young people.

If you’re one of these parents, you are certainly not alone.

Are you experiencing the following:

  • Poor grades even though they are intelligent
  • Disengaged and apathetic about school, skipping classes, truancy
  • Anger or rage (explosive) at home – but seems to handle it okay in other settings
  • Low work ethic
  • Authority issues
  • Poor decision making
  • Abuse of technology – (Video game addiction, porn use, screen addiction)
  • Psychiatric Struggles – Depression, ADD, ADHD, Anxiety, Mood disorders, Oppositional Defiance Disorder (ODD)
  • Poor social skills
  • Low self-image and self-worth
  • Entitled attitude – feels they deserves or are “owed” stuff but not willing to put in the effort
  • Substance abuse, vaping
  • Self-harm, suicide ideation
  • Running away, sneaking out
  • Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD)
  • Family conflict, withdrawing from family
  • Dropping out of their favorite activities (sports, dance, cheerleading)
  • Conduct disorder
  • Shoplifting, stealing (usually from parents)
  • Legal issues

Have you tried these things to help:

  • Switching schools, moving
  • School counselors, therapists
  • Taking away technology, removing cell-phones
  • Lectures, pleading
  • Tutors
  • Mentors, teen coaches
  • Short-term in-patient or out-patient services
  • Living with a relative

There are few things more frustrating than trying to help someone who doesn’t want help. They don’t see any reason to change their behavior because it isn’t causing enough pain and frustration now.

But if they don’t get help. . . then they are going to experience a very challenging life.  They are unlikely to complete high-school let alone be able to obtain and hold a job.  It is unlikely that they will have the opportunities that you want for them.  They will struggle.

They needs more help than you can offer. . . but it isn’t too late.

Residential therapy can be extremely beneficial where local resources have failed.

Removing your teen from the influences of negative peer groups or sometimes even family conflict can help them reflect more on what is creating their negative behavior.

These programs (therapeutic boarding schools/residential treatment centers) continue with your son’s education, have therapists to work on your son’s emotional wellbeing to help him develop coping and communication skills as well as building motivation and setting goals for his (now) bright future.

This is a major emotional and financial decision that shouldn’t be taken lightly. It’s why we help educate parents on schools and programs that would best fit their individual teen’s needs. We know how confusing the internet can be — and you don’t want to make a rash decision while you’re in crisis. Learn from our mistakes, gain from our knowledge. Read more about the founders story.

Contact us today for a free consultant about teen help programs.

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Is Your Struggling With Depression, Anxiety or Sadness?

Posted by Sue Scheff on December 31, 2020  /   Posted in Featured Article

Teen Depression, Anxiety and Sadness

It’s been a challenging time since the COVID-19 pandemic. We’ve seen a rise in teen depression, anxiety, stress and worse — self-harm and suicide ideation.

Parents are dealing with teen defiance that is amplified more than ever. Remote learning has been anything but easy for most teenagers.

Today teenager’s not only have the stress of schoolwork and peer pressure, they are concerned about their social media presence. If you doubt this is an issue, you are fooling yourself. Statistics have proven that teens rely on their virtual reality for many feelings of acceptance. This is why it is critical for parents to continue to have offline discussions about online reality.

FOMO (fear of missing out) is very real for these kids today. Even some adults have this fear. You have to look far and wide to walk down the street to find someone without their cell phone in their hand.

What are some of the warnings signs that your teen could be struggling with depression or anxiety?

  • Apathy
  • Complaints of pains, including headaches, stomachaches, low back pain, or fatigue
  • Sleeping a lot
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Difficulty making decisions
  • Excessive or inappropriate guilt
  • Irresponsible behavior — for example, forgetting obligations, being late for classes, skipping school
  • Loss of interest in food or compulsive overeating that results in rapid weight loss or gain
  • Memory loss
  • Preoccupation with death and dying
  • Rebellious behavior, defiance (more than normal)
  • Sadness, anxiety, or a feeling of hopelessness
  • Staying awake at night and sleeping during the day
  • Sudden drop in grades (underachieving)
  • Use of alcohol or drugs and promiscuous sexual activity
  • Withdrawal from friends and family
  • Withdrawal from activities they  used to love

canstockphoto19322711Teen Anxiety

The lesser known relative of depression, anxiety, afflicts people of all ages and can be especially detrimental for teenagers. It is completely normal and even common for individuals to experience anxiety, particularly during stressful periods, such as before a test or important date (think Prom). For many, this is beneficial, serving as motivation to study hard and perform well; however, for many, anxiety goes beyond standard high-stress periods. While occasional stress is nothing to worry about and can even be healthy, many people experience anxiety on an ongoing basis. People, especially teenagers, who suffer from anxiety disorders, find that their daily life can be interrupted by the intense, often long-lasting fear or worry.

Anxiety disorders are not fatal; however, they can severely interfere with an individual’s ability to function normally on a daily basis. The intense feelings of fear and worry often lead to a lack of sleep as it makes it very difficult for people to fall asleep. Those with anxiety disorders also commonly suffer from physical manifestations of the anxiety.

