If you're considering transferring your son to a therapeutic boarding school, you might also be wondering how the change will affect your family as a whole. It's wise to weigh all the possible impacts of a large change to the family dynamics.
Restoring the Family
It can feel like a troubled teen is tearing the entire family apart, but that doesn't have to be the case. Many boarding schools for troubled youth also focus on restoring a healthy family dynamic in addition to healing your teen's individual issues. The truth is, healing the family bonds can't be ignored because it is an integral part of a troubled teen's recovery. Therapeutic boarding schools consider supporting and restoring the family as their number one responsibility. In fact, many boarding schools see themselves as an extension of your family, even to the point of operating as a family unit.
Students are reminded -- and retaught, if necessary -- that a cornerstone of happiness, stability, and success in life is to become a contributing family member. A functioning family contains members who are responsible to each other and serve each other. They communicate and interact in a positive manner, even when there are disagreements.
You may start with a boy who is exhibiting troubles like depression, poor peer choice, defiance, or other negative behaviors, but one key to bringing harmony to the family is to heal the family as a whole and to restore hope. To that end, many schools for troubled boys also offer various forms of family therapy. Parents tend to look at these therapy sessions as an opportunity to give the entire family a fresh start. These sessions prepare everyone for the student's recovery and return to his home environment.
Healing the entire family means that family visits with your teen at school are critical to his success. Not only will he enjoy seeing you -- and vice versa! -- but everyone will get a chance to practice what he's learning and participate in his success. Family visits also ensure that you are kept abreast of exactly where your son is in the recovery process and how he's headed toward his goals.
Family therapy while a teen is at a therapeutic boarding school can also help each family member as an individual -- including you. Sometimes we unwittingly instigate or encourage negative behaviors and just knowing what those behaviors are can help eliminate interaction issues. Good relationships take work on the part of all parties involved. It takes courage to face troubles head-on, but a good boarding school will facilitate the process in a constructive way during family visits. Most parents are relieved to discover that there are behaviors under their own control which will help their child recover.