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Boys & Sex: Young Men on Hookups, Love, Porn, Consent, and Navigating the New Masculinity

Posted by Sue Scheff on January 12, 2020  /   Posted in Featured Book, Mental Health, Parenting Teens, Struggling Teen Help, Teen Help, Uncategorized

Young Men on Hookups, Love, Porn, Consent, and Navigating the New Masculinity

Author Peggy Orenstein’s new book, Boys & Sex, is based on extensive interviews with more than 100 college and college-bound boys and young men across the U.S. between the ages of 16 and 22 on intimacy, consent and navigating masculinity. They spanned a broad range of races, religions, classes and sexual orientations.

In Boys & Sex, Peggy Orenstein dives back into the lives of young people to once again give voice to the unspoken, revealing how young men understand and negotiate the new rules of physical and emotional intimacy.

Drawing on comprehensive interviews with young men, psychologists, academics, and experts in the field, Boys & Sex dissects so-called locker room talk; how the word “hilarious” robs boys of empathy; pornography as the new sex education; boys’ understanding of hookup culture and consent; and their experience as both victims and perpetrators of sexual violence.

By surfacing young men’s experience in all its complexity, Orenstein is able to unravel the hidden truths, hard lessons, and important realities of young male sexuality in today’s world. The result is a provocative and paradigm-shifting work that offers a much-needed vision of how boys can truly move forward as better men.

Listen to Peggy Orensten on NPR talk about her recent book, Boys & Sex.

Order from Amazon.

Boys & Sex is available at your favorite book store including Amazon.

Also check-out Peggy Orenstein’s book, Girls & Sex.

Order from Amazon.

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Unselfie by Michele Borba

Posted by darcy56 on March 05, 2018  /   Posted in Bullying, Cyberbullying, Featured Book, Parenting Books, Uncategorized

UnSelfie: 9 Proven and teachable habits to nurture children’s empathy and why developing empathy is key predictor to help kids succeed in our global, digital-driven world.

Why Kids Are Bystanders Rather Than Upstanders

Did you know that when a bystander decides to step in on behalf of a peer that is being harassed, 57 percent of the time the bullying is stopped within 10 seconds? Yet in most cases only 19 percent of bystanders will get involved in helping a friend or peer.

Why?

Educational psychologist and renown parenting and bullying prevention expert, Dr. Michele Borba, reveals in her twenty-fourth book, UnSelfie, Why Empathic Kids Succeed In Our All-About-Me World that teens today are 40 percent less empathic than those of thirty years ago and narcissism are increased by 58 percent. She points out that as “empathy wanes, bullying can rise, and tormentors begin to see victims as “objects,” not human beings.”

The good news is, as Dr. Borba shares, “Empathy is a trait that can be taught and nurtured. And so can moral courage. Empathy and courage are a powerful combo to solve the bullying crisis.”

Why are our youth not stepping in and helping each other and becoming Upstanders?

Dr. Borba interviewed over 500 children from around the globe for her book, UnSelfie. She found that bullying is a concern for all kids worldwide, and reasons they don’t intervene are similar regardless of region, culture, or demographics.

UnSelfie describes the top six reasons why kids don’t step in to help:

Powerless. “I don’t know how to make it stop.” Most kids don’t know how to step in. There is a lack of training and communication from the adult to the students. Kids witness 85 percent of bullying incidents, usually when adults aren’t present. So we must educate them on how to step in safely.

Vague expectations. “I wasn’t sure if should help.” Kids fear they will make things worse, be embarrassed, or get themselves (or others) in trouble. But if they have clear expectations, know adults will support them, and understand what bullying is, they are more likely to help.

Peer pressure. “I don’t want to be a snitch.” Friends play a big part in our children’s lives, and losing social status is a huge kid concern.

The diffusion of responsibility. “Somebody else will help.” Bystanders are less likely and slower to intervene if others are present because they assume that someone else will step in, so no else does.

Empathy overarousal. “I felt too bad to help.” There’s no doubt that bullying can cause severe emotional harm to the bullied, but witnesses also suffer severe psychological and physiological stress.