The anxiety can cause headaches, stomach aches, and even vomiting. In addition stress can cause individuals to lose their appetite or have trouble eating. One of the more difficult aspects for students to deal with is difficulty concentrating.

When one is consumed with worry, his or her mind continuously considers the worrisome thoughts, making it considerably harder for teenagers to concentrate on school work and other mentally intensive tasks. These affects of anxiety can make it difficult for teenagers to simply get through the day, let alone enjoy life and relax.

While there seems to be no single cause of anxiety disorders, it is clear that they can run in a family. The fact that anxiety disorders can run in families indicates that there may be a genetic or hereditary connection. Because a family member may suffer from an anxiety disorder does not necessarily mean that you will. However, individuals who have family members with this disorder are far more likely to develop it.

Within the brain, neurotransmitters help to regulate mood, so an imbalance in the level of specific neurotransmitters can cause a change in mood. It is this imbalance in a neurotransmitter called serotonin that leads to anxiety. Interestingly, an imbalance of serotonin in the brain is directly related to depression.

For this reason, SSRI medications, more commonly referred to as anti-depressants, are often used to help treat an anxiety disorder. Medication can provide significant relief for those suffering from anxiety disorders; however, it is often not the most efficient form of treatment.

In addition to medication, treatments for anxiety disorders include cognitive-behavioral therapy, other types of talk therapy, and relaxation and biofeedback to control muscle tension. Talk therapy can be the most effective treatment for teenagers, as they discuss their feelings and issues with a mental health professional.

Many teens find it incredibly helpful to simply talk about the stress and anxiety that they feel. Additionally, in a specific kind of talk therapy called cognitive-behavioral therapy teens actively “unlearn” some of their fear. This treatment teaches individuals a new way to approach fear and anxiety and how to deal with the feelings that they experience.

Many people attempt to medicate themselves when they suffer from stress or anxiety. While individuals find different ways to deal with the intense worry that they may experience, self medication can be very detrimental to their body.

It is not uncommon for people who suffer from anxiety disorders to turn to alcohol or drugs to relieve the anxiety. While this may provide a temporary fix for the afflicted, in the long run it is harmful. By relying on these methods, individuals do not learn how to deal with the anxiety naturally. Reliance on other substances can also lead to alcohol or drug abuse, which can be an especially significant problem if it is developed during the teen years.

Statistics on teen anxiety show that anxiety disorders are the most common form of mental disorders among adolescents:

  • 8-10 percent of adolescents suffer from an anxiety disorder
  • Symptoms of an anxiety disorder include: anger, depression, fatigue, extreme mood swings, substance abuse, secretive behavior, changes in sleeping and eating habits, bad hygiene or meticulous attention to, compulsive or obsessive behavior
  • One in eight adult Americans suffer from an anxiety disorder totaling 19 million people
  • Research conducted by the National Institute of Mental Health has shown that anxiety disorders are the number one mental health problem among American women and are second only to alcohol and drug abuse among men
  • Anxiety sufferers see an average of five doctors before being successfully diagnosed

Source: WedMD.com

Teen depression and anxiety is treatable. It’s imperative you seek help for your child. As many parents know, sometimes your teenager can be stubborn and refuse to get help. It’s a parent’s responsibility to do what is best for them.

Finding the best therapist that specialize with adolescent’s and connects with your son or daughter may take a few tries. Sometimes outpatient therapy works and typically finding a good peer support group is always beneficial.

If you come to a point where you have exhausted all of your local resources and you find your teen is still hitting rock bottom in darkness, you may want to consider residential therapy. This gives them a second opportunity at a bright future. It doesn’t say you or they are failures – opens up many doors for them.

They will be with others that feel the same feelings they do – they are not alone. It’s not any different when adults have feelings of sadness and want to talk to people that feel the same way – they can bring each other through their difficult times. Contact us for more information.

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RESET: Summer Digital Detox Program for Teens

Posted by Sue Scheff on December 28, 2020  /   Posted in Digital Parenting, Featured Article, Mental Health, Summer Camps, Teen Help

RESET SUMMER CAMP

Serious Help for Technology Addiction

Looking for a summer digital detox program that is both affordable and effective?

Welcome to Reset.

Digital Addiction

Today we are facing a time when teen depression is on the rise. Young people are struggling with anxiety, stress and overwhelmed by peer pressure. They are isolating themselves – completely immersed in their screens without considering their emotional or physical health.

Symptoms:

-An obsession with being online
-Frustration, anxiety, and irritability when not able to get online
-Abandoning friends or hobbies in order to stay digitally connected
-Continuing to spend time online even after negative repercussions (such as failing grades, deteriorating relationships, and even health issues)

Getting Help

Reset Summer Camp offers a fully immersive, clinical program hosted on a university campus, providing a fun-filled summer camp atmosphere. Participants are able to detox from their screen addiction and learn how to self-regulate, as they participate in individual and group therapy.

Life Skills

The Life Skills program cultivates responsibility and builds self-confidence, so campers will be prepared to handle their real-world obligations. Everything from healthy meal-prep and laundry skills to basic vehicle upkeep and a healthy sleep schedule.

