Archives for September 2015

What Your Son Will Never Expect From Schools For Troubled Teens

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.

Why Your Should Sent Your Son To An Out Of State Behavior Modification School

By now you know the benefits of sending your troubled teen son to some kind of behavior modification program. You may have even decided the type of program you are interested in, such as a therapeutic boarding school or residential treatment center. However, don't make the same mistake that many parents do of choosing the school that is closest to home.

Some parents have a hard time enrolling their troubled teen son into a residential program in the first place, and feel that if the schools is nearby, things won't be as hard. However, there are clear advantages to choosing a school that is in another state.

Here are 3 reasons why you should send your son to an out-of-state behavior modification school:

1. Distance: While distance may seem like a negative thing at first, it is actually for a teen girl's benefit to be in a new location where she is far from old stomping grounds, bad boyfriends or girlfriends, and even a tense home life. Sometimes being in a different part of the country can open up her eyes and mind to the fact that there is a big world waiting for her to explore. Troubled youth are often so focused on themselves and their immediate surroundings that the act of moving to another state for a while can create a real change for them mentally.

2. Adventure: A good therapeutic boarding school will have a number of recreational activities, outdoor adventure programs and more. Soon your son will be interested in developing hobbies, staying active and exploring a unique environment from the one she grew up in. For example, if you live in the humid South, sending your son to the high deserts of Utah for therapeutic boarding school will expose her to a whole new area full of new activities and scenery.

3. Strict laws. While every state is home to several teen help programs, not every state has enacted the same laws that regulate how those programs and facilities are run. Some states are more strict, with exceedingly high standards while other states have only passed laws that regulate a minimum standard. If you live in a state with lower teen help industry standards, it will be in your son's best interest to select a therapeutic boarding school in a state that has tougher laws.

While it can be very difficult to make the decision to enroll your troubled teenage girl into a teen help program at all, you should seriously consider one that is out of state. The benefits your son will receive from an out-of-state facility with strict teen help industry laws will far outweigh any of the reasons to keep her close to home at this difficult time in her life. In no time, you'll appreciate the changes you see in her, thanks to an out-of-state boarding school.

Why Summer Programs For Troubled Youth Aren’t Always Enough

As a parent, there is nothing worse than watching your child struggle. There comes a point when you know they need more help than you can give. But, what kind of help? Deciding on the right intervention for your troubled teen boy can make all the difference in the outcome.

Summer Programs

First off, summer programs have their merits. A well-structured program can be exactly what a troubled teen boy needs. Summer camps are an excellent option for low risk youth who have not yet begun to exhibit out-of-control behaviors and/or severe depression or other mental health issues. Summer camps can offer the trouble youth and his family time to breathe away from one another with the added benefit of counseling and activity designed to help your young man function better when he gets home. Summer camps are limited by the season and are not suitable for troubled teen boys in need of serious mental health counseling, for substance abuse, or for those facing legal issues. However, they are generally not regarded as a long-term solution for troubled teen boys.

Why Longer Programs Have An Advantage

Residential programs simply are set up to offer more services in an intensive manner. Therapeutic boarding schools offer the advantage of therapy woven into an academic curriculum. Many troubled youth have classroom behavior issues so the education component gives counselors an opportunity to also modify this behavior. Some troubled youth have undetected learning disabilities which can be identified in this intense setting. Boarding schools for troubled teens can look at a bigger picture too. They can assess the youth in social situations, while participating in chores and work activities; and while dealing with authority. Because of the length of boarding school programs whatever issues the troubled teen is having will come to light over the course of time. Therapeutic boarding schools also remove the troubled youth from the environment which may be contributing to his underlying issues.

Why Choose Us

Liahona Academy believes intensive therapy is the best correction for troubled teen boys. Our mission is what makes us one of the best residential treatment facilities. We understand the difficult decision you are going through right now. We want you to know we are here to help and support you and your son. We also want you to know it is going to be okay. We are ready to empower you son with the social skills he needs to move toward being a productive, well-adjusted, and thriving adult.

Why Counseling For Teens Doesn’t Always Cut It

It is hard to raise teenagers today. It is even harder when the teenager is in need of counseling simply because teenagers respond differently than adults. Liahona Academy wants to help you parents understand these difference apply even more to boys than girls.

