Therapeutic Boarding Schools: Does My Teen Need One?

Order Wit's End today.

Order Wit’s End today.

After the tragic events of Sandy Hook Elementary the world sits in a state of horror and mourns for the children and heroes we lost.

The questions linger, could this have been prevented?  Is it about gun control?  Is it about mental health?

Working with parents of at-risk teens on a weekly basis, I know firsthand that families are at their wit’s end searching for help.  Some are literally scared of their own child.  Some are scared of what they read online about residential treatment centers.  I don’t blame them – I was once a victim of this industry myself, which is why I am a Parent Advocate today.  I have made it my mission to help parents find safe and quality residential therapy for their struggling teens.

Let’s discuss if your teens does need residential care also know as therapeutic boarding schools?

How to know when it is time for Residential Therapy:

  • You have read and re-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 Therapy can help when nothing else does:

  • RTC (residential treatment center) or TBS (therapeutic boarding school) 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.

My book, Wit’s End! Advice and Resources for Saving Your Out-of-Control Teen (HCI), outline a complete detailed list for parents that are seeking help.  Starting with local resources to deciding if you need an RTC or a TBS and the differences.

For more assistance, please contact us at www.helpyourteens.com.  We offer a free consultation as well helpful hints and tips on our website for finding programs and schools.

Join me on Facebook and follow me on Twitter for more parenting insights.

Advertisements

Troubled Teens: Parent Help in Finding Resources

Parents of at-risk teens have many common thoughts, here are some of them:

My daughter is so smart, she is highly intelligent.
My son is extremely handsome, very athletic and always had lots of friends.
My daughter is beautiful, was the captain of her cheerleading team etc….
My son has an IQ of 170, yet is failing.
My daughter wants to drop out of high school.
My son wants to get his GED and is not attending school.
My daughter made the varsity team and yet dropped out.
My son was swim captain and now was asked to leave the team. (He was caught with pot, but said it was his friends.
My daughter smokes pot, but it is only recreational.
My son likes to drink beer, but it isn’t all the time.

Helpyourteens.com

Excuses for parents:

It is the friends he/she is hanging with.
The teacher doesn’t like my son/daughter.
The school has zero tolerance.
His father isn’t around enough.
The coach expects too much.
If it wasn’t for this one neighbor, we wouldn’t have these issues.

Okay, these lists could go on for a long time but at the end of the day, week, month, year – it is YOUR son/daughter making the choice to hang with a certain friend, be a part of an undesirable peer group, and smoke that joint with a swig of alcohol!

Parents that continue to live in this ship of denial will end up with many regrets.
Parent that believe that sending their teen to a residential therapy program for help is a sign of their (the parent’s) failure, are very much mistaken.
Parents that hope and pray things will change – we only wish them the best, in some (very rare) situations, it will get better.
Parents that believe changing schools will make a difference, think twice.
Parents that literally move and believe things will change with a fresh start, think again.

Like adults that attempt to run from their problems, your teens are no different.  If they are struggling now, chances are very good they will be struggling shortly after the change again.

You are not a failure, this is not your fault – and it is time to stop the blaming and start the healing.  After exhausting all your local resources – it may be time to find outside help, and that can mean residential.

True, you don’t want to put your teen in a program that houses hard-core teens, but it is also true you need to find a program that has strong emotional growth (clinical), fully accredited academically (don’t miss out on an education), as well as the critical component of enrichment programs. You need to find the passion in your teen to help stimulate them to a positive direction in life.

Learn more by visiting www.helpyourteens.com.

Residential Treatment Centers (RTC), Therapeutic Boarding Schools (TBS), Emotional Growth Programs, Wilderness Programs, State Funded Programs, Programs for Low-Income, Boot Camps, Scared Straight Programs, Tough Love, Summer Camps, Short Term Programs, Traditional Boarding Schools, Military Schools, Reform Schools, JAIL.

Parents Universal Resource Experts – Sue Scheff: Gangs – Be a part of a strategy to reduce gangs in your neighborhood

One of a parent’s greatest fears is if their teen becomes a member of a gang, or is even considering it.  Whether it is peer pressure or a feeling of low self worth, teens can be vulnerable if they are striving to “fit in” with what they consider a “cool group.”

By joining a gang, teens have a social network already established for them with friends who are literally ready to die for them. This infrastructure can fill a void in a young person’s life quickly and easily; however, it is in a negative way. The teenage years are a formative and difficult time for many people and joining a gang is a simple way to feel liked and popular. In dangerous neighborhoods, joining a gang can actually provide protection from other gangs, which is attractive for many people.

