Teen Help Programs for Troubled Teens: Parents Hit Internet Confusion

You have resolved yourself to the fact that you can no longer control your teen’s behavior as they are spiraling out-of-control.  Where did that cute little child go?

Actually, they are still there, but deeply buried under the layers of peer pressure, society, technology, divorces, and life in general.  Life is not perfect, however with teens (although they believe they are nearly adults) they are not mature enough to understand that divorce isn’t their fault, a parent losing a job isn’t their fault, a death is not their fault, being bullied isn’t their fault – and before you know it, they have baggage that would outweigh even adults.

Now you get online – where can I find help!  I am at my wit’s end!!!!

You start to see all these websites, clearing houses, marketing arms, toll free numbers etc… Then just when you think you found a program that can help, you find some very harsh website of disgruntled parents and other kids that attended that program.

Don’t panic. Look at the sources -is it a reliable source?  Is it a legal case?  Or simply people that have too much time on their hands, have a vengeance after a school  or program and can’t move on with life.  Unless you see some legal cases to substantiate these claims – chances are very good that their sole motive is to prevent others from getting help and slam programs.

It is a fact – just about every school or program in our country (and probably others) have the “good, bad and ugly” about them. You are not in business for years and won’t have clients that are not happy with your services.  This is why it is so critical parents do their research.

As a victim of this myself, I have won two jury trials – I have proved that my issues as being a disgruntled parent were justified in a court of law -and that these malicious websites are nothing but a way to deter parents from believing my story or getting my help.  I always tell parents, I am either famous or infamous – depending on the website you find – but in  reality – I have taken it to the justice system and proved that I was being stalked, harassed and worse because the program my daughter was abused at simply wants me gone.

Want to know more – visit www.helpyourteens.com and read Wit’s End! Advice and Resources for Saving Your Out of Control Teen.


Parents Universal Resource Experts – Sue Scheff: Troubled Teens and Residential Therapy

As the school begins back in session in many areas of the country, some parents experienced some difficult times with their teenagers during the holiday break.  Many of this behavior only escalated with the extended “free” time, as other parents were hoping and praying things would get better as their teen spends more time with their family.

Some families planned out of town vacations, removing the teen from the environment that they believe is causing the negative behavior.  Some parents believed that simply being home and with the festive holidays their teens will slowly come back to their childhood selves.

For those that have reached a point of seeking outside help, this can be one of the most difficult decisions a parent can make.  It will come after seeking all local resources, even trying to have  your teen live with another family member, however unfortunately, you can change environments, but it usually won’t change whatever issue is causing the negative behavior.

Let’s assume you have attempted local therapy, support groups, even out-patient therapy (some have even tried 24-72 hour in-patient) determined there is something wrong that possibly a little pill can help. However it has been my experience that in many cases, until you address the internal issues, these short-stop and/or pit-stops are usually band-aids.  This is not saying medication won’t help if your teen is appropriately diagnosed.

Now we are convinced that residential therapy is our last resort.  After getting over the sticker shock, you soon realize the confusion of the Internet.  The keen marketing, beautiful websites, and programs so far away!  You are at your wit’s end, desperate, confused and just want to get your teen help – stop, think, and do your homework!

Here are some helpful tips in searching for the right program for your teenager: Click here.

Watch video and slideshow – click here.

Don’t be a parent in denial – you could risk your teen not getting the help they need.  If you are thinking about threatening Military School to your teen, think twice.  Many parents are under the misconception Military Schools are for at-risk or troubled teens.  If your teen is extremely defiant, using drugs (even just experimenting), or simply doesn’t want to attend Military School, chances are, he won’t be.  If your teen gets expelled from a Military School, you will risk forfeiting your $20,000 to $40,000 tuition.  Remember, Military Schools are not set-up as a therapeutic setting.  They are structured, however usually do not offer the therapy or emotional growth many troubled teens may need. Learn more from our story.

Part 2 – click here. Helpful tips for finding programs to fit your needs.

Also on Examiner.

Parents Universal Resource Experts – Sue Scheff: Do Reform Schools Still Exist?

