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Therapeutic Boarding Schools

Are You Considering Residential Therapy?

Posted by Sue Scheff on December 27, 2018  /   Posted in Mental Health, Parenting Teens, Residential Therapy, Struggling Teen Help, Teen Help, Troubled Teens, Uncategorized

What is the best program for teen?

Are you at your wit’s end? Do you have a good teen making bad choice? Is it time for residential therapy?

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Warning Signs Your Teen Could Be Using Drugs

Posted by Sue Scheff on November 23, 2015  /   Posted in Parenting Teens, Residential Therapy, Struggling Teen Help, Teen Help, Troubled Teens

TeendrugabuseThis is a difficult question that many parents have to face on a daily basis. Parents who spend a great deal of time with their teenagers are often tuned into what is normal behavior and what is not.

However, even parents who are actively involved in the daily activities of their teenagers may overlook – or subconsciously deny – the earliest signs of a substance abuse problem.

Some of the clues that your teenager may exhibit when using drugs or alcohol are fairly subtle, but others are rather obvious:

• Many hours spent alone, especially in their room; persistent isolation from the rest of the family. This is particular suspicious in a youngster who had not been a loner until now.

• Resistance to taking with or confiding in parents, secretiveness, especially in a teenager who had previously been open. Be sure that your teenager is not being secretive because every time he tries to confide in you, you jump on him or break his confidence.

• There is marked change for the worse in performance and attendance at school and/or job or other responsibilities as well as in dress, hygiene, grooming, frequent memory lapses, lack of concentration, and unusual sleepiness.

• A change of friends; from acceptable to unacceptable.

• Pronounced mood swings with irritability, hostile outbursts, and rebelliousness. Your teenager may seem untrustworthy, insincere or even paranoid.

• Lying , usually in order to cover up drinking or drug using behavior as well as sources of money and possessions; stealing, shoplifting, or encounters with the police.

• Abandonment of wholesome activities such as sports, social service and other groups, religious services, teen programs, hobbies, and even involvement in family life.

• Unusual physical symptoms such as dilated or pinpoint pupils, bloodshot eyes, frequent nosebleeds, changes in appetite, digestive problems, excessive yawning, and the shakes.

Parent_Teen_TroublesThese are just a few of the warning signs that can be recognized.

• Be careful not to jump to the conclusion that your teenager may be using when you see such behavior.
• Evaluate the situation.
• Talk to your teenager.
• Try to spend time with her so that she feels that she can trust you.
• By creating a home that is nurturing, she will understand that despite of unhealthy choices that she will always get the love and moral support that she deserves.
• Building a strong relationship with your teenager now will mean that in time of crises your love, support, wisdom, and experience won’t be shut out of your teenager’s decision making.
• If you have a suspicion that your teenager is involved in the use of drugs or alcohol, don’t hesitate to bring the subject up.

The sooner the problem is identified and treated, the better the chances that your teenager’s future will be safeguarded. Raising the subject will be easier if you already have good communication in the family. Discuss the ways in which you can seek help together. An evaluation by a substance abuse professional may be the key to understanding what is really going on with your teenager.

Contributor: Shawnda Burns, LCSW

Especially around the holiday season, keep your parent radar on high alert. Monitor your monitor medicine cabinets.

If your teen has been struggling with substance abuse, be sure to seek help. If they refuse to get help, it may be time to consider residential therapy. Contact us for more information on this step.

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Good Kids Making Bad Choices: Is It Spoiled Rotten Brat Syndrome?

Posted by Sue Scheff on August 28, 2015  /   Posted in Parenting Teens, Residential Therapy, Struggling Teen Help, Teen Help

ShopliftingHow many parents can relate to having a good kid that makes bad choices?

The conversation of mental health is one that continues in our country.  The behavior of today’s teens with our society in a me, me, me direction, is driving families to feel like they are being held hostage in their own home by a teenager they barely know anymore.