Florida Gang Reduction  organization was formed to help reduce gangs in Florida. This Strategy outlines a comprehensive plan for communities to develop specific solutions to dramatically reduce gang membership and gang-related activities by:  

  • Empowering youth to lead productive gang-free lives;
  • Improving law enforcement suppression efforts; and,
  • Addressing rehabilitation and re-entry issues.

The Strategy calls for the formation of seven Gang Reduction Task Forces throughout the state of Florida.

Research indicates that parents play a pivotal role in keeping young people out of gangs. Negative influences within the family-including domestic violence, child abuse, harsh or inconsistent parenting practices, and/or drug/alcohol abuse by family members-can increase the risk that a youth will join a gang.

Parents can protect their children from gang activity through taking positive actions, such as monitoring their children’s activities, fostering close relationships with them, and using positive discipline strategies. However, parents often lack factual information about gangs. – Parents Guide to Gangs

Part 1 of a series about gangs in Florida.

Learn more about Hanging With the Wrong Crowd.

Be an educated parent, you will have safer teens.
Read more on Examiner.

Parents Universal Resource Experts – Sue Scheff: Teens fearful to go to school

stompoutbullyingDuring this STOMPOUTBULYING Awareness week, we need to recognize that some kids and teens are afraid to attend school. Bullying can be harsh and cause emotional harm to your kids. As a parent, we need to take steps to learn more about bullying and how it affects our children. Is your child the bully? Be proactive and get involved. Don’t allow kids to hurt others with malicious words. Stick and stones will hurt you, and so will words.

Source: Connect with Kids

Scared to go to School

“We know that there’s a sense that kids have, that frequently when somebody does engage in bullying nothing happens. That’s sometimes because it’s viewed as, ‘this is just what kids do’ or it’s just not recognized as bullying or something out of the ordinary that should not be accepted.”
– Joel Meyers, Ph.D, psychologist

A new national poll on children’s health finds that only a quarter of American parents would give their child’s school an “A” in preventing bullying and school violence. In fact, every day in America thousands of kids miss school because they’re afraid of being bullied or harassed.

Andre Johnson remembers some of the verbal harassment he dealt with at school. “You faggot, you got a little sugar in your tank, sissy,” were just some of the names he was called.

“There would be times when I just wouldn’t go to class,” he says.

Every day, thousands of kids like Andre are afraid to go to school for similar reasons.

Experts say one of the biggest problems is that some adults and children still view bullying as normal teenage behavior.

“We know that there’s a sense that kids have, that frequently when somebody does engage in bullying nothing happens,” explains psychologist Joel Meyers. “That’s sometimes because it’s viewed as, ‘this is just what kids do’ or it’s just not recognized as bullying or something out of the ordinary that should not be accepted.”

He says schools need to have clear and accurate policies on bullying, confidential ways to report harassment, a safe haven within the school. “But more importantly,” says Meyers, “I think you need to have mechanisms in place where teachers learn what bullying is, so they know how to identify it, so they know how to respond, so they don’t think, ‘oh, that’s just kids, that’s just what kids do’.”

And, experts say, parents shouldn’t underestimate their power within the school.

“Parents have got to realize that it’s just not the schools that can do this,” explains Vermont state representative Peter Hunt. “The schools receive these kids. The schools really have to have the parents’ support.”

Some educators say parents, teachers, and children should all fight for a kind of “zero tolerance” for bullying.

“If zero tolerance means that whenever a child engages in bullying behavior that there are natural and meaningful consequences to those negative behaviors, if that’s what’s meant by zero tolerance, then that makes sense,” explains Meyers.

With support from his mother and friends, Andre was able to overcome the harassment and, best of all, accept himself. “It was like around my junior year when I started not to care anymore,” he says, “and I was like, ‘okay, I don’t care anymore – who knows, who don’t knows, whatever. You like it, you don’t like it, so what. It’s me, not you.”

Tips for Parents

Who is likely to be a victim of bullying? The National Resource Center for Safe Schools says that passive loners are the most frequent victims, especially if they cry easily or lack social self-defense skills. Many victims are unable to deflect a conflict with humor and don’t think quickly on their feet. They are usually anxious, insecure and cautious and suffer from low self-esteem. In addition, they rarely defend themselves or retaliate and tend to lack friends, making them easy to isolate.

