^ Back to Top
954-260-0805

ADHD Teens

Advice for Teens with ADHD

Posted by Sue Scheff on April 04, 2016  /   Posted in Parenting Teens, Struggling Teen Help, Teen Help, Troubled Teens
Image via Pixabay

Image via Pixabay

Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is difficult for people of any age, but especially for teens. The teenage years are challenging enough, but ADHD adds to the challenges as teens are even more impulsive, inattentive, and at times hyperactive because of the disorder. Teens with ADHD have difficulty focusing and being organized, which leads to trouble in school, at work, and at home. Plus, hormone changes affect medications intended to treat ADHD symptoms. Teens with ADHD do not have to despair, though. There are strategies and tips for managing symptoms and making life a little easier for teens with ADHD. Here’s some advice for teens with ADHD.

Study and School Tips for Teens with ADHD

Studying, focusing, and recalling information are difficult for teens with ADHD. While these challenges make facing school rough on teens with ADHD, they do not make success in school impossible. Students should work with their parents, teachers, and counselors to identify their unique challenges and work toward finding solutions. Experiment with strategies until you find those that help you most in school. You may find that one of these study and school tips helps you to succeed in school:

  • Get a planner – Use a paper planner or the calendar on your smartphone, but use some form of a planner. Record homework, test dates, due dates, and other important school-related information in the planner. If you use your smartphone, set reminders in advance of assignments so that you don’t feel overwhelmed at the last minute when something is due for school.
  • Plan early on for college and career – Because procrastination and difficulty in school are typical for teens with ADHD, it is important to start thinking about the future in advance. Consider your strengths and areas of interest and think about what you want to do when you graduate. Research colleges and work with teachers and guidance counselors to plan ahead. If you know which college you’d like to attend or which career path you’d like to follow, it may motivate you to do better in high school because you know you are working toward a goal.
  • Experiment to find the best place to study – Some teens with ADHD study better when they are in a quiet place, while others need to have some noise in order to focus better. You may need complete quiet, so you could try headsets that block out all noise. Or, you may need to listen to music with noise-canceling headphones or earbuds so that you just hear your music and are not distracted by other noises around you.
  • Join a school athletic team. – Not only is exercise known to improve brain function, but doing it regularly can help burn off that restless energy that can be distracting when sitting in class. It’s usually better to join a non-contact sport like swimming that allows you to focus only on your own role rather than your own, your teammates’, and your opposition’s.

 

Relationship Tips for Teens with ADHD

Teens with ADHD may have issues with peer relationships. In fact, research shows teens with ADHD have fewer reciprocal friendships and are more ignored or rejected by peers. Similarly, they are likely to be victims of bullying or be the bullies themselves. There are some things teens can do to improve their relationships with their peers…

  • Talk about friendships and relationships – Find someone with whom you can discuss your friendships and relationships. The best option may be your therapist or school counselor, because they can help you with coping strategies and relationship strategies to help you overcome some of your friendship and relationship issues. These trusted adults are here to help you, so be as honest with them as possible.
  • Improve communication skills – Relationships are all about good communication, so teens with ADHD should work to understand non-verbal cues and become better listeners. Try to be more aware of the other person’s body language. Watch her face and hands and see whether she is relaxed and comfortable, or nervous and uncomfortable. Take a deep breath and focus on what she is saying while she talks. Try not to interrupt or change the subject. Talk with a parent or counselor about improving your communication and social skills so that you are more relaxed and less anxious with friends or people you are interested in dating.
  • Adopt a service dog.ADHD service dogs provide endless benefits to their owners, especially when it comes to relationships. In public, they provide an easy topic of conversation and a buffer for any potentially awkward run-ins. One-on-one, they provide completely nonjudgmental companionship. It may be difficult for your peers to understand you, but a dog will always accept and love you for exactly who you are. They even make playtime better: no competition, just fun!

Keep in mind that the teenage years are not easy for anyone. When your ADHD symptoms make your life more difficult, mention it to a trusted adult and work through it together. You can experiment with strategies that improve your studying and schooling to see what works for you. You also can approach relationships with some strategies in mind so you can foster friendships and date more successfully.

Contributor: Vee Cecil is a wellness coach, personal trainer, and bootcamp instructor. Vee is passionate about studying and sharing her findings in wellness through her recently-launched blog.

