It’s Not My Kid: Parents In Denial

NotMyKid2On a weekly basis parents will continue to blame the friends or the other kids that their teen is hanging out with for the bad choices their child is making.  You have to think, if the parent can’t come to some accountability—how can we expect the teen to?

Have you stopped to consider your child (teenager) has made a choice to hang out with that peer group?  They have free will not to hang out with that negative choice of friends–however that is where they believe they fit in.

Why?

Low self-esteem?  Belief that it is a cool group?  Desire to be part of a group even if it is a less than desirable one?

I speak to parents on a weekly basis and often hear how parents can make excuses for their teen.  Whether it is a friend’s fault–the school’s fault–the fault of an ex-spouse–you name it, rather than putting the blame on the person that is making the bad choices, some parents have a difficult time admitting their once good child is now making such negative decisions.

Don’t be a parent in denial; you are only hurting your child.  The sooner you recognize your teen needs help the sooner you can get on the path to recovery and healing in your home.

Do you feel like you are hostage in your home to your teen’s behavior?  At any moment  your teen could explode in a rage over something that didn’t go their way?

You shouldn’t have to live that way.  In life we don’t always get what we want all the time – actually most of the time.  Teens need to learn early that respecting authority, especially their parents, is a priority.  If you are giving your teen their boundaries and they are defying them you are heading down a road of trouble.  Start with consequences and don’t waiver.  Never threaten what you can’t follow through with.

If you feel you have exhausted all your local resources and including therapy, visit www.helpyourteens.com and consider the next step.  It may prove beneficial.  It is important to be proactive and don’t forget, academics are important too.  Just because your defiant child is out-of-control doesn’t mean they are going to skip out on school!

Be an educated parent, you will have safer teens!

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Educational Consultants: Who Are They?

Over and over again I will hear from parents that are either considering hiring an Educational Consultant, or have hired one.

What is an Educational Consultant? (EC)  They are an individual that may or may not have qualifications to help you place your troubled teen into a treatment center.  Years ago, EC’s were mainly used for parents that needed help in finding the right colleges for their teens, help with their applications etc.

As our world turned, the need for help in the troubled teen industry grew.  It became a new outlet for EC’s to make money.  As the Internet was growing, more and more parents and teens were able to do all their college searches online – and get information at their finger tips.

Well, the Internet has expanded again – with the help of Facebook, Blogs, forums etc more parents are able to do their searches for residential therapy without the help and extra fees of an EC.  However, it is difficult to decide what is best for your teenager or what online information is true, false or fabricated.

As a parent of a troubled teen, I went through all these motions.  From the EC to the Internet scams – I hit it all.  My story is not a happy one, however it is one that thousands of families have learned from.

I ended up with a program that did more harm than good, and with that, followed years of litigation and my strong desire to find out what this “big business of teen help” is all about.

For over a decade I have made it my mission – I have seen and visited many good, bad and ugly programs.  But what I have heard over and over again is the EC Shuffle which is just as disturbing as finding a bad program.

Almost every family I spoke with that hired an EC were given the same advice – Wilderness – then we will see – and of course, by the fourth week of Wilderness they are telling the parents – we need to go to step two – a residential boarding school….. So this teen that thought he was leaving to go home within 6-8 weeks now finds out he is going to yet another program.

He/she will have to start all over again with their issues, new program, new staff and more feelings of abandonment all over again.

EC’s have told parents that Wilderness will help break their teen down to be better prepared for a therapeutic boarding school – but correct me if I am wrong, isn’t our teen already broken?  Why are we looking for help?

Either way, it is just very disheartening that when parents are at their weakest moment they believe what they hear from what they assume are experts.

Full Disclosure: I am not against Wilderness programs, many teens have a wonderful experience, but many parents can’t afford them – and please don’t regret it.  There are some good EC’s out there – like every business, you need to do your due diligence.

At the end of the day, you need to find what is best for your teen, as a parent you are capable of making these choices.  You may just need some sound guidance – visit www.HelpYourTeens.com and you will find lists of questions, hints in searching and much more.

I just believe enough is enough when it comes to this EC Shuffle….

Wilderness Programs: Short Term Program, Very Short Term Results

Wilderness Programs: Think Twice

For the many people that know me, they know I don’t believe in Wilderness programs, nor do I advocate for short term programs.  This doesn’t mean there aren’t reputable Wilderness programs in our country.  There are, however chances are very good, after your teen attends one – within the first 30 days, the program will tell you it is likely you will need to go on to a residential therapy program.  Which means….

  • More money
  • Another trip
  • Another therapist
  • Another schedule
  • Etc….

Back to the first one – the costs are exuberant for Wilderness, and to combine it with another at least $50K for a boarding school is simply out of the equation for many families.

I am writing this information today for two reasons.  One, I have received several calls this week alone by parents that fell for the Wilderness road.  Now they are out of money and need  a program, but the funding is no where to be found.  What do you do?  Their teen is back to the streets – smoking the dope and failing in school. (Let’s also remember most Wilderness programs don’t offer academics).

One thing these at-risk teens need is consistency.  Usually for the past several months, even years they have been spiraling out of control, driving down a negative path with a negative peer group.

Going to Wilderness is a great experience – they get to vent to their counselor, talk about their feelings and dig deep inside.  They even get a new appreciation of sleeping in their bed or a bed.  They are also knowing that once they just get through these next 6-8-10 weeks – they are home free.

Now, you tell them they are not home free – they are going to the “next step” – a longer term program.  Now they have to get over the disappointment, anger, resentment and most of all, they have to start all over again with a new therapist – a new staff and a new setting.  Sigh…..

Of course this is the case for the families that can afford that next step.  If they can’t – some will be facing a probation officer or public defender within a few months.  Solid changes and “lasting” changes cannot be made within 6-8-10 weeks.

This is way an average successful program is 6-9-12 months (not weeks).  On the same note, you don’t want programs that are taking your teen completely out of the family for more than 18-24 months – that is not emotionally healthy.  It can contribute to abandonment issues -which can backfire.

Do you want to learn more?  Visit www.HelpYourTeens.com and find out about resources and options for troubled teens.

Are Wilderness program worth it?  It is my opinion of after a decade of talking with thousands of family – no, they simply are not worth it.  That doesn’t mean families they aren’t useful to some people, but from the many I have spoken with – they do have good experiences however know that it is step they didn’t really need.  Of course, we all are different.