Therapeutic Setting

Their staff includes experienced youth-development professionals, clinical interns, registered nurses, and private-practice mental health PhDs who work daily with those suffering from problematic use of technology, including gaming addiction and other unhealthy screen-time habits.

With 4-weeks of intensive therapeutic intervention, a full Family Workshop weekend and 12-weeks of individual follow-up with every camper, Reset Summer Camp stands alone as the leader in summer digital detox programs.

Aftercare

Reset Summer Camp isn’t done when your teen goes home. What sets them apart from others is their therapeutic after-care. Counselors will be available to help you, your teen and your family find a healthy relationship at home with technology.

Dates and rates

Click here.

RESET also offers kid sessions (8-12 year-old) at their Santa Barbara location for two weeks.

Contact RESET at 1-775-771-3171 to learn more or email at info@resetsummercamp.com and visit them on Facebook.

Apply now.

As featured on the Today Show:

P.U.R.E. is not compensated by RESET Summer Camp.

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Should I Read My Teen’s Text Messages?

Posted by Sue Scheff on December 19, 2020  /   Posted in Featured Article

When should parents snoop rather than monitor their teen’s online behavior?

This has been a debate for years and the answer comes back to when safety trumps privacy.

Especially now as technology is in the hands of every teens and many tweens, as well as COVID has locked us online more than ever — parents need to be in tune with how are teens are dealing with peer pressure, friendships and most of all, digital school life.

Teenagers earn their trust with their parents. Respecting each others privacy should always be priority, however if you fear your teenager is heading down a dark path, and is not willing to talk to you or a third party (therapist, guidance counselor, relative or adult friend), you may have to cross the line of trust.

Warning signs it might be time to investigate:

  • Is your teen becoming very secretive? Sure, teens do like their privacy, however if you have a “gut feeling” something is deeper than a secret, you may have to cross that line. There is nothing stronger than a parents intuition.
  • Is your teen becoming withdrawn? Again, teens will develop some attitudes of not wanting to be with adults, however when it becomes extreme, it may be time to cross that line. The pandemic has caused a rise in stress, anxiety and defiance in many teenagers. Parents are struggling to keep up with the challenging behavioral changes.
  • Is your teen changing peer groups? Are they hanging with a less than desirable group of friends, even virtually? Have they started joining risky chatrooms? Possibly meeting strangers? Sneaking out?
  • Is your teens eating habits changing? Eating more or less? Binging? Especially during this pandemic, families need to try to have meal times several times a week.
  • Is their sleeping patterns changing? Is your teen sleeping a lot? Bloodshot eyes? Do you suspect drug use?
  • Is your teen sneaking out? Becoming extremely defiant? Not respecting your boundaries or house rules?
  • Overall, is your teen slowly becoming a child you don’t recognize?
  • Are you snooping or are you legitimately monitoring your teens?

Should you read your teen’s diary? Scroll through their text messages or even befriend them on their social networking sites? That is a personal question only you can answer.

Remember writing can be very healthy for teens (and adults for that matter), so if your teen isn’t giving you any valid reasons to “invade their privacy” – respect it.

When safety trumps privacy –is the time to pry – but every day you should be monitoring your child’s online activity – it’s called parenting.

The latest trend with online behavior that have many parents concerned, is their teen’s that are meeting unsavory people online and attempting to meet-up offline. Or their teen is spending an enormous amount of time on sexual sites (porn) or possibly engaging in sexual activities online (such as sending sext messages) to people they don’t know.

This is exactly when safety trumps privacy. If you’ve exhausted your local resources and the behavior is not ending, it might be time to consider the next step. Residential therapy can be an option to steer your teen down a healthy path.

Be an educated parent, you will have safer teens.

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Study: How COVID Is Impacting Teen’s Mental Health

Posted by Sue Scheff on October 07, 2020  /   Posted in Featured Article

Parenting Teens During Challenging Times

Many of us won’t dispute, 2020 has been a difficult year. The pressures that the ongoing pandemic have placed on all of us have been challenging, especially for students who have had to adapt to online learning overnight.

During this uncertain time, it’s not only school that have our youth concerned. The rise of mental health issues among children and teens since the beginning of the pandemic have many parents and health professionals worried.

According to a study in the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (JAACAP) we are now seeing children and adolescents with higher rates of depression and anxiety resulting from the required isolation and loneliness of COVID-19.

The latest findings in a new survey released by ParentsTogether, of hundreds of kids and parents are very troubling.

The majority of kids, 70 percent reported feeling sad, overwhelmed and worried — while nearly half the parents (44 percent) are saying that their kid’s are struggling with mental wellness since the pandemic started.

Although almost half (47 percent) are worried about their child’s mental health, 45 percent are experiencing more challenging behavior from their kids since the pandemic.

In another study from the National 4-H Council, it concurred that the pandemic is having a great impact on teen’s mental wellness.