How many times have we heard a child, usually a troubled teen, will be sent to “reform school?”  What exactly is a reform school?  Are they still running?  Did they ever truly reform a child?

Years ago this expression of “reform school” was used as a threat and in some cases carried out by parents.  Today we have learned (or hopefully have learned) that beating a child into submission rarely changes them for the better.  This is strictly hypothetically speaking, not literally beating, however making the conditions extremely unbearable.

Programs such as “boot camps” can, in my opinion and what I have discovered, can actually build more anger and resentment within a child.  That anger and resentment can be targeted at the person that sent them there: The parent.

If you find you are having difficulties with your teenager, and have discovered it has escalated to a point where you can no longer live with it, consider options that can help your teen, not harm him/her.  After exhausting all your local resources such as school counselors, therapists, support groups, even out-patient programs, it may be time to consider residential therapy. 

I am not sure reform schools even exist anymore, but I know some people still refer to residential therapy as a reform school.  A true residential therapy program, whether it is an Emotional Growth School, Therapeutic Boarding School or Residential Treatment Center should not employ the harsh and punitive treatment we have see in movies such as Sleepers or sadly seen in the news about some boot camps and teen help programs.

Learn more about locating safe alternatives from my own experiences, A Parent’s True Story, which is also included in my book, Wit’s End! Advice and Resources for Saving Your Out-Of-Control-Teen

Keep in mind, Military Schools are not equipped to handle teens with behavioral issues.  They offer structure, but usually are not able to handle a teen that is escalating out of control.

Remember, don’t be a parent in denial, get your teen help if they need it.  It is a parent’s responsibility.  It is not about “shipping” a teen off – it is about giving him/her a second chance at a healthy and bright future. 

Learn from my experiences, gain from my knowledge.

Watch video.

Also on Examiner.

Parents Universal Resource Experts – Sue Scheff: Just say NO to Boot Camps

As my series continues for the New Year in helping educate parents about the daunting “business” of teen help programs and schools, one thing is for sure in my experiences, just say no to boot camps

This is a strong opinion I have had for years, for many reasons.  Many parents believe  a good wake up call will shake up their teen, what they are not considering is the anger and resentment most boot camps can instill in your teen.

Let’s face it, in many cases your teen is already filled with anger and rage, even hate – do you honestly believe that placing them in a rigid and “punitive” environment will help them?  I am not saying your child deserves a trip to Atlantis, however they need a program or school that will work on their emotional growth and find out “why” they are acting out negatively – where are these negative impulsivities coming from?

From there you can move forward and work towards recovery.  A program or school should be structured with positive discipline as well offer the nurturing environment that can stimulate your teen in a positive direction.  The end goal is to bring your family back together.

In Florida,  many if not all, boot camps have been closed down.  The death of Martin Lee Anderson in a Florida Boot Camp shocked our country with the realities of what Boot Camps can be like for teens.  Although he wasn’t a saint, he didn’t deserve the treatment that eventually ended in his death. 

If you are a parent and thinking about sending your troubled or struggling teenager to a boot camp, think twice.  Also use caution since many programs advertise as boot camps to lure you in, be an educated parent, do your homework.  You want to help  your teen, not destroy them.

Learn more about finding safe and qualified schools and programs.  Visit www.helpyourteens.comParents’ Universal Resource Experts is about educating and guiding parents.  Learn from my mistakes, gain from my knowledge.

Are you at your wit’s end and need help?  Learn how to find the best placement for your teen.

Footnote: Boot Camps and Military Schools are completely different.

Also on Examiner.com

Parents’ Universal Resource Experts – Sue Scheff – Troubled Teens

Are you at your wit’s end? 