As someone that works with parents of struggling teenagers, I am faced on a weekly basis with families that are at their wit’s end.  They have exhausted all their local resources, the therapy sessions are going nowhere (if you can get your child to attend), the school has usually reached their limit with the student, and in some cases the local authorities are now involved.

Some of these homes consist of only one parent or both parents are working leaving less supervision and guidance at home.  Gone are the days when kids came home to at least one parent.  Is this part of the problem of today’s society?  I am not convinced of that.  In my opinion it could be one of the excuses.

Kids today lack the respect that generations prior were born and raised with.  No more are the days when a parent told a child to be home at 10:00 pm and they were actually home at 10:00 pm without question.  Today the teen will argue that every other kid has a curfew of 2:00 am and that is when he/she will be home whether we like it or not.

Yes, that is the way many parents are living today – at the mercy of their teenager.  I am sure some of you are recognizing your child here.

When a teen has escalated to a point that they are now controlling your home, failing in school, using drugs, hanging with the less than desirable peer group (which by the way they have become themselves), and you have determined this is more than typical teenage behavior – it may be time to seek residential therapy.  These are typically good kids making bad choices.  Some may label them spoiled rotten brat syndrome.

They are used to getting their own way and simply don’t want that to change. From the time they were little, parents have cuddled them with their every need and want.  Why should that change? If they want to go to a party until 3:00 am they believe they should be able to.  If they want to be connected to video games for fifteen hours a day, they believe that is their right to be able to. The biggest and worst decision is when a teen believes they should drop out of high school and get their GED – and in some states (at a certain age) they are allowed to – they do have that right. It is frustrating to watch your once good teen make these bad decisions.  Yes, teens believe they have rights – and parents have become (in a way) prisoner to these demands.  (It’s just an expression).

Residential therapy is sometimes mistaken for mental illness.  Though there are residential treatment centers that help the mentally challenged, I am discussing residential therapy that is aimed at building a child back up to making the better choices, teaching them self-respect and respect for others, continuing their education (underachievers) and offering enrichment programs.

EntitledTeenMany of these teens are spoiled brats.  The problem; entitlement issues.  Many parents today are guilty of over-indulging our kids and the results are coming back to us during the puberty years – in spades. The sweet angel of a toddler we once had is now a troubled teenager that is driving us mad.  We literally don’t recognize the person they have turned into.  From sneaking out of the house, to dropping out of their favorite sport – that once happy-go-lucky child has gone missing.   It is a parent’s responsibility to find them again.  It is not about shipping them off, it is about giving them a second chance at a bright future.  Sometimes that does involve removing them from their comfort zone; their environment.

Researching for residential therapy can be daunting.  The sticker shock of the price to get your child help can leave you feeling completely helpless and hopeless.

Don’t allow this to happen.  Yes, residential therapy can be costly, however there are some that accept insurances and there are others that work with parents in accordance to their income.  You need to do your homework, there is help out there.  Don’t be a parent in denial, be proactive – it is our responsibility as a parent to get our child the help they may need.

Do you need help getting started? Contact us for more information.

 

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Therapeutic Boarding Schools for Troubled Teens

Posted by Sue Scheff on August 21, 2015  /   Posted in Parenting Teens, Residential Therapy, Struggling Teen Help, Teen Help

DistraughtFamilyYou are struggling with the fact you are reaching your wit’s end with your out-of-control teenager?

In most cases, this is the first time you have experienced this and you are clueless about what your options are.  You have exhausted your local resources, such as counseling, outpatient and some even tried sending their loved one to a relatives home.

Now what?

Deciding on residential therapy is a major decision not to be taken lightly.  Like many big businesses out there, it is a business.  As a parent that was once in your shoes, I know what it is like – I had exhausted every local avenue (including the relative), only to be duped by a residential program.