Weak adult support.
 “My mom didn’t believe me.” Many kids admitted they didn’t tell an adult about a bullying incident “because she didn’t believe me.” Some said the adult downplay the severity: “The Teacher said it wasn’t a big deal.” Others worried that it might make things worse and they’d be targeted next. Fear of retaliation is a huge concern.

While interviewing hundreds of kids about bullying, Borba heard similar types of comments worldwide:

Columbian kids: “Do other kids in the world hurt like us?
Military kids of US bases: “Ask teachers to watch us to make us feel safer.”
British teens: “There’s so bullying that we can’t think.”
U.S. kids: “No one listens, and we’re hurting. Thanks for listening.”

We may be from different parts of the globes, but our commonality is that we all hurt and fear the same. Borba contends that empathy is the best antidote to combat peer cruelty. If you can imagine a victim’s pain, causing that suffering is a near impossible feat. Empathy also fuels children’s moral courage to step in and speak out for each other.


UnSelfie shares the top five things to know about cultivating kids’ courage

1. Kids discover their inner hero from the right parenting style, experiences and training. What hinders it? A “too much rescuing” style.

2. Modeling, encouraging, experiencing and acknowledging a child’s courage helps instill it.

3. Courage can be strengthened like a muscle, but regular work-outs are crucial for it to become habitual.

4. A child’s temperament and physical strength don’t determine moral courage: almost every child can be taught how to stand up and speak up to help others if given the right support, encouragement and training.

5. Mobilizing children’s courage to be Upstanders may be our best hope to stop peer cruelty, but they must learn how to step in or get help.

Takeaway tips:

• Be sure your school has an Upstander Club and encourage your child to be part of it.

• Help kids learn specific habits like the ones in UnSelfie to help them stand up to injustice. Better yet, join up with like-minded adults so kids learn the same Upstander skills in groups.

• Reading books Upstanders (like Hooway for Wodney Wat, Nobody Knew What to Do, The Bully Blockers Club or Stand Up for Yourself) helps dispel the “Superman Myth” so kids know people can better the world with quiet courageous acts.

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Car Responsibilities: How to Talk to Your Teen About Driving

Posted by Sue Scheff on February 27, 2018  /   Posted in Uncategorized

Teen Driving Responsibilities

Driving is a major responsibility for anyone — although learning the proper mechanics is something teens in particular need to understand before getting on the road. Case in point: Six teens die every day from car crash injuries, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Knowing this information, if you’re working with your teen to get their learner’s permit or driver’s license, it’s time to sit down and have “the talk” — that is, about car responsibilities.

Be a Good Role Model

It’s no secret young people tend to emulate the actions, beliefs and attitudes of their parents, which is why you should always set a good example to teach and reinforce good habits. As such, when you get in your car, make it a habit (if it isn’t already) to put away your smartphone, fasten your seat belt and check your mirrors before starting the vehicle.

Additionally, you’ll always want to use your turn signal, follow the speed limit and keep your emotions in check. Never drink and drive or get behind the wheel if you aren’t feeling like yourself, and be open to discussing the decisions you make behind the wheel. Even if it doesn’t seem like it, your teen is watching you and will want to model your actions and behaviors.

Set Limits

When your teen gets their driver’s license, it’s important to set some important rules of the road beyond the relevant driving laws in your state. By clearly defining your expectations upfront, you’ll reduce conflicts, costly mistakes and other problems. Moreover, you’ll feel more confident and have better peace of mind about your teen’s driving abilities.

Fortunately, some states require teens to have progressive driving licenses that set limits on when they can drive and how many passengers are allowed in their vehicle at any one time. But even if your state doesn’t employ any restrictions for teen drivers, you should have open, honest discussions with your loved one about these important topics.

If you feel it necessary, draw up a safe driving contract with your teen to lay out any limits and responsibilities. For example, you may want to mention that they can only drive if they keep their grades up and stay out of trouble. Additionally, discuss any repercussions for distracted driving, including the use of their smartphone and ability to hang out with friends.

Continue the Discussion

Safe driving goes beyond explaining any important rules of the road. In fact, these conversations should be ongoing to ensure your teen maintains good driving habits and understands their responsibilities behind the wheel. While they should know the rules of the road, they also need to understand how to take care of their vehicle and when to take it in for maintenance.