Almost Is Not Enough

When we look at teenagers we think “almost adults” and physically that may be true but mentally nothing could be farther from the truth. The brain inside that grown-up looking skull is still growing. In fact the brain continues growing until the early to mid 20s. Youth, despite feeling “grown up”, do not actually psychologically mature at the same rate as their bodies. This works against them in a traditional counseling situation because they lack the neural pathways and the emotional maturity to not only receive counseling but to process the techniques from a single session and distill that into real-life applications. As parents, it is difficult to know what to do with someone who looks like an adult but certainly cannot act like one. No one is to blame but there is help available for troubled teens and their families.

It’s Really All In Their Head

Despite blossoming into individuals and staking their claim as sentient beings, teenagers are often preoccupied with the notion that they are not exactly the same as their peers. It is a confusing time. In peer group counseling sessions it is hard for the teenage brain to see themselves as “troubled” in the same way as the other members of the counseling group are troubled. Teenagers lack the appropriate cognition to view themselves objectively enough to achieve see themselves as part of that “troubled” group. They insist they are fine when their behavior demonstrates otherwise. Teen boys are more likely to be troubled than teen girls because at the same age the teen boy brain has not developed as quickly.

Traditional Methods May Not Work

When parents notice their son struggling with negative behaviors the first impulse is to get them into counseling. For troubled teen boys this may only compound the problem because of their biology. Moms and dads it is not your fault. When some troubled youth leave the counseling session too often the lessons learned are left behind simply because they cannot “see” the need for it in their own lives. It is not necessarily that the teen is being obstinate or rebellious even though they are acting out in self-destructive ways. They are actually physically incapable of processing the way most adults can. Some teens do not know what to do so their behavior shifts and they may experience depression and/or abnormal euphoria. For troubled teen boys who are really struggling in this area extended counseling is likely the better choice.

What Is Best vs What Is Easy

No parent of a troubled teen would call the journey easy but for those parents who have faced the choice of placing their son in a therapeutic boarding school they do attest to it being the best place for their son. It is a tough decision to make. However, the research is showing for some troubled teen boys it may be the only answer. Therapeutic boarding schools, like Liahona Academy, offer multiple approaches which are necessary to best help troubled teen boys.

What You Really Need To Consider When Parenting Your Teenage Son

There's no doubt about it: raising a teenage son is just about one of the hardest things any human being will ever be asked to do. Take comfort in that fact - you're not alone if you find teens difficult to handle. Sometimes just one new idea can set off a chain reaction of wonderful outcomes. Check out these tips to see if some of them could benefit you and your teen.

Listen To Him

Actively listen to your teen when you're with him. Empathize with his struggles and let him talk without cutting him off. Put down your phone, your magazine, or whatever else you're doing and give him your full attention. Not only does listening make him feel like he matters to you, it can also help you to spot warning signs for things like depression, drugs, lying, or poor peer choices. Keep an active interest in his life and activities. He'll feel more trust in you and the increased bonding will encourage his good behavior.

Talk About The Hard Topics

Make sure your son feels like he can come to you to talk about difficult topics like sex and drugs. You can even broach them yourself if you handle it positively and without anger. Sometimes a behavior is more tempting if it's taboo to discuss, especially during a teen's "rebellious" phases. You may feel awkward talking about these topics but your son probably feels even weirder about it. Showing him that you're approachable will not only give him confidence to ask you about things he's struggling with, but it also serves as a good role model for his own behavior.

Keep Your Cool

Boys are going through some radical hormonal and neurological changes in their teenage years. Puberty and his still-developing brain can make his behavior volatile and negatively impact his judgment. Speaking to him in anger can arouse "fight or flight" hormones to kick in more easily during puberty, resulting in an escalation of the conflict. Although you may feel anger at your son's behavior, wait until you've calmed down to discuss the situation with him. Use your actively listening skills to really hear what he's expressing and handle the problem in a rational manner.

Make Him Work For Rewards

If a parent constantly gives a child "something for nothing" it teaches him to devalue working hard towards his goals. He'll look around and wonder why the world isn't falling into his lap. Instead, teach him that hard work is the path to what he wants -- whether it's a new skateboard, a concert, or borrowing the car on Saturday night. Reward his hard work, too. Not just with material things, but with your attention, love, and emotional support. That doesn't mean you can't give your child surprise gifts from time to time, but making him work towards his own desires will help him succeed in the future.