Some of the key findings:

  • 81% of teens say mental health is a significant issue for young people in the U.S., and 64% of teens believe that the experience of COVID-19 will have a lasting impact on their generation’s mental health.
  • In this stressful climate, 7 in 10 teens have experienced struggles with mental health.
  • 55% of teens say they’ve experienced anxiety, 45% excessive stress,  and 43% depression.
  • 61% of teens said that COVID-19 pandemic has increased their feeling of loneliness.
  • Teens today report spending 75% of their waking hours on screens during COVID-19.
  • 82% of teens calling on America to talk more openly and honestly about mental health issues in this country.
  • 79% of teens surveyed wish there was an inclusive environment or safe space for people in school to talk about mental health.

Rise of teen defiance

There’s no shortage of parents crying out for help. If you were struggling with your teenage prior the pandemic, chances are you are at your wit’s end now. From social distancing to wearing masks, teens are not making life easy for parents.

As an Educational Consultant for 20 years I’ve helped families of struggling teens. In the past 6 months the numbers have spiked of moms and dads are walking on eggshells with their teenagers. Defiance, rage, depression, anxiety, rebellious – teens that runaway for days only to come back and put their family at risk of COVID.

Some recent comments from parents over the past several months have been:

  • His poor emotional regulation has gotten worse since Covid-19 and he is now depressed feeling like nothing ever works out for him. – parent of 16 year-old boy
  • He has been stealing repeatedly and it has only gotten worse with lying as well during COVID. – parent of 15 year-old boy
  • Depression and lack of motivation due to COVID pandemic. – parent of 18 year-old boy
  • With COVID she’s acting out aggressively, defiant and always seems depressed. – parent of a 14 year old girl

Sharing this information is to help parents understand, they are not alone.

Helping teens emotionally handle these trying times

Everyone is suffering during this pandemic on some level. The ParentsTogether survey concluded that families that made $50,000 a year or less, their children were twice as likely to struggle with anger issues, sadness, loneliness and fear.

Rich or poor, parents are equally concerned about their child’s mental wellness – and searching for answers.

Michele Borba, PH.D., educational psychologist, created a series on Helping Kids and Teens Thrive in Uncertain Times, during this pandemic to educate parents on understanding the emotions their children and teens are facing.

“The pandemic has added stress to how teens are feeling. They were already stressed before COVID-19, now it has just doubled because of their concerns and worries for the future,” said Dr. Borba, “A change in behavior, such as acting out, defiance and tantrums can all be signs your teen or child emotionally is suffering,” she continues.

Teenagers are particularly vulnerable to depression and other mental health challenges. If you suspect your child is suffering from depression, ask your family doctor or pediatrician to provide you with a referral to an appropriate mental health professional. “No one knows your child or teen better than you. If you suspect something is wrong, chances are you’re right,” says Borba.

3 Ways to improve teen wellness:

  1. Exercise: Download a yoga app or exercise with your friends (virtually).
  2. Music: Listening to certain music is the 2nd popular answer to what teen’s said helped them cope with the stress and worry of the pandemic.
  3. Journal: Writing is very therapeutic and helping young people express their emotions.

If you have exhausted your local resources, learn more about residential therapy to find out if it could help your teen. Contact us today.

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Smart Teens Stuck from Anxiety

Posted by Sue Scheff on September 26, 2020  /   Posted in Featured Article, Teen Help

Is your teen struggling with anxiety?

It’s no secret, 2020 has been tough to get through. The pressures that the ongoing pandemic have placed on all of us have been challenging, especially for students who have had to adapt to online learning overnight. If you’re a student in this strange time, it can be extremely difficult to find the motivation to get up and tune in to class while the world is in a moment of crisis.

While the pandemic continues, it’s important to prioritize your mental health in tandem with your daily tasks. And even when school does return to an in-person setting, you want to maintain a robust practice of keeping your psychological and emotional wellbeing in check.

So how can you stay on top of your anxiety when studies are too demanding or overwhelming? We’ve got some tips to help you get through this difficult time with a list of activities and practices to check in with yourself.

Here’s some ways students can mitigate the effects of anxiety:

1. Normalize Checking in with Yourself

A lot of us who suffer from anxiety don’t know to recognize the telltale signs before it’s too late. The only time you seem to realize you’re in an anxious situation is when you’re in a state of panic about sending in an assignment just seconds before it’s due. Luckily, you can plan ahead to check in with yourself.

Find a regular time to formally ask yourself how you’re feeling. It could be every Friday, or it could be every time you have to study for a test. Depending on how frequently you experience the effects of anxiety, you may need to set a soothing alarm to check in with yourself every hour. That’s completely okay.

When checking in with yourself, it’s also helpful to make a list of all the symptoms you experience when you feel anxiety. Is it a headache? Stomach cramps? A fast heart rate? Whatever you feel that makes you uncomfortable or prevents you from thinking clearly, jot down the symptoms so you can recognize them early on. When you start to feel anxiety coming on and have a heightened awareness of what’s to come, you can excuse yourself from the situation until you’ve had a chance to think things through.