For instance, if their tires are under inflated or don’t have enough tread, they could pop or slide on the road, creating a chain of events that could result in an accident. With that in mind, teach your teen how to check for symptoms of over-inflated tires and signs tires may need to be replaced, ensuring any new tires have an appropriate ply rating that measures strength and capacity.

As a parent, you also should discuss responsible driving behaviors and what to do in the case of an accident. While your teen may be reluctant to have these conversations, reinforce these conversations again and again. Because if they aren’t mature enough to talk about it, then they aren’t mature enough to get behind the wheel.

When All Else Fails, Reinforce the Rules Again and Again

Despite your best efforts and intentions, the information you share with your loved one may go in one ear and right out the other; after all, teens will be teens. Still, know that your teen is bound to make mistakes and/or circumvent your advice and rules while behind the wheel.

In these instances, it’s important to reinforce the rules you previously taught them or go back to the drawing board to implement new strategies. In the end, driving can be an inherently dangerous activity, which is why you need to do everything in your power to keep your teen — and everyone else on the road — safe.

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Helping Your Child with Addiction

Posted by Sue Scheff on May 05, 2016  /   Posted in Uncategorized

Teen Drug Abuse

Teens today grapple with a variety of problems. In response, many of them turn to drugs as their outlet.

Teen drug use has spiked in recent years.

Per the National Institute on Drug Abuse:

  • In 2014, more than 27 percent of high school students used illicit drugs
  • More than 36 percent of 12th-graders reported using marijuana, nearly six percent of whom reported daily marijuana use
  • Nearly 44 percent of 12th-graders reported drinking alcohol in the past month
  • Nearly 5 percent of high school seniors reported using Vicodin, a prescription painkiller

Drug use can be especially problematic for young people. Substance abuse can stunt their brain development and lead to academic problems, drug dependence or serious health ailments.

A number of factors lead to teen drug abuse. They may have a family history of substance abuse, which increases the likelihood he or she picks up an addiction. They may have been socially rejected. They may be suffering from depression or low self-esteem.

ParentTeenChatWhatever the reason, teens who use drugs or alcohol need assistance. Much of this support comes from parents.

Ways to Help

Talking to your teen about drugs is an important step for any parent. When doing so, be sure to consider the following:

Find a Quiet Setting

The conversation should take place in a comfortable environment, with as few distractions as possible. This limits interruptions, which will helps your teen focus.

Listen to Your Child

Listen carefully to what your child has to say and encourage honesty. Watch their body language as they talk about certain subjects and avoid lecturing.

Ask Them About Media Messages

Media outlets glamorize and promote substance abuse. Talk to your child about these messages and find out if he or she is influenced by them. This could help you create a set of rules or guidelines for your home.

Discuss Peer Pressure and the Benefits of Saying No

If your teen is influenced by peer pressure, brainstorm with them ways to say “no.” There are a variety of reasons not to do drugs. Talk to your teen about these benefits without using scare tactics.

Other Strategies to Consider

Kids are human. They have their own personalities and likes and dislikes. Treat your child like an individual, but be clear that you are the parent and you are in charge.

Establish Rules

Lay down ground rules, such as a curfew or places to avoid. Your child may not like these new rules, but they may prevent him or her from engaging in substance abuse.

Keep an Eye on Your Child

Is your child acting differently? Are they irritable? Do they have trouble concentrating? Monitor whether they exhibit any signs of drug use and take action when needed.

Know Their Friends

If their friends use drugs, your teen may fall into the same bad habits. Monitor who they hang out with and their behaviors around these friends.

Provide Support

Offering praise or encouragement can help establish a strong relationship between you and your teen. This communication could boost their self-esteem and prevent them from substance abuse.

Set an Example

Children learn a lot from their parents’ actions. Set an example by avoiding drug use yourself. The less they are around drugs or alcohol, the less likely they are to use.

Treatment Options

Treatment is essential for teens with addictions. Luckily, there are a number of rehabilitation centers, some of which cater specifically to teens.

