If you are looking for fast help for your troubled teen son, you will find plenty of solutions offered by various types of programs across the nation. These programs differ in length, focus, goals and emphasis, depending on how they are structured. You might choose one of the following for your child.
- Therapeutic boarding school – Therapeutic boarding school, sometimes called emotional growth boarding school, offers a focus on education combined with private and group counseling for teens who are struggling with various emotional or behavioral issues, such as substance abuse, learning disabilities, or mental health challenges. The programs offer a holistic approach to treatment, and parental participation is strongly encouraged.
- Boys’ ranch – These are usually therapeutic boarding schools, but they add the dimension of horses and other activities that you would normally expect to find at a ranch.
- Christian boarding school – These schools are similar to a therapeutic boarding school but with a Christian perspective.
- Residential treatment center – These facilities address specific needs for your son, such as substance abuse addiction, self-harming behaviors or eating disorders, on a short-term basis. Some students attend a therapeutic boarding school after completing treatment.
- Military boarding school – Also called teen boot camps, these programs are extremely structured and disciplined. Teens participate in hours of exercise each day and must closely adhere to the rules or face strict consequences. These short-term programs have come under serious criticisms due to dangerous practices, injuries and even deaths. According to a federal study reported by the American Bar Association in June 2009, the government found more than 1,600 incidents of child abuse in 2005 at juvenile boot camps in 33 states. The types of abuse included dehydration, beatings, denial of proper nutrition, serious humiliation and even death, in some cases.
- Wilderness programs – These programs focus on survival in nature with very limited resources. Teens camp out and need to depend on themselves and each other in order to make it through three to 21 days in the wild. Some programs include a few days of isolation, thinking about what brought them to this place in their lives.
Educational Placement Specialist
If you are the parent of a troubled boy and you are looking for help, you can research various types of programs on your own. However, unearthing all of the ins and outs of treatment can be extremely challenging and time-consuming, and it’s often difficult to tell which programs are best without physically visiting them. However, you do have the option of using an educational placement specialist, or a professional who knows which out-of-home placement might work most effectively, depending on your child’s needs. These professionals look at each type of program and consider your son’s issues before they recommend a facility. They are not affiliated with the programs but can do on-site visits even if you cannot go to a program in person.