While you as a parent have done plenty of research on schools for troubled teens before deciding to send your child there, most teens simply get told that they are going to a new boarding school and may not get much information. There are lots of misconceptions about teen help programs like therapeutic boarding schools, residential treatment centers, wilderness camps, boot camps, and more.
The bad news is that troubled teens often have stereotypical ideas of what a therapeutic boarding school might be like, and your teen may have heard some horror stories that may not even be true. The good news is that once your teen gets to the school and starts to participate, they soon find they are in the best spot possible. In no time at all, those stereotypes will be swept away and the new reality will be a natural part of your teen's life.
Here are 5 things that your son will never expect from schools for troubled teens:
1. The school is safe and secure. Whether they are leaving troublesome friends, a violent home, or some other kind of tense and negative environment, troubled teens really seek a place to call their own that is safe and supportive. At boarding school, they are out of their past atmosphere and in a structured place where they can focus on themselves.
2. The staff are experienced. Unlike traditional schools, the staff and faculty at a boarding school for troubled teens is trained specifically to deal with adolescents who need help with emotional, behavioral or mental health issues. Rather than get frustrated and suspend teens, the staff at these specialized schools work one-on-one to get them the help they need.
3. The therapy is good. Troubled boys are generally used to being passed from one school counselor to the next, and may attend some therapy sessions for a few hours each week. At schools for troubled teens, they get regular individual and group therapy to get to the root of their issues, from ADD/ADHD and depression to anxiety and abuse trauma. The licensed therapists incorporate therapy into the teen's school and recreational programs as well.
4. The academic side isn't so bad. By the time troubled teen boys get to the point of enrolling in a boarding school, they've generally had some bad experiences at their traditional school such as skipping class, failing tests and dealing with frustrated teachers and peers. At boarding schools for troubled teens, licensed teachers with experience working with special education needs manage small classes and tailor their teaching to fit each teen's needs. Teens quickly get up to grade level, and can even move into college prep or vocation classes as needed.
5. School is fun. Besides academics and therapy, boarding schools for troubled teens focus on having fun. From outdoor recreation to after-school clubs, teen boys are encouraged to pick up new hobbies, develop existing talents, become part of a team and experience the thrills that fun things can provide. Besides showing them how talented and unique they are, recreation activities can also be a big part of therapy.
Your teenage son will be very surprised that all those myths about schools for troubled teens proved to be wrong or outdated. Many teenagers have nothing but good things to say about their time in therapeutic boarding schools and recognize that the experiences and people there make a real difference in their lives.