Parents constantly worry about their children. If drugs enter the equation, this anxiety increases. It is important to have an open dialogue with your child about drugs, especially if you suspect they are using illicit substances.

Open communication and support could prevent them from fighting a lifelong battle.

Sources:

National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2014, December). DrugFacts: High School and Youth Trends. Retrieved from https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/high-school-youth-trends

Mayo Clinic. (2016, February 2). Teen drug abuse: Help your teen avoid drugs. Retrieved from http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/tween-and-teen-health/in-depth/teen-drug-abuse/art-20045921

If you have exhausted local resources for your troubled teen, please contact us for information about residential therapy.

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Are Prescriptions the Only Way to Help with ADHD

Posted by Sue Scheff on March 17, 2016  /   Posted in Parenting Teens, Uncategorized

Although the causes of ADHD are unknown there are several characteristics that have shown to play a role in the development of the disorder. For instance, if a parent has ADHD, their child has more than a 50% chance of also having the disorder.  ADHD is also linked to children with a low birth weight, children who experience head injuries at an early age, and children of women who smoke or drank during pregnancy. Although these risk factors have played a part in the development of ADHD, the causes are still unknown.

With the improvements of modern medicine, doctors have found ways to use prescription drugs as an ADHD treatment. There are both stimulant and non-stimulant medications to treat ADHD symptoms. Stimulants increase dopamine and norepinephrine levels in the brain to improve concentration, while non-stimulants affect neurotransmitters.

Although these medications have shown improvement in many situations, many people are uncomfortable with the idea of giving young children these medications. Luckily, there are other treatment options to try for children with ADHD to improve their focus before resorting to medications.

Behavioral Therapy

Behavioral therapy is often another commonly used way to cope with the symptoms if ADHD. Behavioral therapy helps children and their parents structure the child’s time more efficiently by increasing positive attention, establishing predictability, and creating routines. In most cases, rewarding kids for staying focused will yield better results than punishing them for being off task. It has also been beneficial for parents and teachers to periodically let the child know how they have been doing; for instance, if the child tends to interrupt others by announcing their thoughts frequently let them know every so often how they are doing, as opposed to ridiculing them every time they interject.

ADHD Coaching

David Giwerc, president of the ADD Coach Academy, defines ADHD coaching as an “ongoing collaborative partnership created to facilitate personal growth and awareness that leads to conscious choice, focused action, and a meaningful, rewarding life.” In this relationship the coach and client work together to achieve the client’s goals. ADHD coaching is used to correct certain behaviors and improve lives by deepening learning and improving focus. It focuses on improving inattention, impulsivity, and hyperactivity to help those with ADHD reach their goals.  Creating new experiences and applying those new ways of doing things consistently in your life will eventually create new neurotransmitter patterns in the brain.

Exercise

Exercise should be a crucial part in everyone’s life, but it is especially beneficial to children with ADHD. As most of us know, when we exercise it releases endorphins into our system; endorphins help regulate mood, elevate dopamine, serotonin and norepinephrine levels. Since people who have ADHD have lowered levels of those brain chemicals, the boost in chemicals helps focus and lengthens attention span. Team sports or activities where children have to pay close attention to their movements are some of the best ways to improve social skills and work on channeling their energy. Some of these sports include ballet, soccer, basketball, gymnastics, and tae kwon do.

MeditationRecent studies have shown that meditation can also help reduce the symptoms of ADHD.  It can help improve attention, anxiety, organizational skills, emotional control, memory and behavior regulation. Meditation teaches children and adults how to pay attention and not act on their impulses. Eventually the child learns how to think through their impulsive actions with meditation before executing them. There are many meditation classes offered at yoga studios, but it can also be practiced just as easily at home. There are also many guided meditations on YouTube to follow if you are uncomfortable leading your own or your child’s practice.

Sleep 

The amount of sleep a child usually gets can also affect their ADHD symptoms. Studies have shown that children who get an extra 30 minutes of sleep are less restless and impulsive. One of the issues with sleep is that children with ADHD can sometimes have issues calming down and actually falling asleep. Some ways to help children fall asleep are, establishing a consistent bedtime routine, having the child sleep in a cool, dark room, and using melatonin or essential oils. Also make sure to eliminate any screen time an hour or more before it is time for bed. The blue light that is radiated from most electronic devices can delay the release of melatonin, a sleep-inducing hormone.