Let’s say you need to communicate with a teacher about your last essay grade. You did poorly and you want to know how to get better, but this particular instructor can be a bit intimidating. Having a list of your symptoms readily available can help you observe them, alerting you to take a step back. If you know one of your symptoms is a fast heart rate, you can slow it down with some deep breathing or by drinking a tall glass of water. Once you are more in control of your emotions, you can take care you’re your tasks while feeling comfortable.

2. Phone a Friend

One of the hardest hitting aspects of quarantine is that you don’t have your friends around to talk with, hang out, or vent about what’s going on in your life. Though we’re all quarantining separately, you’re not alone in your struggle to seek out a sense of peace and calm in your life.

Anxiety has the ability to trap you in your own mind and body when you’re in a downward spiral. When you notice that you’re getting caught in your head, it can help contact a friend for guidance and to get you out of your head.

Enjoying the company of a companion will get you to think externally, helping your brain produce endorphins to relieve pain and stress and boost your happiness. After speaking to a friend or a loved one, you’ll find that you feel lighter and can tackle your work with more energy and resilience.

When it comes to receiving specific help on school issues though, developing a personal relationship with mentors can also be helpful. While teachers and your parents might be preoccupied with their own COVID-related stressors, you may want to turn to other students in your school who have already taken the classes you’ve taken or experts who can help you with what you’re going through.

Studies have shown that the benefits of tutoring extend well beyond achieving good grades! Tutors can help you with time management, relating your studies to your personal interests, and take the pressure off of speaking with a teacher or professor. Mentors can also provide you with personalized study strategies as well as good coping skills. 

3. Live in the Moment

Anxiety is often caused by worrying about a future situation. Whether it’s the outcome of a job interview or the results of an exam, your mind is caught up in a situation that hasn’t really happened yet, and it can take away from your productivity in the moment.

When teens get trapped by the worst-case scenario, it can lead to panicked decision-making and further their anxiety about doing a good job on their assignment. This is why it’s important to plan ahead for situations that can put you in an anxious state of mind, so you be more present and level-headed.

One way to live in the moment and stay focused on the present is, ironically, by planning ahead. You can configure your schedule to anticipate anxiety-inducing activities that will affect your well-being and your work. Simply extend the amount of time a given activity will take to include a moment of calm before and after the event.

If you have a Zoom call scheduled at 3:00, add to your agenda that you’ll need to start doing breathing exercises at 2:30 and then again at 4:00. When you do this, you’re planning on smoothing out your emotions and cushioning stressful events. This can prevent you from spiraling out unexpectedly by giving your body the physical preparation to better handle stress.

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Post is contributed by a guest writer.

If your teen is struggling with stress, anxiety and even causing depression — if you’ve exhausted your local resources, contact us to learn more about how teen help programs might be able to help.

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What Parents Can Learn From Paris Hilton’s Experiences in Residential Therapy

Posted by Sue Scheff on September 16, 2020  /   Posted in Featured Article, Teen Help

Paris Hilton has a message, and parents should listen.

Some may question the messenger, but the message is clear. If you’re considering residential therapy, take the time to research what is best for your child.

It has been an extremely stressful time during the pandemic, especially for parents of teenagers. If you were struggling with your child prior to COVID-19, chances are this new normal has only compounded behavioral issues.

Parenting at your wit’s end

No one is immune to having difficulties with their kids, from celebrities to average people. If you are dealing with an out-of-control teen, you can feel like a hostage in your own home.

In the recent documentary, This Is Paris, Paris Hilton reveals that at age 15 her parents reached their wit’s end. After being shipped off to a series of wilderness programs, she landed in a program that she claims was emotionally and physically harmful.

It’s hard to blame Paris’ parents, because I was once that mother. Two decades ago, I sent my daughter to a residential therapy program that claimed they would help my daughter, but it was very similar to Hilton’s experience.

This was after I hired an educational consultant that attempted to sell me the wilderness programs too. Fortunately for our family, we didn’t buy into the wilderness shuffle. I believed that my daughter was struggling enough, emotionally, that breaking her down in the woods wouldn’t resolve or help her problems. Unfortunately for us, we landed in an abusive program too (which is now closed down).

The teen help industry

Today teens are experiencing depression, anxiety, stress, suicide ideationself-harminternet addition, vaping, marijuana use, drinking, and other risky behavior at an alarming rate. With high school students, a 2019 CDC Youth Risk Behavior Behavioral Survey shares concerns of prescription Opioid misuse, binge drinking and other substance abuse.

The fact is, there are young people that need quality teen help and sometimes it means attending a therapeutic boarding school.

When my daughter was out-of-control, we exhausted our local resources. After going through five different therapists, outpatient therapy, and a short stay in-patient locally, I finally sent her to a relative’s to stay. That lasted less than two weeks before we made the major decision of residential therapy.

The teen help industry is a big business. No one realizes this until you need it. Why would you?

Learning from our experiences

After all the darkness, and sharing our story online in 2001, I’ve since educated thousands of parents about searching for quality residential treatment centers. Questions to ask schools and programs and helpful tips in researching facilities is some of the valuable information I offer for parents in crisis.