If you suspect that your child is being bullied, you can help him or her in the following ways cited by the Committee for Children:

■Encourage your child to report bullying incidents to you. Validate your child’s feelings by letting him or her know that it is normal to feel hurt, sad, scared, angry, etc. Help your child be specific in describing bullying incidents – who, what, where and when.
■Ask your child how he or she has tried to stop the bullying. Coach him or her in possible coping methods – avoidance of the bully and making new friends for support.
■Treat the school as your ally. Share your child’s concerns and specific information around bullying incidents with appropriate school personnel. Work with school staff to protect your child from possible retaliation. Establish a plan with the school and your child for dealing with future bullying incidents. Volunteer time to help supervise on field trips, on the playground or in the lunchroom. And become an advocate for school-wide bullying prevention programs and policies.
■Encourage your child to continue to talk with you about all bullying incidents. Never ignore your child’s report. Remember that you should not advise your child to physically fight back. Bullying lasts longer and becomes more severe when children fight back, and physical injuries often result. Also, you should not confront the bullying child or his or her parents.
Unlike victims, bullies appear to suffer little anxiety and possess strong self-esteem, according to the National Resource Center for Safe Schools. They often come from homes where physical punishment is used and where children are taught to strike back physically as a way of handling problems. Bullies thus believe that it is all right for stronger children to hit weaker children. They frequently lack parental warmth and involvement and seem to desire power and control.

If you suspect that your child is bullying others, the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP) suggests you seek help for him or her as soon as possible. Without intervention, bullying can lead to serious academic, social, emotional and legal difficulties. Talk to your child’s pediatrician, teacher, principal, school counselor or family physician. If the bullying continues, the AACAP advises you to arrange a comprehensive evaluation of your child by a child and adolescent psychiatrist or other mental health professional should be arranged.

The Coalition for Children says that you can also help your child by discussing with him or her these key points about bullying:

■Remind your child that bullying is not acceptable in your family or in society.
■Provide your child with alternatives to taking frustration or aggression out on others. You can even role-play different ways to behave in situations where your child would normally bully another.
■Specify concretely the consequences if the aggression or bullying continue.

While bullying, harassment and teasing are unfortunate aspects of childhood, you can help minimize these occurrences by raising non-violent children. The American Academy of Pediatrics cites the following tips for curbing hurtful behavior in your child:

■Give your child consistent love and attention. Every child needs a strong, loving, relationship with a parent or other adult to feel safe and secure and to develop a sense of trust. Without a steady bond to a caring adult, a child is at risk for becoming hostile, difficult and hard to manage.
■Make sure your child is supervised. A child depends on his or her parents and family members for encouragement, protection and support as he or she learns to think for himself or herself. Without proper supervision, your child will not receive the guidance he or she needs. Studies report that unsupervised children often have behavior problems.
■Show your child appropriate behaviors by the way you act. Children often learn by example. The behavior, values and attitudes of parents and siblings have a strong influence on them. Most children sometimes act aggressively and may hit another person. Be firm with your child about the possible dangers of violent behavior. Also remember to praise your child when he or she solves problems constructively without violence.
■Don’t hit your child. Hitting or slapping your child as punishment shows him or her that it’s OK to hit others to solve problems and can train him or her to punish others in the same way he or she were punished.
■Be consistent about rules and discipline. When you make a rule, stick to it. Your child needs structure with clear expectations for his or her behavior. Setting rules and then not enforcing them is confusing and sets up your child to “see what he or she can get away with.”
■Make sure your child does not have access to guns. Guns and children can be a deadly combination. Teach your child about the dangers of firearms or other weapons if you own and use them. If you keep a gun in your home, unload it and lock it up separately from the bullets. Don’t carry a gun or a weapon. If you do, this tells your child that using guns solves problems.
■Try to keep your child from seeing violence in the home or community. Violence in the home can be frightening and harmful to children. A child who has seen violence at home does not always become violent, but he or she may be more likely to try to resolve conflicts with violence.
■Try to keep your child from seeing too much violence in the media. Watching a lot of violence on television, in the movies and in video games can lead children to behave aggressively. As a parent, you can control the amount of violence your child sees in the media by limiting television viewing and previewing games, movies, etc., before allowing access to them by your child.
■Help your child stand up against violence. Support your child in standing up against violence. Teach him or her to respond with calm but firm words when others insult, threaten or hit another person. Help your child understand that it takes more courage and leadership to resist violence than to go along with it.