By implementing some of these activities into a routine schedule, your child with ADHD can start focusing better; not to mention the bonus of your child not having to use medications. But keep in mind everyone is different, so if one method works for one child, it may not work for another, and some children may still need medication to help their ADHD symptoms.

**

Contributor: Bobbi Phelps produces content on behalf of the ADHD specialists at Cerebrum Health Center. An avid writer and learner, she loves to use her skills for engaging others in important topics in creative and effective ways. When she is not working, she loves exploring, hanging out with her dogs, and binge watching shows on Netflix. Tweet her @Bobbi_Phelps or connect with her on LinkedIn.

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Teens and Drug Use: Beyond Addiction

Posted by Sue Scheff on January 27, 2016  /   Posted in Parenting Teens, Residential Therapy, Struggling Teen Help, Teen Help, Troubled Teens, Uncategorized

Ranking the riskiest drugs in the United States, beyond addiction.

It’s time to rethink your ideas about the most dangerous drugs. Many are in our own homes.

Of course, this doesn’t mean that everyone is going to be abusing them, however when you have a teenager desperate to get high, you must consider all these options.

Don’t be a parent in denial — be an educated parent. You will have a safer and healthier family.

31 Most Harmful Drugs

 

All Psychology Schools

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Trendy Teens: Discussing the Fashion

Posted by Sue Scheff on October 23, 2015  /   Posted in Parenting Teens, Struggling Teen Help, Teen Help, Troubled Teens, Uncategorized

TeenSelfEsteem5It can be shocking seeing thirteen year-old girls looking as if they are sixteen year-old and sixteen girls pretending they are nearing twenty!

From generations earlier, it’s normal for tweens and teens to want to feel older than they are – or try to fit in with a cooler-clique, but at what cost?

Most every parent has experienced their tween or teen girl or even boy (with those pants hanging off their butts) that make us cringe!

In a culture where midriff-baring pop icons surround us, it can be increasingly difficult to convince teenage girls that dressing modestly is actually important. As girls become teenagers and begin to assert their independence by testing boundaries, one of the more common ways that such behavior presents itself is through more risqué wardrobe choices.

As a parent or educator, figuring out how to encourage more modest styles of dress without alienating a willful teen and causing her to become even more attached to her new, more suggestive style can be a serious challenge.

Boost Self-Esteem

For teenage girls who are struggling to stand out from their peers and are battling secret insecurities, equating their blossoming sexuality with increased popularity and attention from the opposite sex can be very common. When they understand that their worth is based upon far more important qualities than their burgeoning sex appeal, they may be more tempted to eschew revealing clothes in favor of more modest choices that take the attention off of their bodies. Talking about the importance of strong self-esteem and helping to boost your teen’s confidence in herself can be one of the more effective methods of curbing a new predilection for wearing inappropriate clothing.

Establish Boundaries at a Young Age

As a child moves into the tween years – before her body begins to develop, but as she’s beginning to establish her own tastes and sense of style – it’s wise to start talking about immodest clothing and begin establishing boundaries regarding what you do and do not find appropriate. Even though most tween girls have not yet developed more womanly physical attributes, banning shorts that are inappropriately short or tops that are overly tight can help her to understand early on that such things won’t be acceptable as she gets older. An open dialogue about why immodest clothing can attract negative attention should start early, that way she’s well aware of your expectations and has an understanding of why revealing clothing is problematic.

Don’t Buy Revealing or Immodest Clothing

While a teen that’s determined to wear revealing clothes will find a way to get her hands on them, you can openly discourage a tendency to dress inappropriately by refusing to buy clothing that you find too mature or overly sexualized. When you’re shopping with your teen, it’s important to stand firm and not allow yourself to be swayed by pleas for clothing you don’t approve of or give in to teenage temper tantrums. When your child understands that you will not purchase such items, she’ll at least understand that you don’t approve of them. In order to make this method of encouraging more modest clothes effective, it’s important to follow up with calm and sincere conversations about why you won’t purchase revealing clothes and that you hope she’ll understand that you have only her best interests at heart.

