Summer Programs for Troubled Teens in New Jersey
Will a summer camp help my defiant teenager?
Many teens today have been experiencing depression, anxiety, under-performing in school if not completely failing classes — we’ve even witnessed a rise in truancy and youth that were once excelling that are now barely passing.
Internet and cellphone addiction has been a major contributing factor to young people’s mental wellness which is causing an increase in defiance.
How can summer options help:
There are therapeutic summer programs that are designed to give families a good foundation of what they are facing with their child’s behavior. It can offer immediate support and typically continues with a Psychiatric Evaluation with medication recommendations (if needed); an Educational Plan with specific goals and course recommendations (residents will have the option to recover essential grade credits, prepare for the SAT’s, gain organizational skills, as well); and a wellness plan, with goals for health and fitness, in addition to nutritional recommendations.
This is also a time for digital detox as well as developing a healthy relationship with technology and building social skills with people in real life.
With defiance, many therapeutic summer camps incorporate anger and stress management coping skills to help your teen handle their rage and defiant attitude.
Some of the benefits can be the following:
- Grade recovery
- Learning coping skills
- Anger and stress management
- Peer relationships offline
- SAT prep classes
- Self-esteem building (helps them make better choices)
- Overall healthy relationship with their devices
Why use a therapeutic summer camp?
In some situations maybe your teen only needs a summer boost, depending on the issues they are facing.
Some parents feel more comfortable committing to a shorter version of a therapeutic program rather than jumping into a full 6-9-12 month school. It can give them an opportunity to evaluate the program, therapists and staff. They are unsure if their teen needs a full therapeutic boarding school just yet.
The positive side of therapeutic summer programs are that they are part of long-term programs so your child doesn’t have to switch facilities if you determine they need longer care. This can also be helpful if your child successfully completes the summer session, however months later starts to stumble. Therapeutic schools offer open enrollment all year round so they would be able to be there to assist you.
Why are therapeutic summer camps rarely the answer but can be helpful?
Again, this depends on the teenager. If your teen is only struggling academically, the summer grade recovery could be the perfect answer for you. However if you’ve been battling defiance, anger, rage, depression and other mental health concerns you might have a longer road in front of you.
It didn’t take 4-6 weeks for your child to get to where they are today, it’s not going to take 4-6 weeks for them to change this behavior.
Since 2001 we have been helping and educating families from all over the country. We rarely hear from families where a summer program has been successful for long-lasting results in behavioral changes.
However in some situations, a solid 60-90-day program has been exactly what a student needed to get them back on the right path academically or at least give the family a sense of direction and a balanced home life.
What do therapeutic summer camps typically cost?
Therapeutic summer programs that have quality credential therapists, accredited educational team and enrichment programs will start at about $8000 a month and up. In some cases, PPO insurance may cover a portion of your clinical component of the program.
This tuition is competitive if not less than wilderness programs that rarely offer an educational component or enrichment programs.
In conclusion, if you’ve been struggling with your teen for over a year and have exhausted your local resources (therapy, out-patient, in-patient, maybe sent them to live with a relative) – and feel like you’re living like a hostage in your own home – or possibly fear for your child’s life, it might be time to consider residential therapy.
Each child and family are different. For many teens, in order to have long-lasting changes, it usually will take 6-9-12 months. However, we completely understand some families want to start with a summer option to ‘dip their toes in the water.’
Contact us for more information.