Are you experiencing any of the following situations or feeling at a complete loss or a failure as a parent?  You are not alone and by being a proactive parent you are taking the first step towards healing and bringing your family back together

  • Is your teen escalating out of control?
  • Is your teen becoming more and more defiant and disrespectful?
  • Is your teen manipulative? Running your household?
  • Are you hostage in your own home by your teen’s negative behavior?
  • Is your teen angry, violent or rage outbursts?
  • Is your teen verbally abusive?
  • Is your teen rebellious, destructive and withdrawn?
  • Is your teen aggressive towards others or animals?
  • Is your teen using drugs and/or alcohol?
  • Does your teen belong to a gang?
  • Do they frequently runaway or leave home for extended periods of time?
  • Has their appearance changed – piercing, tattoo’s, inappropriate clothing?
  • Has your teen stopped participating in sports, clubs, church and family functions?  Have they become withdrawn from society?
  • Is your teen very intelligent yet not working up to their potential? Underachiever?  Capable of doing the work yet not interested in education.
  • Does he/she steal?
  • Is your teen sexually active?
  • Teen pregnancy
  • Is your teen a good kid but making bad choices?
  • Undesirable peers? Is your teen a follower or a leader?
  • Low self esteem and low self worth?
  • Lack of motivation?  Low energy?
  • Mood SwingsAnxiety?
  • Teen depression that leads to negative behavior?
  • Eating Disorders?  Weight loss? Weight gain?
  • Self-Harm or Self Mutilation?
  • High School drop-out?
  • Suspended or Expelled from school?
  • Suicidal thoughts or attempts?
  • Is your teen involved in legal problems? Have they been arrested?
  • Juvenile Delinquent?
  • Conduct Disorder?
  • Bipolar?
  • Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD)?

 Does your teen refuse to take accountability and always blame others for their mistakes?

wits Do you feel hopeless, helpless and powerless over what options you have as a parent?  Are you at your wit’s end? 

Does any of the above sound familiar?  Many parents are at their wit’s end by the time they contact us, but the most important thing many need to know is you are not alone.  There is help but the parent needs to be proactive and educate themselves in getting the right help. 

Many try local therapy, which is always recommended, but in most cases, this is a very temporary band-aid to a more serious problem.  One or two hours a week with a therapist is usually not enough to make the major changes that need to be done.    

we_are_parents_tooIf you feel you are at your wit’s end and are considering outside resources, please contact us. http://www.helpyourteens.com/free_information.shtml  

 An informed parent is an educated parent and will better prepare to you to make the best decision for your child.  It is critical not to place your child out of his/her element.  In many cases placing a teen that is just starting to make bad choices into a hard core environment may cause more problems.  Be prepared – do your homework.

 Many parents are in denial and keep hoping and praying the situation is going to change.  Unfortunately in many cases, the problems usually escalate without immediate attention.  Don’t be parents in denial; be proactive in getting your teen the appropriate help they may need.  Whether it is local therapy or outside the home assistance, be in command of the situation before it spirals out of control and you are at a place of desperation.  At wit’s end is not a pleasant place to be, but so many of us have been there. 

Finding the best school or program for your child is one of the most important steps a parent does.  Remember, your child is not for sale – don’t get drawn into high pressure sales people, learn from my mistakes.  Read my story at www.aparentstruestory.com for the mistakes I made that nearly destroyed my daughter. 

 In searching for schools and programs we look for the following:

  • Helping Teens – not Harming them
  • Building them up – not Breaking them down
  • Positive and Nurturing Environments – not Punitive
  • Family Involvement in Programs – not Isolation from the teen
  • Protect Children – not Punish them

Parents Universal Resource Experts – Sue Scheff – Military Schools

oakridgeAs a parent that had a son graduate a very prestigious Military School, I know the firsthand what an honor and privilege he was given. Many parents think of Military Schools as a punishment or where the “troubled” kids go – that is simply a myth. My son was accepted in accordance with his GPA as well as letters of references and interviewing with the school. It is almost as rigid as applying for some colleges. To further my opinion of Military Schools, when my son interviewed and applied to Universities, all the Admissions Directors were extremely impressed with his schooling at a Military School  and was accepted to all the colleges he applied to.

Has your child mentioned military academies to you? Have they expressed an interest in attending such a school? If so, you as a parent have an obligation to listen, and more importantly to help them make the right decision.  Many ADD/ADHD  students do very well in Military Schools.