Discuss the Image Your Teen Wishes to Portray

Seeing the attention lavished upon scantily-clad celebrities and noticing the attention that she gets when she wears revealing clothing can send a teen the message that less clothing sets her apart from the crowd and helps her to stand out. What she doesn’t typically understand is that the kind of attention she’s attracting is probably not the kind she’s seeking. Talking about the kind of image that she wishes to portray and the fact that skimpy clothing can cause people to see only her physical attributes and not her intelligence or character may help to dissuade your teen from dressing in such a manner, especially if she doesn’t understand that attention from the opposite sex based upon her revealing clothing is almost always conditional.

Explaining that boys who praise her lack of modesty and seek out her company when she’s dressed in a revealing fashion are almost invariably not the kind who are looking for actual relationships or who have much regard for her feelings can appeal to the romanticism that teenage girls can harbor. Let her know that sexual attention isn’t love, and that dressing more modestly can attract the attention of boys who are interested in her mind and personality, rather than her body.

Trying to convince your teenager to wear less revealing clothing and dress more modestly can be an uphill battle, especially if her friends and others in her immediate social circle are prone to dressing inappropriately. It may take quite some time before you see actual results from your efforts, but it’s important to stick to your proverbial guns in the interest of consistency and establishing parental authority.

TeenFashion

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    Helpful Tips for Research Teen Help ProgramsMost of us never expect to land in a spot where we are searching for teen help outside our local area. It’s really hard to swallow that we have exhausted our resources, our teen is out-of-control, we’re constantly walking on eggshells or feeling like we’re hostage in our own home to their explosive and defiant behavior.

    Turning to the internet can be daunting and downright confusing! You start reading terminology you never thought about or heard of -- wilderness programs, therapeutic boarding schools, residential treatment centers and more. How do you know who is qualified and who isn’t? More importantly, how do you know what your individual child needs?

    Years ago this happened to me when I had a good teen that started making bad choices. The internet, which can be a wealth of information, can also be extremely deceptive. It’s one of the reasons why I created Parents Universal Resource Experts. To help educate parents about the big business of teen help programs.



    HELPFUL TIPS: FINDING THE RIGHT TEEN HELP PROGRAM

    When searching for a therapeutic boarding school (TBS) or residential treatment centers (RTC), keep these tips in mind:

    -Internet deception

    Be cautious of the internet: Today we turn to the internet for almost everything we do, but how do we know what is internet fact, fiction, or somewhere in between? This is why doing your due diligence, especially in this big business of teen help programs, is imperative.

    -Fear-mongering sites

    You will find some websites and forums that will criticize families for seeking outside help for their teens. They may lead you to believe that all programs and schools are bad or abusive. In reality, not all schools and programs are who they say they are– which is why are you here, doing your research.

    You are taking your time to investigate what will be best for your individual child’s needs and learning from the mistakes I made so you don’t have to. It’s exactly why I created P.U.R.E.

    If you find negative complaints about a school/program you are considering – take the time to ask us about it. We never diminish a person’s experience, however we have also realized that some people are there to make it harder for parents to get help. Again, we have walked your shoes and have taken time to dig deep into this industry.

    -Beware of the Placement Specialist

    Are you talking to a placement specialist? What exactly is this? Today these are people that are paid to place your troubled teen in a program. This is not in the best interest of your child. In some cases these are programs that have less than desirable reputations – however the placement specialist is making a commission. Typically what they are good at – is marketing. You may have just become bait and will become inundated with emails from different programs. They will be sending your name and email to many programs without qualifying your child as an appropriate fit for their school.

    If you’re a parent at your wit’s end, be sure you’re always speaking to an owner or director of a program. Someone that has a vested interest in your child’s recovery. These marketing arms aka placement specialists, can be deceptive. Read “A Parent’s True Story.”

    -Placing Abroad

    Be very cautious if sending your child out of the country. Laws are different and cannot protect your child out of the country. Many parents are misled by the lower tuition–don’t be one of them. We recommend keeping your child in the United States. If you are a resident outside of the United States, this may not affect you.