Although there are many that would like to see all programs shut down, we can’t ignore the fact many children and families need help. This is why it’s important that parents learn how to do their homework so they don’t end up in facilities like my daughter and Paris Hilton did.

Does your teen need residential therapy?

As I share with all parents, only you can answer that.

Here are some questions to consider:

1Have you exhausted all your local resources? From using local therapy to extending into outpatient, teens can be easily shut-down. Although we know that many times it’s difficult to get a teen to open up to a therapist—or even attend a session—parents need to know they at least tried. When in residential therapy, the entire program evolves around their emotional wellness, 24/7. Being removed from their negativity helps tremendously.

2. Living with a relative. Some families have attempted to move the troubled teen to a relative. Again, sometimes this works—and other times it can be a Band-Aid, however it can help you make that decision that you have exhausted your local resources before you decide to choose residential.

3. Is your teen a danger to themselves or other people (you)? Has your child become violent towards you or themselves? This is when you know it’s time to start researching for residential therapy. It’s not working at home.

4. Do you feel like you are a hostage in your home by their behavior? Do you feel like you are walking on eggshells? Being careful about what you say or how you act for fear they may become explosive? Again, this is a red flag that it may be time for residential therapy.

Originally posted on Psychology Today by Sue Scheff.

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Preventing Risky Behavior in Teens

Posted by Sue Scheff on September 05, 2020  /   Posted in Featured Article

Navigating Emotional Maturity to Prevent Risky Behavior in Teens

Let’s face it, teenagers have it rough. They’re taking on new responsibilities, struggling with physical and emotional transitions, and just trying to get their lives figured out. But with all these new challenges, teens might find themselves unprepared to shoulder the emotional burden of being an adult.

Taking more difficult and time-consuming classes in school, learning how to navigate peer pressure with real consequences, and entering the job market in the midst of a pandemic can take a toll on your mental wellbeing. Facing this kind of pressure, teens are prone to depression or engaging in risky, anxiety-driven behavior.

If teens don’t have the skills to process their emotions in a mature and level-headed manner, they might bottle up their emotions, become more aggressive, or even shut down. Luckily, there are several ways to help your teen develop emotional maturity to prevent risky behavior.

Here are four pieces of advice to get them started:

1. Don’t Get Lost in the Worst-Case Scenario

One of the most common ways that teens can get lost in a downward emotional spiral is from anxiety about the future. When they have to grapple with the uncertainty of college applications, finding their place in the world, or even how other people will react to bad news, they might buckle under all this built-up pressure. This often occurs when teens don’t have a strong sense of their own identity and self-worth. They start to think that every outcome is going to be the worst-case scenario. But it doesn’t have to be that way!

You can warn your teen about the dangers of overthinking and why it happens. When they understand where their fears are coming from and how often it happens to others, your child might better understand that their anxiety is really being driven by their imagination. Though it’s important to anticipate negative consequences, they should know that it’s usually always worse in their minds.

For example, if your teenager feels like they’re not going to do well on an exam, they might start to stack up all the negative outcomes until the end of time! The failed test leads to a bad grade, which leads to poor college applications, which leads to not getting into college, which leads to never getting a job, which leads to … etc. But if you talk to your teen about humanizing their fears, knowing that everyone fails sometimes, it can show your teen how to adapt to situations. Because your teen is worried about this exam, you might tell them that if they study hard, it’s more likely they’ll do better, but also that their teachers are there to help them if they can’t get the material down.

You can help your teen avoid the risky behaviors that come with anxiety-driven decisions by practicing mental checks. If you notice your teen is starting to spiral, you can point this out and work through the problems together. Once you have a good understanding of the telltale signs of an anxious meltdown, you can remind your teen that they’re getting into an unnecessary headspace. Soon, your teen will be able to recognize these symptoms on their own and learn to self-regulate; now they’re not putting so much importance on the future, but focusing on the present moment with a level-head.

2. Leave Pettiness to Others, It’s not for You

Pettiness is a signature of childish behavior. Talking back, getting the last word, or exhibiting passive aggressive behavior when they don’t want to outright say what’s on their mind. Nobody likes this kind of attitude and it can really dampen your teen’s reputation among their friends and future peers.

You can help root out this behavior by pointing out how hurtful this behavior can be. Not only is it frustrating for the people on the receiving end of the stick, but it will also hurt your child’s ability to effectively be heard. You want your teen to be able to get over the small stuff and the pettiness of others, so it’s important to point out exactly what it looks like and when it occurs.

Managing pettiness is especially important to do when you’re not both in an argument so that your teen can anticipate the emotions that bring about pettiness. Sure, they might think it’s satisfying to get in that little jab in the moment, but they should understand it’s hurtful to everyone in the long run. It might even get your teen into more immediate trouble if they snap at someone dangerous or in a position of power. You can point out that if your teen really wants to win an argument, they can do it by exhibiting well thought out reasoning, calmness, and superior decision making.

One practice that might help your teen leave pettiness at the door is deep breathing and meditation. When your teen recognizes that urge to get back at someone, they can mentally address the situation, and take three calming breaths. On a physical level, this slows down their heart rate and establishes a more serene mindset, the trademark of an emotionally mature adult.