The Hugging Effect

Sometimes teens act out because they don't feel they "belong" with the rest of the family. Feeling like an outsider is painful for most people, but particularly so for teens who struggle to balance their desire for independence with their need to still be dependent at times. The good news is that a simple hug or two every day can really help your teen bond with you. Hugging releases the feel-good hormone Oxytocin to the brain -- for both you and your son. Oxytocin is also a critical element in bonding for families and for other groups of people.

Consider Getting Help

Sometimes you've tried everything you can think of -- and more. That's okay too. Everyone could use a little help from time to time. Don't feel ashamed to check out other options that may help your son. Counseling, summer camp, or a therapeutic boarding school could make a great positive impact on your teen's life -- and on the rest of your family, too.

What Schools For Troubled Teens Expect From Parents

When deciding whether to enroll your son into a therapeutic boarding school, it's important to consider not only the effect that the school will make on your child, but also the effects on you as a parent and the family as a whole.

Participation in Family Visits

Make time in your schedule to visit your teen as often as you're allowed. Since communication with the family is limited at first, it's important to maintain the family connections whenever the opportunity arises. You want your son to know that he's still very much loved and still very much a part of the family even though he's away from home. Visiting as often as possible gives your teen the chance to look forward to seeing you. It also establishes consistency for him to realize that responsibility for the family's closeness is incumbent upon everyone, not just him. A further benefit of family visits is that it helps you stay in the loop on your child's progress by meeting with the boarding school's staff.

Attend Family Therapy

When you visit your son, you should attend -- and actively participate in -- the family therapy sessions that are held during parental visits. These therapy sessions are critical to the family as a whole and by attending you also role model for your teen how he should behave and get benefits from the therapy sessions. Every family member will benefit from these sessions, not just your teen, but parents and siblings included. These therapy sessions are designed to learn how to understand and assist your son while he works through recovery and overcoming his own issues. If approached with a positive mindset and a willingness to be open, family therapy can make a huge difference to your entire clan.

Communication Starts With You

Most troubled youth programs put the onus on you to call and ask for updates about your child. From a practical standpoint, initiating communication is much easier for the parent to do than it would be to logistically schedule and contact multiple parents at many different locations. So be sure to check in often for updates on your son's progress. Staying engaged with your child's progress is an important skill to adopt even after he's left the boarding school. Make it a habit to find out how your son is doing on a regular basis.

Ready Your Home for Your Teen's Return

To ensure your son's continued success when he returns home, make sure you abide by the school's home plan and other recommendations as closely as possible. It's important for his environment to stay consistent while he continues to recover. Areas to be sensitive to upon your teen's return include, the consistency of the family's schedule, practicing new communication skills, attending any ongoing therapy sessions, and tutoring or medication if required. Lastly, make sure your son has enough structured recreation time, such as sports, band, or volunteering because sometimes boredom can lead to a relapse of bad habits.


What Qualities Parents Should Look For In Modification Schools In Utah

What should parents do when they feel like they have exhausted all their options in dealing with troubled teens. Behavior modification schools, also known as therapeutic boarding schools, residential treatment centers and similar names, may be the answer parents of troubled teens seek. However, behavior modification schools are not all the same, so parents need to do a lot of research to decide what it is that the troubled teen needs and which facility will best provide that. Many parents from across the country are finding that Utah is home to some of the best and most successful schools in the nation.

Why Behavior Modification Schools in Utah?

While there are teen help facilities and programs in every state, not all of the laws that regulate how a teen facility should be run are the same. From state to state, the laws differ on how the programs are run, who can work at the schools, and even inspection and compliance standards. Utah is one of the states with the toughest laws in place that regulate the teen help industry. That means that schools in Utah must meet or exceed some of the strictest regulations in the land in order to operate. If parents find a highly rated school in Utah that interests them, they can have peace of mind that it will be one of the top in the country.

Qualities of Top Utah Schools?

Top therapeutic boarding schools in Utah help teen boys and girls with a range of issues, giving them a safe and supportive place to get therapy, academic assistance and recreational and social fun. It's a residential school that troubled teens need to get another chance at changing the path they are on and setting a new one toward a more positive future.