    -Behind the Screen

    Don’t allow fancy websites, emotional online videos determine your decision for your child. If it sounds too good to be true, it usually is. If a program is advertising a very high success rate, please ask them what third party organization did their statistical studies.

    In-house surveys are prejudiced and not always a good source of reliability. Keep in mind, this a major emotional and financial decision you will be making.

    Don’t judge a program by their website. You never know what is behind a screen. We have visited programs that have less than attractive websites with amazing facilities and staff. On the contrary – you will find polished websites with programs that wouldn’t leave your pets at.

    -Myths of Wilderness

    Your teen does not need to complete a wilderness program before they attend a residential treatment program (RTC or TBS). In many cases families today cannot afford that extra step of a wilderness program; however we hear over and over that parents are talked into breaking a child down before sending them to a therapeutic boarding program. Isn’t your teen already broken down? Isn’t that why you are reaching out for help?

    This is why you are looking for programs that will help stimulate your teen back on to a positive road– making good choices and creating a bright future that you had planned for them.

    -Finding the right program

    You are not choosing a program to “teach your child a lesson.” This is a common mistake many parents make. Many times, these are good children making bad choices. Harsh treatment and environment can enhance their anger as well as build resentment.

    -Accredited programs

    Don’t accept a program that is not accredited to educate your child, provides scant food and/or clothing, and has unsanitary living conditions. A visit to the program prior enrollment, if possible, is recommended.

    It is understandable that not every family has the finances or the time for the extra trip. With this, please be sure your research is thorough. Below – the importance of calling parent references can be helpful with this.

    As far as education, ask the program for a copy of their accreditation for their academics. With that you can contact your local school to be sure the transcripts will be transferable.

    -Basic human rights

    It is normal for parents to want their child to appreciate what they have at home; however deprivation of food, sanitation, and clothing should not be accepted. These are basic human rights.

    Many of these teens are suffering from low self-esteem, depression, peer pressure, etc. Taking away their basic needs may escalate these negative feelings.

    -Communication

    Asking the program about their communication with parents and visitation schedule is imperative. Another helpful tip – is to verify it through asking parent references when you call them.

    Don’t enroll any child in a program that refuses to allow parents to speak with their child within a reasonable amount of time, usually no longer than 30 days.

    Visitation in many programs begins at three months. This is your child, and family counseling is just as important as your child’s recovery.

    -Ask questions

    If you feel you have valid concerns and do not understand something, do not allow the program director to overlook your questions. Keep asking until you receive an appropriate response. This is your right as a parent. You are your child’s advocate.

    Ask for the staff’s education, training, and experience. Credentials of those working with your child are vital. Ask if they have background checks for all employees.

    -Age of consent

    Know what the age of majority (consent) is in the state of the program. Be sure children cannot sign themselves out of the program at their current age. You will see that many programs are located in the western part of the U.S. (especially Utah ) due to the age of majority of 18. This ensures your child cannot leave without your consent.

    -Choosing a program in the best interest of your teen

    Do not limit your decision on geographical location. The fact is this is the most important 6-9-12 months of your child’s life to date, it has to be the best placement/program/school that fits their emotional needs — not your travel plans.

    In reality, family visits are never more than every 4-6 weeks (depending on the program) after your teen has completely the initial ninety days.

    We remind parents – this is only a snapshot of their entire life – yet will have such an impact on their future. Let’s not limit it for geographical reasons.

    You won’t be making daily or weekend visits. This is about your teen’s healing, recovery and what is best for him/her. If it means you need to take an extra plane ride or few hours by car, remember — it’s only several months out of their entire life.

    Most programs are very similar in tuition fees, using credit cards as tuition can build frequent flyer miles. (If you are able to do this – with paying it off either with your funds or a loan you have received, can be a good option).

    There are many excellent programs in our country, find the one that is best fitted for your child, not your airport. The other important fact is – if you have a teen that is a flight risk, they are more likely (or tempted) to leave a program (runaway) and call one of their new less-than-desirable friends to pick them up.

