Is Residential Treatment Right for My Troubled Teen
Deciding on residential treatment, a therapeutic boarding school or a teen help program is probably one of the biggest decisions a parent can make for their struggling teenager. It’s not a decision that is made lightly or quickly — and before you jump into this big business of teen help, you need to be an educated parent about this industry.
Never doubt, you are your child’s advocate. No one knows your child better than you do. Although they might be acting out of character at this moment, deep down you know your son or daughter is in there.
Before you decide on residential treatment, parents should exhaust all avenues of local resources. This can help you feel more comfortable in your decision of out-of-home placement knowing you tried everything locally.
Here are some local options to consider:
- Local therapy. Sometimes you need to switch therapists (counselors) a few times to find one your teen can relate to. However you may get to a point where you realize your child is not going to be receptive (or is being manipulative) and it’s not working. In some cases the teen is refusing to attend.
- Out-patient therapy. This can be beneficial to some teens since it offers more clinical hours weekly. It also give them group therapy which can be helpful. The one negative is they are still in their home environment and surrounded by their friends (if they are negative influences) as well as with their devices.
- Short-term hospital stay. In some situations a short-term adolescent psychiatric hospital can give you an evaluation that helps you with a diagnosis for your teen’s behavior and medication to address it. However it’s the long-term that can be the struggle. Will they continue the medication at home, and will they continue with therapy?
- Teen coach/mentor. Coaching and mentoring is relatively a new trend being used by families to encourage your teen to make better choices. This would be a person that can help your teen navigate peer pressure, social media, friendships and other issues that sometimes they have a hard time expressing with a traditional therapist. You should never eliminate parent involvement in your child’s life.
- Live with a relative. As a last resort, some parents allow their struggling teen to move-in with a relative to see if this changes behavior.
My Teen Still Out-of-Control
Have you tried most of the above and still feeling completely overwhelmed with your teen’s behavior? Do you feel like a hostage in your own home, like everything you say will set off an explosion? You’re literally walking on eggshells around your teenager.
Since 2001 we’ve spoken with parents from around the country, and we’re here to tell you, you’re not alone. The increase of screen time has caused new challenges for families — we are witnessing a rise in depression, anxiety, self-harm, property destruction, anger, rage and more.
Are you finally at your wit’s end and realize what you’re doing at home isn’t working? Your teen is gradually becoming more self-destructive while your family life is crumbling.
Why Residential Treatment Could Help Your Troubled Teen
A therapeutic program is specifically set-up to stop the downward spiral of a teen’s behavior and change the course to an upward one.
When a teen is removed from the stressors and triggers of home – not to mention their peer influences and devices (social media) – with a slowed down manageable pace – and placed into an environment with staff, activities (enrichment programs) and therapy designed to encourage change – (build self-worth) – the opportunity for the kind of true and deep change required to turn your teen’s life around can finally start to happen.
A controlled, consistent environment replaces the toxic environment they’re leaving. They won’t have access to drugs or alcohol – or their social media or devices. The peer influences are now cut-off. If they’ve been struggling academically, often this new and unique environment is where they will begin to thrive again. In many cases, they will be able to not only catch up but surpass where they were in school since they are now able to focus on their studies in a healthy environment.
If there was family discord, the destructive cycles with siblings and/or parents are now stopped and communication is deliberately slowed down to include mediated conversations, letter exchanges, and intermittent visits.
This completely changes the dynamic and stops parents and teens from engaging in the same ineffective communication patterns used before. It’s as if a pause button is pushed and teens eventually are able to move away from their rigid perspectives and look at their relationships from a new and clear vantage point.
They begin to gain perspective on life events that may have created trauma, or on their contribution to the “mess” their lives have become. They learn about their own unique emotional and cognitive make up and their problems or limitations as a starting point for the journey forward.
Choosing the Right Teen Help for My Child
The internet is a wonderful educational tool or it can be a place where we can find misinformation. This is about being an educated parent. P.U.R.E.™ was founded for these exact reasons, to help you learn about researching and choosing the right residential treatment for your individual teenager. You will stumble on fearmongering sites as well as reviews that can be worrisome, and it will cause you to pause. It’s important to become a critical thinking parent while investigating these schools and programs.
Understanding the terminology is key to starting your process. Knowing the difference (which is very slight) between a therapeutic boarding school and a residential treatment center. Are you interested in a ranch setting? What enrichment programs would benefit your teen? Do you understand the myths of wilderness programs? Understanding why military schools are not for troubled teens.
Chances are you curious how will you convince your teen to attend a program. This is why there are professional transport services available. Parents are very apprehensive about this, however from our firsthand experiences, when you hire professionals, the experience is not what you are imagining or some of those frightening sites are saying. We highly recommend you speak with parent references that have used the services so you better understand how this works. In many situations the teen ends up being friends with their transport.
Are you now thinking, will my teen hate me forever if I make this decision? Your teen will likely be scared of the new situation and may also promise to “do better at home” if you’ve discussed the possibility of going to a boarding school – or most parents threaten it (which you never should do). In our experience, your child will likely grow from fear and anger they already have — to love and understanding that this decision was made with their best interests in mind.
This is a very comprehensive website that helps educate parents on researching for safe and quality residential treatment. For over two decades we have assisted thousands of families with firsthand experiences and resources including financial options.
What you need to remember is the ACE factor:
A: Accredited Academics – always be sure your transcripts are transferrable.
C: Credentialed Clinical Staff – (this will help insurance cover a portion of your treatment).
E: Enrichment Programs – this stimulates your teen in a positive direction. We don’t believe in primitive or punitive facilities.
For more information, contact us for a free consultation.
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