What that did for me is to empower me to help others gain from my knowledge and learn from my experiences.  Let’s be real – my one horrific ordeal doesn’t mean all schools and programs are bad – quite the contrary, in our research, we found that most are beneficial.

mom laptopIt’s about “you” – the parent, doing your due diligence and not making a decision while you are in a panic.  Not allowing these sales reps to convince you of something your gut is telling you is not so.

Many parents will get online and start searching all sort of terms for troubled teens.  Keep in mind, only those schools and programs (marketing arms) with deep pockets can afford those sponsored listings, that doesn’t necessarily mean they are the best for your teen.  In hindsight, the organization that duped me literally had the first spots all over the Internet – they were pros on marketing. Anyone can build a site and market themselves, it’s your research that is imperative – offline.  

  • Talk to local sheriff department in the town that the program is located in.  Ask how many times they are called out there, do they have runaways – big question – “would they send their child there.”
  • Call the Department of Social Services/Department of Children and Families – ask if there has ever been complaints filed (chanced are they can’t tell you the details, but at least let you know if there were complaints), are they up-to-date with their licences, how are they licensed?  As a childcare center, foster-care home, or as a therapeutic boarding school.  (Yes, things you need to know).
  • If you are visiting the school/program, stop in local restaurants, talk the people (waitress, locals) ask about the school, their opinions.  It’s amazing what locals will say.

I think you are getting the idea.  The Internet is very valuable, but in reality it can be hard to determine cyber-fact from cyber-fiction, there comes a time to take it offline – for the sake of your child.

More take away tips for parents:

When seeking residential treatment, I always encourage parents to look for three key components that I call the ACE factor:

  • Accredited Academics (Ask to see their accreditation): Education is important, some programs actually don’t offer it.
  • Clinical (Credentialed therapists on staff): Please note–on staff.
  • Enrichment Programs (Animal assisted programs, culinary, fine arts, sports etc): Enrichment Programs are crucial to your child’s program. They will help build self-esteem and stimulate them in a positive direction. Find a program with something your teen is passionate about or used to be passionate prior their path in a negative direction.

I also encourage parents to avoid three red flags:

  • Marketing arms and sales reps (All those toll-free numbers, be careful of who you are really speaking to and what is in the best interest of your child).  I also caution you to just fill out forms that don’t offer you confidentiality.  These are marketing arms that simply send your information to a variety of programs.
  • Short term programs (Wilderness programs or otherwise, rarely is there a quick fix. Short term program are usually short term results. They usually will then convince you to go into a longer term program after you are there a few weeks–why not just start with one? Consistency is key in recovery. An average program is 6-9-12 months, depending on your child’s needs and the program). There are some reputable Wilderness programs, however it is our opinion it is an extra step and money that parents should understand before taking this leap.
  • Statistics that show their success rate (I have yet to see any program or school have a third party–objective survey–perform a true statistical report on a program’s success. Success is an individual’s opinion. You have to do your own due diligence and call parent references).

Are you searching for a Therapeutic Boarding School, Residential Treatment Center or Teen Help Program?  Contact us for more information.

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Teen Help Programs for Troubled Teens

Posted by Sue Scheff on August 19, 2015  /   Posted in Parenting Teens, Residential Therapy, Struggling Teen Help, Teen Help

It can be one of the most difficult decisions a parent can make.  You have a teenager that was always a good teen, used to bring home excellent grades, always participated in family functions, maybe was involved in sports or other extra curricular activities such as dance or cheer leading, and slowly is losing interest in the things they used to love.

Their behavior has become defiant, disrespectful, rude, underachieving,  lack motivation, withdrawn, secretive and before you know it – you feel like you don’t even recognize your own child.  Some parents have even said they feel like they become hostage in their own home to this behavior.

Maybe you suspect they are using drugs or drinking?  Maybe they have changed their peer group? Maybe they are experiencing something online that needs to be addressed?