When they’ve let the moment pass, they’ll be able to respond with something genuinely considered. This will achieve one of two satisfying results for your teen in lieu of a petty comment: 1) they’ll be able to communicate their feelings and solutions to the issue at hand with a mature attitude, resulting in a collaboration with their adversaries, or 2) they’ll be able to communicate their feelings and solutions to the issue at hand with a mature attitude, while their adversaries are left to their own petty squabbles.

3.Be Mindful of Others

Teens that are trying to balance college applications heavy duty classes and struggling to figure out their identity are practically treading water. They’re taking on so much that sometimes they can’t help but only think of themselves and their own wellbeing. As a parent, it takes a lot of patience to deal with their self-centered nature, but understand that it’s a survival tactic that’s going to take some mending.

If your teen shows signs of a short temper or rude behavior, it could mean that your child is having difficult with their tasks or their own self-worth.

This is a common cause of teens trying to amplify their own importance or freaking out about the consequences of their responsibilities. To treat this behavior, you can help your teen become more mindful by demonstrating mindfulness.

When you show that you care about what’s going on in their lives, it could help them let their guard down and open up. It’s a perfect opportunity for you to also share what you’re going through and how teamwork can be a solution for what they’re going through. This can help them understand that it’s important to check in with others and reflect on how they impact their friends and family.

You can also help your teen become more mindful by encouraging them to actively engage in helping others. Volunteer opportunities are a great way to consistently keep others in mind while supporting the community.

If your teen is already stacked with a busy schedule, they could do something as simple as checking in with their friends once a week to share what’s going on in each other’s life. Sometimes, we’re so focused on what we’re doing individually, that we forget to hold space for talking about others. If your child is able to invest in their friend group and address how they impact or help one another, they’re more likely to be normalize collective care. When your teen starts to exhibit risky behavior, they’ll have others to help them out as a result of being mindful in the first place.

4. Take Responsibility for Your Actions

This is the big one. Taking responsibility can be difficult for teens because it involves admitting fault sometimes. That can be really difficult for teens who are trying to look out for their self-image and present their lives as idyllic. But not taking responsibility is the work of a child, not an adult. Adults know when to take credit for their achievements and drawbacks. Whether it’s taking a promotion at work for their efforts or learning from when they’ve missed an assignment or forgotten to do a chore, people with mature emotions own their actions.

As we’ve stated before, challenges are learning opportunities, and the same thing can be said for making mistakes. You can point out to your teen that it’s actually a sign of strength and maturity to admit your mistakes and learn from them.

When you own your actions, not only are you demonstrating security in who you are, but you’re also taking note of what lead to the circumstances in the first place.

For example, if your teen chose to hang out with their friends instead of working on a paper for school and they receive a bad grade, it can be looked at as a learning opportunity.

The next time your child has to choose between spending time with friends or completing an important task for school, you could teach them to say something like, “I’m sorry I can’t hang out this weekend. I didn’t take my last assignment seriously and I want to do better on this next one.Could we can hang out on Monday?”

This can be appealing to your teens for two reasons:

1) they are learning to set priorities and won’t have to be stressed later, and 2) they’ll be acting as a role model for their friends.

When your teen exercises responsibility, they’re showing others that they’re reliable, smart, and mature. Kids don’t often think of responsibility as an attractive quality, but you can show them how it exhibits problem-solving and honesty, qualities that their peers will admire and respect.

Taking responsibility also reduces risky teen behavior by eliminating risky situations in the first place. If your teen understands how to assign importance to their tasks and look at their mistakes as opportunities to grow, they could greatly reduce anxiety and feelings of shame or avoidance in their lives.

You can help your teenager develop responsibility by getting them started with a chore chart, talking over their obligations together and establishing what responsibility means, and recognizing the feelings that accompany discomfort around responsibility.

Author Bio:

Andy Earle is a researcher who studies parent-teen communication and adolescent risk behaviors. He is the co-founder of talkingtoteens.com, ghostwriter at WriteItGreat.com, and host of the Talking to Teens podcast, a free weekly talk show for parents of teenagers.

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Is Your Teenager A Screenager?

Posted by Sue Scheff on July 19, 2020  /   Posted in Featured Article, Teen Help

Teen Internet Addiction: Majority of Teens Want Help Finding Digital Balance

Is your teenager constantly glaring at their screen? Are they part of the screenager generation?

Did you know that according to new studies teens are frustrated by their own obsession with their smartphones?

How can parents help them find their digital balance?

Smartphone addiction has become an increasing concern for many parents, especially with the start of school just around the corner, and many students getting smartphones.

Seventy-two percent of teens felt pressured to respond immediately to texts, notifications and social media messaging. A 2018 Pew Research report found that 95 percent of 13- to 17-year-olds had their own smartphones or had access to one, and 45 percent said they were online “almost constantly.”

So what can parents do to help prevent their teenagers from becoming screenagers?