Tags: ,,,,,

4 Tips to Help Teens With ADHD Improve Their Grades

Posted by Sue Scheff on March 28, 2016  /   Posted in Parenting Teens, Struggling Teen Help, Teen Help

ADHDBoy2Every parent wants their child to do well in school and succeed in life. It’s challenging to watch your teen’s grades slip, despite the time, attention and effort you put into helping them improve. This can be even more difficult for parents of children with ADHD. If your teen has ADHD and you’re looking for ways to help them improve their grades, we’ve gathered some tips below.

Unique tools

Kids with ADHD simply do not learn successfully under conventional methods. So it’s wise to try unconventional study methods.

Create a word puzzle to help your child with a specific subject which they are struggling in. Rather than simply reading a book and quizzing them on the information, this is a fun way to study that doesn’t feel like school work.

Have your teen review the information they studied for a few minutes just before they go to bed can also help them remember the information and process it while they sleep.

Break it up

According to PsychCentral.com, cramming for an exam simply doesn’t work. It can put added pressure and anxiety on your teen, which hinders them from understanding and remembering information. Experts suggest breaking up study time into increments for better success. For example, if your child has an exam in a week, ask them to study for 25 minutes each day leading up to it, rather than for hours the night before.

Don’t put the phone away

This one sounds counterproductive, but it actually isn’t. If your child is one of the millions of kids today with a smartphone, don’t ask him or her to put it down just yet. The apps and resources in smartphones can actually be helpful to your child.

For kids with ADHD, planning ahead is crucial. At the start of the school year or even a particular week, have your child note key due dates in the calendar of their phone. Also, have them set up reminders with the alert feature so they never miss something important. This article offers more insight — though geared toward college students, middle and high school students alike can benefit from the tips.

When studying, however, ask your child to put their phone in airplane mode or simply take the phone until they are finished to avoid distractions.

Physical activity

Physical activity is helpful in reducing stress, clearing the mind and getting blood flowing. But for kids with ADHD — and kids in general who may be dealing with the pressures that come with being a pre-teen or teenager — physical activity is even more important. Some experts even say that movement is medicine when it comes to ADHD, helping to increase attention and improve mood.

Even if your child is not interested in sports, make it a point to incorporate a brisk walk, bike ride or even a game of catch into family time. This can help with bonding and also bring forth the aforementioned benefits.

Above all, keep the lines of communication open with your child, assess what’s working on a regular basis and adjust your strategy as needed. It can be tough to help children with special needs help themselves. But with preparation and creativity, it will be easier for the two of you to achieve success together.

Contributor:  Joyce Wilson taught for decades. Now happily retired, she spends her days sharing her teaching knowledge with today’s teachers and hanging out with her grandchildren. She and a fellow retired teacher created TeacherSpark.org to share creative ideas and practical resources for the classroom.

 

Tags: ,,,

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.

Tags: ,,

Risky Use of Stimulants and Teenagers

Posted by Sue Scheff on February 10, 2016  /   Posted in Parenting Teens, Residential Therapy, Struggling Teen Help, Teen Help, Troubled Teens

TeensADHDMedsBy Constance Scharff, PhD

Prescription ADHD medications like Adderall, Ritalin, and Vyvanse are becoming increasingly popular for overworked and overscheduled college students. ADHD stimulants strengthen the brain’s inhibitory capacities, by increasing the amount of certain neurotransmitters, like dopamine, epinephrine, and norepinephrine. Students like these drugs because they enhance their study efforts.

Prescription “study drugs” are commonly abused to increase concentration for last minute cramming or paper writing. The numbers vary significantly by school, with the greatest proportion of users at private and “elite” universities. Some researchers estimate about 30% of university students use stimulants non-medically.

Students believe that they take these stimulants for the “right reasons,” to be more productive in classes and to stay afloat in a flood of intense competition. In the competitive atmosphere at many schools, students seldom take the time to consider short or long-term risks of taking these drugs, nor understand how certain stimulants may interact with other drugs.

Sean McCabe, research associate professor at the University of Michigan Substance Abuse Research Center said:

“Our biggest concern is the increase we have observed in this behavior over the past decade. College students tend to underestimate the potential harms associated with the nonmedical use of prescription stimulants.”

While students’ knowledge of the health dangers are limited, even less consideration is given to the illegality of use. Obtaining stimulants from friends with prescriptions, as the vast majority of college students do, seems less dangerous and illegal than buying drugs off the street. Yet these drugs are illegal if used other than intended or by someone other than the person to whom they are prescribed. These drugs are Schedule II substances, on the Drug Enforcement Administration’s list right next to cocaine and morphine.

Colleges and universities need to increase awareness about the abuse of these drugs and prompt broader discussion about misuse of medications like Ritalin or Adderall for study purposes. Prevention education for all students may help inform many that these drugs are highly addictive and can have serious side effects. A medical professional or counselor can provide help and support if a student you know is abusing these drugs, along with more information if needed.

