Choosing The Best Programs For Troubled Teens

It can be extremely stressful to raise a teen with major behavioral issues and it is discouraging when none of your efforts to help him seem to make an impact. At this point, many parents begin considering full time therapeutic programs; however, some of them, like military schools and boot camps have developed a negative reputation for excessive discipline or harsh measures. Rest assured that there are many programs designed to help troubled teens from a therapeutic standpoint, rather than “scare them straight” tactics. Such facilities offer an immersive and safe environment where teens are able to identify their core issues with the help of trained and caring staff. Removing your son from his daily environment with its temptations and triggers can be life changing, as long as you select a program that is a good fit for him.

What Facilities Should I Look For?


While you are researching possible facilities for your son, it is important to consider what his needs actually are. Many programs, such as military schools and boot camps do nothing to address the underlying issues that are causing poor behavior and the long term success rate is fairly low. Instead of simply focusing on the bad behavior, consider that they are only symptoms for a deeper problem, which requires therapeutic counseling. Facilities such as therapeutic boarding schools and residential treatment centers are ideal for handling troubled teens with such challenges. While most facilities offer a some combination of therapy, academics, recreation and life skills opportunities, there are some factors to consider to ensure you are choosing the best program for your son.

  • Safety – Each state requires different levels of accreditation, safety and experience from their teen help programs. Explore the laws and regulations for your state to see what the minimum standards are for the programs you are considering. Keep in mind that most parents place their sons in out of state options if the regulations in their own do not offer peace of mind.
  • Individual Attention – Effective therapeutic schools understand that each boy needs regular coaching and guidance in order to meet individual goals. Your son should receive an official assessment by a qualified therapist when he arrives in order to create a pan of care that is unique to him. Consistent and individual attention by the staff will allow them to update his goals and incentives as he progresses through the program.
  • Therapy Program – Seek out a facility that implements a variety of therapy options. Different opportunities help teens find a solution that they connect with in order to treat the symptom from the inside out and create positive coping patterns for long term success.
  • Parental Involvement – Your involvement in your son’s care is extremely important. While most facilities require initial distance while students settle in and learn to trust their new surroundings, you should select a facility that is going to make you an integral part of his healing experience and values your input. After all, you will play a large role in helping him transition home and maintain his hard work.

Liahona Academy is a residential treatment center in southern Utah. We specialize in helping troubled teen boys learn to correct or manage their behavioral issues. For questions about our program, or a free consultation, please contact us at 1-800-675-8101.

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