Trying to get your teen to open up their lines of  communication is key to helping you determine where this negative behavior is stemming from.  If they are still shutting you down, sometimes they will be more open with an objective person like a relative, close friend or finally you may have to try an adolescent therapist.

After exhausting your local resources and you find your teenager is still spiraling into a dark hole, you may reach a point that they need residential therapy – teen help programs.  Teen Help Programs are much different than having one-on-one therapy at home.  They revolve around your child’s emotional growth in all their activities and they will be with peers that are struggling with the same issues.  It helps them to know they are not alone in whatever they are going through with their same peer group.

However deciding on a Teen Help Program,  (therapeutic boarding school) can be a major financial and emotional decision.  If you have PPO insurance, this can help you a bit.  The next step is taking your time and doing your due diligence.  There are many good programs in our country, but don’t get caught in the trap that you need the one closest to your home.  This is a mistake many parents make.  You have to select on that best fits your child’s needs.

EquineTherapyWe explain to parents that keeping in mind that you have to look at three (3) points which we call the A.C.E. factor, when searching for the right Teen Help Program for your troubled teen:

A – Academics (Be sure the program is accredited with their education. Another words, double check to be sure when they come home your schools accepts their transcripts).

C – Clinical (Especially if you have PPO insurance, be sure the therapist are credentialed and they will give you invoices for their clinical hours – this usually includes peer support groups depending on your policy –  so you can file it with your insurance if they don’t file for you.  There are only a small number of programs that will file for you. Again, PPO is usually the only insurance that has paid for a portion of residential, and that is only if you have already tried local therapy. This is in accordance to your policy.  We are not insurance specialists.   If you don’t have insurance, you want to be sure they have a solid clinical component to their program since it is likely you will be paying for it.  Check the credentials of the therapists).

E – Enrichment Programs (So many parents overlook this and it is so important.  Enrichment programs are what will stimulate your teen to recovery.  Enrichment programs can be sports, animal assisted programs, music therapy, art therapy – anything that engages your teen’s interest in a positive way).

Troubled teens can drive you to your wit’s end, but it’s not the end of the world.  You are not alone and there is help.

Takeaway tip we often give parents:  If you feel your teenager is about to be asked to leave their school (expelled), talk to the school and tell them that you would like to  withdraw them immediately.  This way the expulsion won’t be on their academic record.

If you would like more information on Teen Help Programs (therapeutic boarding schools or residential treatment centers) please contact us.  It’s best to be an educated parent, be prepared before you are placed in a situation that you need placement within 24-hours.

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Does My Teen Need Residential Therapy?

Posted by Sue Scheff on August 02, 2015  /   Posted in Parenting Teens, Parenting Teens, Residential Therapy, Struggling Teen Help, Teen Help, Troubled Teens

 

we_are_parents_tooAs I share with parents, residential therapy is a major decision not to be taken lightly.  It’s not about teaching your child a lesson, it’s not about punishing your teen or scaring them straight — residential therapy is a huge financial and emotional decision that is made after you have exhausted all your local resources.

Residential therapy is a choice made out of love to give your child a second chance at a bright future.

Usually a parent has reached their wit’s end; they have been to local therapy, some have even tried having their teen stay with a relative.  Some have been through extensive out-patient programs but it isn’t until you remove (residential therapy) the teen from their environment that they will be able to heal and gain an objective view on what is the root of the issues.

In the majority of families that contact us, these are not bad kids, these are kids that come from good families – raised with morals and taught right from wrong, however making very bad decisions.  Whether they have fallen into a negative peer group or struggling with self-worth issues, they are definitely going down a dark path that needs to be addressed.

In many situations we see today’s teen as the spoiled rotten brat syndrome.  Don’t be ashamed of that – that is our culture today.  It’s not right, but that’s how parents of this generation have raised their kids — they get just about anything they want without earning it.  This leads to generation entitlement teenager.