BookEndingAddictionAbout the author: Constance Scharff has a Ph.D. in Transformative Studies, specializing in addiction recovery. She is the Senior Addiction Research Fellow and Director of Addiction Research at Cliffside Malibu Treatment Center, and co-author of Ending Addiction for Good with Richard Taite.

 

If your teen is struggling with drug use, please don’t hesitate to get help immediately. If you have exhausted your local resources please contact us for options on residential treatment.

Tags: ,,,,,,

ADHD and Teens: From Adolescence to Adulthood

Posted by Sue Scheff on December 15, 2015  /   Posted in Parenting Teens, Residential Therapy, Struggling Teen Help, Teen Help, Troubled Teens

ADHDTeenBoyAttention deficit and hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a common diagnosis today when it comes to children.

Years ago, kids would be labeled troubled and sometimes even kicked out of school for their behavior that in many cases, they simply were unable to control.

I know this firsthand since my son went through three different schools (and this was in kindergarten) before we had him properly tested and finally diagnosed. I was someone that refused to give into those labels – but when you reach your wit’s end, you need to understand that ADHD is not something that is terminal or even bad, it’s treatable and in reality – once you figure it out, it’s manageable.

One of the biggest misconceptions is that these children are not intelligent, or on the low end of the IQ side.  Quite the contrary. They are typically exceptionally smart. My son is now an Occupational Therapist – had a full academic scholarship through college and has always been extremely intelligent.

Parents assume that if we ask if a child is ADD or ADHD we are asking if they are special needs or handicapped, this is not true.

Today many adults are now recognizing that they have symptoms of ADHD that have been untreated. In our generation, we didn’t know a lot about it. Today we do.

Here’s an interesting infographic – at the end you will see a list of successful people that have ADHD. ADHD is not a bad thing – your child/teen can and will be successful if they are diagnosed with this – they only need to be treated to learn how to manage it.

ADHD: From childhood to adolescence to adulthood
Infographic courtesy of Rawhide.

Is your teen struggling with ADD/ADHD and you’ve exhausted your local resources? Is their behavior escalating into risky actions outside of academic underachieving? Contact us for options and resources.

Tags: ,,,,,

ADHD Teens: Parenting Battles

Posted by Sue Scheff on August 25, 2015  /   Posted in Parenting Teens, Teen Help, Troubled Teens

screaming-teen-boyYears ago before there was the diagnosis of ADD (attention deficit disorder) or ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) most kids were simply labeled troubled or out-of-controlled kids.

They were banished from classrooms, sometimes humiliated by teachers, scolded by their parents and worse – they were never given an opportunity to make friends or learn since it was difficult for them to focus and control their behavior.

When puberty set in, the next label was/is defiance (ODD).  Now we have the typical teen behavior compounded by ODD (oppositional defiance disorder). Some came up with conduct disorder.

Parents struggled and teens are frustrated — the vicious cycle continued.

Today there are medications to help with ADD/ADHD, however when a child reaches their teenage years, sometimes they refuse to take their medications – or worse, they abuse their medication.

The parenting battle begins.

ADHD teens often need more parenting. The problem is that parents of attention deficit teens often overreact to their sons’ and daughters’ behaviors.  – ADDitude Magazine

Living with a teen that goes off their medication can literally be a nightmare.  The defiant and disrespectful behavior leaves parents living at their wit’s end.

These are highly intelligent children that are spiraling out-of-control, not able to work to their academic potential (underachieving), not making good choices, and are becoming a person that you barely recognize.

It can be frustrating to parent’s when others refer to their ADHD child as being handicapped or less-than, since it’s quite the contrary.  ADHD students are usually have a very high IQ, it is a matter of having them focus (and turn in their homework).

If you are struggling with an out-of-control ADHD teen, and have exhausted all your local resources, contact us for potential options.  Sometimes therapeutic boarding schools can help your teen get back on the right track.

Tags: ,,,,

ADHD and ADD Teens: The Abuse of Adderall

Posted by Sue Scheff on August 22, 2015  /   Posted in Parenting Teens, Residential Therapy, Struggling Teen Help, Teen Help

ADHDBoyHaving a teen diagnosed with ADD (attention deficit disorder) or ADHD (Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder) is nothing to be ashamed of.   It makes me cringe when parents assume that teens with ADD/ADHD are not intelligent children – on the contrary, most are highly intelligent.  The problem is they lack the focus to work to their potential.

