Let’s face it, if you’re reading this it’s likely you’ve been struggling with your teenager for awhile and at your wit’s end. Have you exhausted your local resources and now considering a therapeutic boarding school.
This is not an easy decision to come to — one-on-one therapy failed, school counseling was unsuccessful, in some situations a short-term hospital stay wasn’t helpful. Now you understand your child needs help from outside professionals that you can’t provide at home. The truth is, you are not alone, many of us have been on this road and although you can’t see it now, it will get better.
Every parent fears that their teen will hate them for this decision, however after doing your due diligence in researching programs, it’s the opposite that happens.
We believe in positive and encouraging schools and programs, environments that build your teen up to make better choices and determine where their negative behavior is stemming from. This is why doing your homework in choosing the program is crucial.
Initially your teen may enter the program and not like you very much (it may feel like hate to you and them) but — they actually will grow from their fear and anger.
Your teen will likely be scared of the new situation and may also promise to “do better at home” however you know that you have already heard all these promises and spent a long time trying. It’s time to be the adult, be the parent and do what is best for your child. It is at this time that talking to other parents can be very supportive for you — parents that have taken this journey before you, maybe from the same program you have selected for your teen. Ask the director for others to speak with.
We never recommend parents threaten their child about sending them away, since choosing residential therapy is such an amazing opportunity for your teen to develop coping skills they may be lacking, improve self-esteem to make better choices, learn anger and stress management skills and most of all – improve their overall mental wellness.
Most of these programs’ strengths are aimed at emotional growth and wellness – academics are typically secondary, but are important. Always be sure the academics are accredited and the therapists are licensed. Keep in mind, without emotional wellness – nothing will work in life.
We encourage parents to find programs with enrichment programs that will stimulate your teen such as: animal-assisted therapy, sports, horticulture therapy, music therapy, dance, art therapy and more.
In our experience, your teen will likely grow from fear and anger they already have — to love and understanding that this decision was made with their best interests in mind.
We are parents too, and we know this is a tough decision, but it is one of the most loving decisions you can make for your teen’s future. As someone that walked this path, I know personally how stressful and difficult this journey can be.
The majority of parents have to employ a transport service to safely get their teen to a program. Although this can seem deceptive, again, you will be pleasantly surprised that your teen will not hate you.
We encourage you to talk to other parents and teens that have used these services to better understand how they work. Don’t rely on the internet and some stories that are geared towards fearmongering. Be smart, hire licensed and insured teams, talk to references and get your child the help they need.
This is a major financial and emotional decision; it’s going to impact your teen on so many levels in their long-term life. It’s why since 2001 we’ve been educating parents about the teen help industry and finding the best fit for your individual needs.