Here are 3 things that parents should look for in behavior modification schools in Utah.

1. Qualified Staff

Every parent should check to see that there are licensed professionals working at the behavior modification school. Anyone who works with teenagers at a behavior modification school in Utah or anywhere else--teachers, RNs, therapists, social workers, physicians and more--should be willing to share the credentials and training of all staff.

2. Testimonials

A good behavior modification school will provide references and testimonials from past students and their families. These success stories let other parents know that the program can work and that teens who go through it can heal and grow. It's a reflection on the program's philosophy on helping teens and how that translates to actual success. When parents see how other teens moved from a traditional environment to a therapeutic boarding school, it gives hope that the same new start will help their own teens.

3. Strong Academics

A behavioral modification school cannot just focus on therapy. There needs to be a strong academic program that focuses on getting boys and girls the specialized help they need to catch up to their grade level and even exceed it. Graduates from behavior modification schools in Utah can go on to college, go to trade school, or find a job as they transition to full adulthood.

Troubled teens from across the country can come to any of the therapeutic boarding school options in Utah to get professional help for their issues. Teens attending Utah schools will also benefit from the focus on academic and therapy that enable them to start on the path toward healing.

What Is Self Harm?

Self-Harm is diagnostically defined as injuring oneself in order to alleviate or relieve emotional pain or worry. This is most often accomplished by cutting or burning and has increasingly become a coping mechanism for adolescents struggling to deal with extreme levels of stress. The causes behind self-harming behavior are not concrete because there are no specific cultural or socioeconomic risk factors; however, more females than males engage in the behavior. Despite what it may seem like, self-harm isn’t necessarily an indication of suicidal behavior or intentions. Rather, participants are seeking quick relief from stress or overwhelming emotion.

Why Do Teens Self-Harm?

The logic behind self-harm can be confusing to those who don’t understand what the victim is gaining from the experience. Physically, self-harm produces a rush of endorphins into the system, which results in a temporary numbing or pleasurable sensation. Teens that participate in such behavior are seeking a “high” that effectively separates them from the stress or strong emotion they are experiencing at the moment. Some of the more common stressors that lead teens to self-harm are:

  • Emotional detachment or invalidation from parents or caregivers.
  • Feeling emotionally dead or “invisible” to their peers. Self-harms reminds them that they are alive.
  • Desire to fit in with a peer group that encourages and rewards such behavior.
  • Girls may use self-harm to cope with the expectations of overly demanding parents, most specifically in situations where the father plays the most dominant role.
  • Academic expectations
  • Poor body image

What Should I Watch For?

Self-harm is often a secretive behavior and teens will go to great lengths to keep it from their parents and other authority figures. Some of the signs to watch for are:

  • Burns or cuts on the arms, legs or stomach. Generally self-harmers injure themselves where it can be covered up.
  • Lengthy isolation after a fight, bad day at school or other negative experience.
  • Self-harming behavior among your teen’s close peers.
  • Finding razors, scissors, knives, lighters or matches among your teens bedroom possessions.
  • Reports of concern from siblings, teachers or friends who have observed physically destructive behavior in your teen.

How Can Self-Harming Behavior Be Prevented?

Parents play an important role in preventing their teens from engaging in negative behavior, including self-harm, during the adolescent years. One of the most integral things you can do is attempt to make spending time together as a family a high priority. Teens experience uncertainty in almost every aspect of their social world, so it is important that they feel loved, accepted and noticed in their home environment. Working through problems and issues together sets a good example for handing setbacks and stress in a healthy way.Ultimately, you want to guide him toward healthier coping mechanisms through open communication and non-judgmental understanding.

If your teen is engaging in self-harming behavior and does not seem to be responding to your efforts to help him, consider seeking professional therapeutic help. The earlier a disorder is diagnosed, the more likely it is to be managed effectively. If you have questions about your child’s behavior or would like a free consultation, please contact Liahona Academy at 1-800-675-8101.

What Is Military School Like vs. Boarding Schools For Troubled Teens

If your teen is experiencing troubles, you might be considering sending him to military school or a boarding school for troubled teens. But how do you know which type of school is best for your child? Here are some factors for parents to consider when choosing between a military school and a therapeutic boarding school.