A military school teaches various ages (middle school, high school, or both) in a manner that includes military traditions and training in military subjects. The military is a prominent force in America today, and with so much press it is very easy for a child to become exposed to this type of education as a viable option in their own lives. While this is perfectly acceptable on its own, like many of life’s choices it needs to be considered fully before a commitment is made. There are many factors that go into choosing the type of schooling that is appropriate for your child, and it is important that you and your child approach the subject together, as the both of you will have to reap the consequences of this decision in the future.

It is advisable to assess honestly the needs of your child, the requirements that will be placed upon them in a military school and what you as a parent bring to the mix. With many students the structure and positive discipline that military schools  offer are very beneficial. It not only encourages them to become the best they can be, it enhances them to grow into mature respectable young men and women. Military schools and academies offer a student the opportunity to reach their highest academic potential as well as build up their self-esteem to make better choices in today’s society, within a very rigid and disciplined framework. It is this framework that forms the backbone of the military school experience, and one of the chief distinctions between military educations and those of other schools. It is important to note that this structure will suit some students more than others, and this will largely determine a child’s chances of success in a military school setting. Military schools can give your child the vision to reach their goals and dreams for their future. The high level of academics combined with small class sizes create a strong educational background from which they grow into productive, happy adults.

If you have questions for me, please visit www.helpyourteens.com – and email or call me. Second semester is starting soon, it is a great opportunity to see if your child is a good candidate for Military School.


Troubled Teens and Military Schools by Sue Scheff

Some parents may have a teen they feel is in need of special attention needs. Often times parents look at the public school system and realize that it is not fully equipped to handle troubled teenagers. This leads many parents to turn to military schools as an option to discipline and educate their troubled teenagers. Unfortunately, it is a common misconception among many parents that military school can “cure” or somehow transform an unruly child into a model of propriety. Military schools, which seemed headed for extinction in the late 1960s and early ’70s, have seen enrollments increase steadily in recent years. Many military schools are jammed to capacity and sport long waiting lists, as anxious parents scramble for slots.

While parents may seek a military school with the hopes that it can provide exactly the discipline they believe their teenager needs, most military schools are seeking motivated candidates that want to be a part of a proud and distinguished institutional history. Many students do not realize they would enjoy military school until they actually visit the campus and understand the honor it is to attend. Typically, traditional military schools will not accept a student who does not want to be there; as such, it is very difficult to find a military school that will accept a teen that has a history of behavioral problems. Parents should realize that attending military school is a privilege and honor for the right candidate, and they are encouraged to emphasize this to their children as well.

The very common misperception of military schools as reforming institutions is a direct result of some states’ policies of having chosen to house their child (juvenile) criminal populations in higher-security boarding schools that are run in a manner similar to military boarding schools. These are also called reform schools, and are functionally a combination of school and prison. They attempt to emulate the high standards of established military boarding schools in the hope that a strict structured environment can reform these delinquent children that have often times run afoul of the law. The results of these institutions vary, and successful reform may or may not be the case, depending on the institution and it’s “students.” Popular culture sometimes shows parents sending or threatening to send unruly children off to military school, and this reinforces the incorrect, negative stereotype.

However, military programs for troubled teens do exist; these specialized military schools can provide the most effective ways to teach your teenager how to be a respectable, hard-working, and responsible human being. Keep in mind, however, that these military schools, like their counterparts, are not for punishment; they are a time for growth. Many are privately run institutions, though some are public and are run by either a public school system (such as the Chicago Public Schools), or by a state. Regardless, this should not reflect on the long and distinguished history of military schools; their associations are traditionally those of high academic achievement, with solid college preparatory curricula, schooling in the military arts, and considerably esteemed graduates.

Many ADD/ADHD students do very well in a military school or military academy-type setting, due to the structure and positive discipline. Many parents whose children have been diagnosed ADD/ADHD have considered this type of environment, and found it to be beneficial to their child’s development. In these instances many times parents will start by enrolling their child in a summer program to determine if their child is a viable candidate for that particular military school. Provided the child responds in a positive manner, they can extend the enrollment to subsequent terms.

 Visit www.helpyourteens.com for more information.