References
■American Academy of Pediatrics
■American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry
■Coalition for Children
■Committee for Children
■Families and Work Institute
■National Resource Center for Safe Schools
■National School Safety Center
■U.S. Department of Education

Parents Universal Resource Experts – Sue Scheff – Getting Teen Help

we_are_parents_tooParent’s Universal Resource Experts, Inc. (P.U.R.E.™) is an organization that was founded in 2001 by Sue Scheff.  For the past several years Parent’s Universal Resource’s has assisted families with valuable information and resources for their children and teens that are at risk.  Teens that are struggling with today’s peer pressure, experimenting with drugs and alcohol, and simply good kids starting to make bad choices.  We have many very satisfied families that have used our services.  Please take a moment to read some of our testimonials.

Whether you are seeking Boarding Schools, Therapeutic Boarding Schools, Residential Treatment Centers, Wilderness Programs, Christian Schools, Summer Programs, Military Schools and more, Parent’s Universal Resource’s can offer you options to explore to help educate you in a very important decision for your child and family.  We invite you to fill out a Free Consultation Form for more information.

Parent’s Universal Resource Expert’s™ are parents helping parents.  As a parent that experienced and survived a difficult teen, we believe that desperate parents are at high risk of making rash and detrimental decisions in choosing the best placement for their child.  Please take a moment to read my story – “A Parent’s True Story” – which is one the reasons this organization was created. 

As a member of the Better Business Bureau for many years we are an organization that prides ourselves in helping others and bringing families back together

There are many Doctors, Attorney’s, Therapists, Police Departments, Schools, Guidance Counselors, and other professionals that refer Parent’s Universal Resource’s to families.  In many cases, after a family has used our service, they recommend us to their friends and relatives.  We have built our reputation on trust and putting families first.  At Parent’s Universal Resource’s we believe in bringing families back together.

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 themIf you are a parent struggling with your teen today, get help, don’t be a parent in denial.  I speak with many parents that believe it is only “smoking pot” – but remember, marijuana is the gateway to other drugs.  Is your child very intelligent, yet failing in school?  Not working up to their academic potential? Underachiever? Dropping out of sports or activities they once loved?  Find out why.
  • witsRead more about my journey with my daughter in Wit’s End! Advice and Resources for Saving Your Out Of Control Teen.

    Learn from my mistakes, gain from my knowledge. You are not alone.

    Parents Universal Resource Experts – Sue Scheff – Parenting Difficult Teens

    teentoughloveIt stems back to “children need to have their self-esteem built up to make good decisions.” Today most families are either single parent or both parents are working full time. This is not the fault of the teen, nor is it the fault of the parents. It is today’s world and we must try to find the middle.  Troubled teens, rebellious teens, angry teens, problem teens, difficult teens, depressed teens; unfortunately are part of the society of adolescents today.

    Communication is always the first to go when people get busy. We have seen this over and over again. We have also experienced it and feel that our children shut us out; this can lead to difficult teens and teens with problems. Although we are tired and exhausted, along with the stress of today’s life, we need to stop and take a moment for our kids. Talk and LISTEN to them. Ask lots of questions, get to know their friends and their friend’s parents, take part in their interests, be supportive if they are having a hard time, even if you can’t understand it; be there for them. 

    This all sounds so easy and so simple, but take it from parents that have walked this path, it is not easy. When a parent works a full day, has stress from the job along with household chores, not to mention the bills, it is hard to find that moment. We are all guilty of neglect at one time or another after all, we are only human and can only do so much. We feel the exhaustion mounting watching our teens grow more out of control, yet we are too tired to address it. Out of control teens can completely disrupt a family and cause marriages to break up as well as emotional breakdowns.

    We know many feel it is just a stage, and with some, it may be. However most times it does escalate to where we are today. Researching for help; P.U.R.E. is here for you, as we have been where you are today. Do you have a difficult teen, struggling teen, defiant teen, out of control teen, rebellious teen, angry teen, depressed teen? Do you feel hopeless, at your wits end?  Visit www.helpyourteens.com.

    If you feel your teen is in need of further Boarding School,
    Military School or Program Options, please complete our Information Request Form. Please visit Informational Articles for more beneficial information.  Read more about Parents’ Universal Resource Experts.

    Parents Universal Resource Experts – Sue Scheff – Parents At Their Wit’s End

    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 Swings?  Anxiety?
    • 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?
    • ADD/ADHD/LD/ODD?
    • 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?

     

    • 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.   

     

    If 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