When they feel they are being boxed in or suddenly things aren’t as easy as they used to be, as middle school and high school can tend to become more difficult to fit in, rebellion and defiance (in combination with puberty) can strike.

canstockphoto13240726This behavior can escalate into not only a nasty attitude, but soon you watch their grades declining, maybe they quit (or asked to leave) their once-favorite sport, and suddenly you discover they are using illegal substances and drinking.  The spiral continues.

Their outbursts at home and anger towards the parents become unbearable.  Worse some teens will get into trouble with the law, maybe shoplifting things they can well-afford to purchase.

Parents soon feel hostage in their own home.  No one is immune to this.

How To Know When It’s Time to Try Residential Therapy

  • You have read most parenting books and behavioral strategy — removing privileges, instilling consequences that are being broken,  to behavioral contracts to one-on-one behavioral support in the home — and your teen still doesn’t get better.
  • Your child had been given numerous psychiatric diagnoses, none of which totally fit. He/she has been on different medications, but none result in long-term changes.
  • Your house is a war zone every day. Your child is routinely explosive and scares younger siblings and you. You are exhausted and the stress of managing daily crises is taking a toll on your marriage, your job, your personal life and you  have reached your wit’s end.
  • Your child has been expelled from school (or on the verge of  being expelled), is addicted to video games, using drugs or alcohol, and has had multiple run-ins with the law.
  • Your child engages in self-injury, threatens to hurt others or kill himself.
  • Your child has had a psychiatric hospitalization.
  • You have finally exhausted all your local resources.  This is not an easy decision and one that comes out of love.  It is time to give your son or daughter a second opportunity for a bright future – finding a residential therapy setting for 6-10 months out of their lifetime is a small price to pay considering the alternative road they are on.

How Residential Treatment (RTC) or Therapeutic Boarding Schools (TBS) Helps, When Nothing Else Does

  • RTC or TBS focus on helping the child take personal accountability. Through intensive individual, group and family therapy, residential staff work on shifting the child from blaming others for his problems to acknowledging that he is where he is because he made poor choices.
  • RTC or TBS remove your child from their negative environment.  Whether is a contentious home situation or a negative peer group, it is an opportunity to be in an objective placement to open up and speak freely to others that may have his/her same feelings.
  • RTC or TBS have level systems so children learn the consequences of their actions. If they make poor choices or don’t do their levels work, they don’t gain privileges. The levels system incentivizes children to change their behavior.
  • RTC or TBS provide structure and containment that is impossible to achieve at home. Most RTC or TBS are in remote areas where there is nowhere to run. Therapists, behavioral staff and a levels program provide intensive scaffolding to support the child as he learns coping skills that he can then use to regulate himself. When a child can utilize coping skills, he feels in control and begins to make better choices.
  • RTC or TBS are particularly skilled at helping parents recognize the ways they are unwittingly colluding with their child’s behavior, and learn tools to change their own behaviors. Parent workshops and family therapy (usually via phone and visits) are essential for the child to return home successfully.
  • When selecting an RTC or TBS, it is important for a parent to find one that has accredited academics, qualified therapists and enrichment programs.  This is part of doing your due diligence when researching for programs for your teenager.

teens parentsThe hardest part is finding the right program/school for your teenager.  There are many choices in our country.  Take your time (within reason) and do your due diligence.  We offer helpful tips and questions to ask schools and programs on our site.  Be sure the program is licensed, accredited and has enrichment programs to stimulate your child in a positive direction.

There are also red flags, when programs frequently have to change their name, sometimes the Christian programs don’t have to meet the regulations as traditional TBS or RTC, it’s all about doing your research.  We aren’t purchasing a car – we securing your child’s emotional growth.

If you feel you are ready to consider residential therapy, please contact us for a free consultation.  I have walked in your shoes over a decade ago.  Although we had  a bad experience, I believe there are many good programs – it’s all about educating you to learn to find what is best for your family.  Learn from my mistakes – gain from my knowledge.

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