Independence & Discipline

Both military schools and boarding schools work to help your teen build independence and instill discipline in him. They adhere to strict schedules and there are penalties for being late or missing appointments. However, students at military schools generally have far less "free time" than do students at other boarding schools.

Academics & Careers

Both types of schools have high standards for academics and excellence is stressed, but they tend to differ in what they prepare your son to do after graduation. Both types of schools provide academic backgrounds for higher education. When attending a military school, the students have the additional option of pursuing a career in the armed services. On the other hand, some boarding schools may employ guidance councilors and staff that help your teen to adapt for non-academic aspects of collegiate life. Additionally, in some religious types of boarding schools, a student can opt for a career in the church.


It's very important to consider what type of values you wish to instill in your teen. These values should be compatible with the rest of your family life. The value systems of military schools align with the particular branch of the service they represent (e.g., Marines, Air Force). As a result, your teen will be expected to participate in events that display those military values, like parades. Boarding schools, however, can represent a much wider range of value systems, coming from a particular religion, political, or philosophic viewpoint. For example, a Quaker boarding school might encourage outdoor excursions and the arts more than a military school would.


A major difference between military schools and boarding schools for troubled youth is that boarding schools are well suited to provide therapy for teens who need it, as well as addiction recovery, and other troubles. Military schools aren't equipped to handle kids who need psychiatric care so they will often deal with troubled teens by expelling them instead of helping them. Additionally, therapeutic boarding schools can specialize in particular areas where students experience difficulty -- for example, drug addiction or ADHD.


It follows that therapeutic boarding schools are staffed with people who understand what your teen is going through and are trained to help him recover. It's not uncommon for boarding schools to have various psychiatrists, social workers, or other trained professionals on staff. Military schools, on the other hand, depend entirely on the military chain of command to instill discipline.

Voluntary Attendance

Most military schools won't accept involuntary enrollments for students so if your teen doesn't wish to go they won't force him to attend. Additionally, many military schools will expel kids who don't obey the rules. Boarding schools, on the other hand exist precisely to instill rule-abiding behavior and have hired staff who specialize in helping your teen to get back on track rather than kicking him back out onto the street.

While at first it may seem that the terms "military school" and "therapeutic boarding school" are the same, they are actually quite different. So make sure you choose the type of school that will best serve your child's needs.

What Behavior Modification Schools Can Do For Troubled Girls Vs. Troublesome Boys

Successful behavior modification schools are one of the best ways that troubled teen boys and girls can get the long-term help they need to take care of some of their most severe mental health issues. Whether its behavioral or emotional, the deep rooted issues result in problems for both teens and the adults in their lives. Learning what behavior modification schools can do for troubled girls vs. troublesome boys can give parents the confidence they need to enroll their child and start the healing process.

What Kinds of Teens Attend Behavior Modification Schools?

When teens can no longer make traditional schools work and their family life is so tense that everyone is having problems, it may be time to consider a behavior modification school. There are several reasons why teens engage in bad behavior, and a doctor or psychiatrist can help with a specific diagnosis. There are several conditions that behavior modification schools can help treat in teen boys and girls:

  • ADD
  • ADHD
  • OCD
  • ODD
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Schizophrenia
  • Bipolar
  • Substance abuse
  • Abuse trauma
  • Low self-esteem

This is just a partial list of all the conditions that teens can suffer from when it comes to mental health conditions. When teens are dealing with pain, confusion and stress on top of a mental health disorder, they can engage in a number of unhealthy behaviors that can jeopardize their health, their safety and their future.

How Do Behavior Modification Schools Help?

Behavior modification schools can help troubled teen girls and boys with all kinds of negative behaviors stemming from mental health issues. Trained therapists can help teens develop new coping skills, overcome personal challenges and take a healthier approach to conflict.

Teens with bad behaviors like acting out, shifting blame, defiance, verbal abuse, self-harm, manipulation, bullying, and more will really benefit from a successful behavior modification program. It doesn't happen right away, but over time, behavior modification schools can really make a difference in the lives of troubled youth.

What Are Behavior Modification Schools Like?

Behavior modification schools have several names, like therapeutic boarding schools and residential treatment centers. All of these teen help facilities blend academics and therapy with recreation so that teens have the structure and support they need from qualified staff members to begin the healing process and work toward a brighter future.