    Choosing a program that is in an unfamiliar area is in the best interest of your teenager. Remember this is about your teen’s emotional wellness and recovery, not about geographically convenience.

    -Background check

    Check with the local sheriff department or the state office of the Attorney General or Department of Social Services (DSS) or Department of Children and Families – for reports of neglect or abuse as well as their current licensing.

    With this, understand that there are no perfect programs. Some may have had issues which have since been rectified or are not related to the students. However, others, with constant complaints, should be crossed off you list. Investigation is your best solution in finding a good program.

    When you contact the local sheriff department, ask them how many times a month they are called out to the program – how many runaways they have – and your final question should be, is if it were their child, would they send them there?

    With licensing, you want to be sure they are licensed as a residential treatment centers and not a daycare center or foster care home. You will be paying a significant amount of tuition, be an educated parent.

    -Consequences

    Find out what the program’s use of restraints is. If they have “isolation,” inquire about the length of time that is normally spent there and what this entails. Ask what the program does if your child runs away.

    -Fees

    Ask if the person who is marketing the information receives any kind of direct, or indirect referral fee or compensation (i.e. A month’s free tuition, gifts, certificates, dinners, etc.). P.U.R.E.™ discloses on our FAQ page that we do receive fees from some schools and programs.

    -Ask for and call parent references.

    If a school/program won’t give you parents references, it’s a red flag. It might be time to consider another program.

    Hopefully you have time to ask for at least 3-5 parent references. In some situation you can also speak with the teen that graduated the program too. This should be a call for information, guidance, and support. Did their child have the same issues as yours?

    If you are considering transport and apprehensive about it, ask the parent reference how they got their teen to the program. It’s a great way to gain more insights on residential therapy.

    Parent tip: Ask for families from your own geographical area, as well as parents that have the same gender and age as your child. You want to try to talk to parents as similar to your own situation as well as possibly near where you live. Maybe you could have an opportunity to meet with them in person. Keep in mind, first hand experiences are priceless.

    One question to ask the reference parent is if they could change one thing about the program, what would it be? Though it may not be a major concern, it may be another question you can ask the owner or director of the program.

    -Inside a program

    Look for programs that offer an ACE factor:

    A=Accredited Academics
    C=Clinical with credentialed therapists
    E=Enrichment Programs such as music, sports, animal assisted therapy, horticulture, art therapy, fine arts, drama, or whatever your teen may be passionate about. It is about stimulating your teen in a positive direction by encouraging them to build self-confidence and want to be their best.

    -Family decision

    Most Importantly, placement needs to be a family decision. Trust your gut and your heart.

    If it doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t. Keep searching. It is time to bring the family back together. If possible – do this research before you’re in crisis.

    Many parents call us with that gut feeling, than things go well for awhile and they don’t do anything. Suddenly they’re in crisis-mode and have 24-hours to select a program. Don’t be that parent.

    -Free consultation

    Parents’ Universal Resource Experts is about helping educate parents about residential therapeutic schools and programs. We offer free consultations.

    These tips are not to frighten anyone, it is to make parents aware of an industry that has little to no guidelines or regulations to follow.

    It is a fact, some of our kids need help. Let’s get them the right help with an educated and researched decision.

    Many parents contact us about the fear-mongering websites that are up. These sites are usually created by former students and they have listed just about every program in the country.

    Sadly, what they are doing is preventing families from getting the potential help they may need for their child. There is always good and bad in every field/industry — this is why it is imperative you do your due diligence when researching programs.

    We have personally visited, researched and spoken with many parents, students and former employees of programs since 2001. Feel free to contact us if you are considering a program and you find it on one of those fear-based websites.

    One of their issues is that they don’t believe in level systems. Keep in mind – in life, we all work our way up. Whether you start as a clerk and work your way to judge, or start in the mail room and work your way up to an executive. It’s part of the way life is. As long as it is not done in a degrading way.

    Are your considering Wilderness programs? Learn more about them.

    Understand there are some teen behavioral issues that require more intensive therapy. Read more.

    Be an educated parent, this is a major financial and emotional decision for your family.

    P.U.R.E.™ is part of bringing families back together…

    Click here for questions to ask schools and programs.
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