This is why sometimes they are prescribed medications to help them focus.  Today there are a wide range of prescriptions to choose from.

One of the hardest parts of ADD/ADHD teenagers is experiencing the ODD (opposition defiance disorder) that usually sets in through those puberty years – in combination with the typical teen behavior.  Your house can feel like a war-zone.

  • Defiance
  • Disrespect
  • Attitude
  • Rage, anger and sometimes violence

Some parents have said they feel, at times, like they are actually be held hostage in their own home.

TeensSharingAdderallThe abuse or misuse of Adderall is that some teens are not using it as it is prescribed by their doctor and some are sharing it with their friends. This has been an ongoing trend that is happening with teens:  the abuse and misuse of ADD/ADHD drugs such as Adderall.

Also keep in mind, if you suspect your teen is using marijuana or any other street drug or drinking, contact the doctor that is prescribing the medication for your teen.  Let them be aware of your teen’s behavior so you will know the possible side effects or if your teen should stop taking the medication while they are going through this negative time of their life — and you seek alternative help for them.

 

Teens and young adults often abuse Adderall when they feel the weight of a tight schedule that includes school, homework, sports/extracurricular activities, standardized testing prep, college applications, work and more. Intensive focus and the ability to sustain a high level of energy for long periods without the need for sleep means that many teens turn to the drug to help them get through overwhelming times at school – but unintentionally develop a dependence upon Adderall and are incapable of quitting without medical intervention and treatment.  When talking to your teen/young adult about this, make sure they understand that unless any prescription drug is prescribed directly to them, not only should they not be taking it due to health reasons, but it is also illegal. – PACT Coalition

Know the facts:

  • One in four teens report lax parental attitudes toward prescription drugs as compared to parental attitudes about illegal drugs, showcasing a dangerous and untrue belief that prescription drugs are “safer” than illegal drugs.
  • About 33 percent of teens surveyed felt that using prescription drugs without a prescription was acceptable.
  • Approximately 20 percent of the teens who admitted to abusing prescription drugs used the drugs before reaching the age of 14.
  • About 26 percent of teens surveyed stated that the use of prescription drugs such as Adderall was acceptable when the drug was being used as a “study aid”

AdderallAdderallA few signs of Adderall usage include:

  • bad temper or extremely emotional
  • weight loss
  • outbursts of aggression
  • fast talking/difference in energy
  • paranoia
  • inability to sleep
  • noticeable changes in appearance
  • in some cases the onset of more serious psychiatric symptoms.

If you feel your teen is abusing prescription drugs, get help immediately.  If you have exhausted your local resources, contact us for information on residential therapy options. Don’t wait for a crisis to happen.  Be an educated parent about how these programs can help you if you need them.  We can assist you in these questions.

Tags: ,,,,

As Featured On

DrPhil_Season_7_title_card1-250x139oprah-logo-250x1091PLATFORMforgoodParentingTodaysKidssunsentinelGaltimeFoxNews1Forbes-Magazine-Logo-Fonthuffington-post-logo
family online safetyTodayMomsusatodaywashpostabcnewsCNN-living1anderson-cooper-360-logo-250x107cbs_eve_logobostonglobe-250x250nbc6newsweek

..and many more.

  • Facebook

    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.
    ...

    View on Facebook
  • Follow @SueScheff

  • RSS Sue Scheff Blog

    • Responsible Online Behavior Begins with Civility October 9, 2020
      3 C’s of Digital Civility Online Never doubt, our keyboards can be used as a tool or a weapon. It’s completely up to the user. I often hear, parents especially, that like to blame the apps or social platforms for cyberbullying, however we have to keep in mind that it’s human behavior that is using […]
    • 5 Ways to Share Smarter Online October 7, 2020
      Oversharing contributes to cyberbullying We live in a time where many people (of all ages) have become comfortable documenting their offline life — online. This has caused problems for some, especially if you’re in the job market or applying to colleges. As most of us know, you don’t get a second chance to make a […]
    • Prevent Cyberbullying: Stop Spreading Online Hate October 4, 2020
      3 Ways to Combat Online Hate There’s no question, 2020 has been a difficult year. Teens and tweens are spending even more time online as they are adapting to distancing learning virtually. It’s been a struggle both emotionally and socially for everyone. Different studies and surveys conclude that cyberbullying is on the rise, which is […]

To get help, CLICK HERE or call us at 954-260-0805
P.U.R.E. does not provide legal advice and does not have an attorney on staff.
^ Back to Top
Copyright © 2001-2020 Help Your Teens. Optimized Web Design by SEO Web Mechanics Site Map