  1. Start with a contract. The first step is to set boundaries, and what better way to do this than to put the rules in writing. Draw up a Cell Phone Contract, or a Family Agreement, with your young user. Family agreements can include rules about when and how the phone may be used, and detail consequences for breaking the rules. You can find numerous examples of cell phone contracts or family agreements online. Almost all of them focus on the same key items, such as sharing passwords with parents, limiting use of the device to certain times of the day and in certain places, promising not to use the device for inappropriate photos or bullying, and so on.
  2. Set limits and monitor use. Consider creating “no phone zones” in your home, like the dining room table, and making sure your teen is putting the phone away at certain points of the day. Also, take advantage of parental controls to set limits on your child’s smartphone use, and monitor it. Set monthly limits on texts and mobile purchases; and restrict texting, data usage and outbound calling during specified times of the day. There are also monitoring services that let you view your child’s texts, call logs, phone location and more.
  3. Create daily and weekly offline time. Most teens admit to having FOMO, or fear of missing out, on something, and the need to respond quickly when they receive messages and notifications. That constant potential feedback loop can lead to obsessive behaviors that disturb the course of daily activities. Researchers say creating daily and weekly offline time as part of the family routine can be helpful.
  4. Be cyber aware. Being constantly connected brings increased risk of theft, fraud and abuse. Educate your young user on internet safety tips. Stress the importance of never sharing their personal or family information online and never engaging with strangers online.
  5. Be a role model. As parents, we should consider our smartphone habits as well. The 2015 Pew survey found that 46 percent of American adults  believed they could not live without their smartphones. If we expect our kids to limit their time on their smartphones, then we too need to practice what we preach.


Contract by The Exhausted Mom.

Read more about why teens are frustrated about digital addiction.

If you believe your teen is struggling with internet addiction that is now interfering with their life, and you have exhausted your local resources, please contact us.

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Teen Help For Troubled Teens During COVID19

Posted by Sue Scheff on June 30, 2020  /   Posted in Featured Article, Teen Help

Are you searching for teen help during COVID19?

Is your teen driving you crazy?

You’re not alone.

No doubt, many parents are experiencing new challenges with their anxious teenagers during these uncertain times.

In a recent survey by Common Sense Media, the spread of the coronavirus has upended school for teens, with 95% of 13- to 17-year-olds in the U.S. reporting the cancellation of in-person classes at their schools at least temporarily.

Teens are worried – the average youth is facing stress, anxiety and some are feeling loneliness (according to the survey). For those that were already experiencing risky behaviors, this can be more troubling.

Quarantine life could be a time of relaxation for some, but for some parents of teens, it’s anything but relaxing.

Whether your teen is stressed out from not being able to mingle with their friends, or spending way too much time online (especially since they had to finish school virtually) — maybe your teen is feeling isolated or lonely, are they sinking into a depression? Are they self-medicating? Becoming defiant, angry, raging or even explosive? Are they stealing your credit card — ordering things offline without your permission?

You’ve exhausted your local therapy, in many cases, your teen has been able to manipulate their way around their therapist. Maybe you’ve tried out-patient — even a short stay in a local hospital.

Is residential therapy for you?

When a parent calls P.U.R.E. they are usually surfing the internet and confused by all the fancy websites, terminology they are now learning about (RTC, TBS, Wilderness, transport services and more) and wondering — is this really want my child needs?

The fact is, in many situations you have a good kid that is now making some bad choices and you never in a million years thought you would be facing this day.

None of us did. Yet here we are.

That’s the best part – you’re not alone.

There are many residential therapy schools and programs in our country, probably because there are many families in need of help today. Although there are many good programs and schools – there are also many that you need to be skeptical of – as well as many sales people you need to concerned about that may not have your child’s best interest at heart.

When will you know it’s time for residential therapy?

  1. Have you exhausted all your local resources? From using local therapy to extending into outpatient teens can be easily shut-down. Although we know that many times it’s difficult to get a teen to open up to therapist – or even attend a session, parents need to know they at least tried. When in residential therapy, the entire program evolves around their emotional wellness, 24/7. Being removed from their negativity – helps tremendously.
  2. Living with a relative. Some families have attempted to move the troubled teen to a relative. Again, sometimes this works – and others it can be a band-aid, however it can help you make that decision that you have exhausted your local resources before you decide to choose residential.
  3. Is your teen a danger to themselves or other people (you)? Has your child become violent towards you or themselves? This is when you know it’s time to start researching for residential therapy. It’s not working at home.
  4. Do you feel like you are hostage in your home by their behavior? Do you feel like you are walking on egg shells? Being careful about what you say or how you act for fear they may become explosive? Again, this is a red flag it may be time for residential therapy.

Keep in mind, there are different types of residential therapy. P.U.R.E. can help educate you on what may best fit your child’s individual needs without placing them out of their element. Think you may not be able to afford residential therapy? Take a moment to review the financial options.

During COVID19, most programs are taking precautions to keep your child safe. They will likely have your teen placed in a 2-week quarantine home prior entering a program.

Residential therapy is a major emotional and financial decision. Contact us today for more information.

 

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