Archives for December 2015

Service Ideas To Help Your Teen Focus On Others Needs

Service Ideas To Help Your Teen Focus On Others Needs

The adolescent years can be a time of self-expression and exploring independence. They can also be a phase of self-centered behavior as teens learn how their behavior affects the world around them. Teaching your teen how to be empathetic and learn to consider the needs of others over their own is an important skill they need to learn, but may be easier said than done. Adolescents struggling with behavioral issues are often even more egocentric than their peers and may be difficult to reach, but research has shown a strong connection between performing service for others and a lessening of stress and depression. Giving your teen consistent opportunities to help others could play a large part in helping them heal and develop the ability to empathize with others. However, the question is how do you encourage your teen to participate in service in a way that will be helpful?

Model Selflessness

Even if it feels as though everything you say to your teen falls on deaf ears, they are still watching and noting the ways that you choose to act. If you make giving and selflessness a part of your daily life, it sends a valuable message to your child about the way life should be lived. At the very least, you will show him that you are not asking anything of him that you are not willing to do yourself.

Create Opportunities

While serving others can feel like a chore at first, even troubled teens are not immune to the good feelings that come from helping others. Start small and make a point of looking for the everyday opportunities around you. For instance, your elderly neighbor might appreciate someone shoveling her snowy driveway, or take an empty garbage bag to your local park and pick up trash for twenty minutes. Even something simple like letting the tired young mom with several active children ahead of you in the grocery store line will make an impact. Make larger acts of service a family affair and let your teen weigh in on potential projects. Not only will regular implementation of service help your teen create good habits, but it may also encourage him to consider the world around him as something he can contribute to in both large and small ways.

Encourage Him

Being overly enthusiastic about every act of service is likely to backfire, since praise isn’t the point of the activity, but you still want to note when he has done something selfless. Whether it is a big or a small act that is done for you or someone else, make sure you reflect the positive gratitude that will help remind him that he is on the right path. When possible, encourage him to make his acts of service as personal as possible. For instance, arrange for your animal lover to volunteer at the local shelter, or get your environmentally conscious teen to collect neighborhood litter clean up or recycling drive.

For more information on how to help your troubled teen, visit us at Help Your Teen Now

Reasons Why Your Troubled Teens Grades Could Be Suffering

Reasons Why Your Troubled Teens Grades Could Be Suffering

Poor grades at school are one of the warning signs that all is not well with your teen. Whether the reason for the academic struggles comes from an inability to keep up with the course material or sudden apathy, the results are the same; contention between teens and their parents and damage to individual confidence and self-esteem.

If it is clear that your teen needs educational intervention, you should first turn to tutors or a rewards and consequences system while you try to determine why your son is suddenly having trouble. Academic deficiencies are often the result of other emotional or behavioral issues and finding the root of the problem can be difficult, especially since teens are notoriously resistant to confiding in their parents during the adolescent years. Knowing what kinds of things might be in play with your teen is a crucial first step to figuring out how to solve the problem. Some of the reasons your son’s grades could be suffering include:

  • Depression – On some level, depression is extremely common during the teen years and is the sort of behavior that parents should keep an eye on, but not particularly worry about until it begins to affect their child’s schedule or grades on a consistent basis.
  • Bullying – It is an unfortunate fact that many teens stay silent about being bullied because of shame or fear. A drop in your child’s academic performance can indicate that he struggling at school in emotional areas.
  • Substance Abuse – Experimentation with drugs or alcohol can manifest itself in a new lack of interest in school.
  • Learning Disability – Some mild learning disabilities are manageable during the early years, but show themselves more as the academic curriculum gets harder or interaction with peers gets more complex.

It is important to remember that a mild fluctuation in grades is not uncommon for teens as they learn how to deal with new surroundings and readjust themselves to suit new material and social situations. You should be more concerned about a sudden lack of motivation or a consistent drop in performance. Your teen’s teachers should be your first stop since they can give you more valuable insight into your child’s daily class performance and interaction than he will tell you himself. If your combined efforts to help your teen raise his grades fail to yield any results then it may be time to consider more intensive intervention to get him the guidance he needs in an environment that he can respond to.

Full time residential treatment programs like Liahona Academy specialize in helping teens overcome their personal issues in order to improve their self-esteem, communication style and academic performance. Through the help of experienced therapists and a carefully crafted curriculum, teens are able to address the challenges they face without the triggers and distractions they experience in their daily lives. For more information on our program and the ways that Liahona Academy can safely and effectively help your teen turn his life around, please contact us today at 1-800-675-8101 for a consultation.

Look for These Signs to Detect Violent Behaviors Early in Your Teen

Look for These Signs to Detect Violent Behaviors Early in Your Teen

Anger is something everyone must eventually learn to control and teens are particularly susceptible to strong emotions, both positive and negative. While mood swings are normal, when anger morphs into extreme aggressiveness, it can be intimidating and frightening for parents. While both boys and girls are at the risk of becoming violent, girls generally express their anger verbally or through self-harm, while boys have more of a tendency to become physical. In both cases, it can lead to serious consequences. Recognizing the signs of aggression in your teen at an early age is important in order to help him recognize and learn to manage his anger in a healthy way. Some of the signs to look for to determine whether or not your teen’s anger is excessive are:

  1. Regularly hurting others. He may brush it off as “rough housing” or “just messing around”.
  2. Breaking things, punching or kicking walls or putting others in the line of fire on a regular basis is not normal, frustrated behavior.
  3. Reports of destructive behavior or bullying at school.
  4. Fearing for your safety or the safety of others in the household.

If you are concerned about your son and his behavior, there are some things you can do to help him:

  • Rules and Consequences – During a time when your teen is receptive to discussion; let him know that while anger is a normal emotion, it must be expressed in an acceptable way. Make it clear that lashing out violently will result in a loss in privileges or even police involvement in some cases.
  • Dig Deeper – You may need to dig a little deeper with your teen to try to determine the reason behind his anger. Depression, sadness, poor self-esteem and bullying can all lead to aggression and acting out.
  • Healthy Coping – It may help for your teen to find a healthy way to relieve his anger. Extracurricular activities like sports, listening to music, jogging or even hitting a punching bag are all effective ways to deal with stress and rage. If you can identify your teen’s main triggers, you can help him practice a variety of coping mechanisms.
  • Be a Good Example – Children of all ages absorb and reflect what they see at home or the way that they were raised. It is important that you are setting a good example when it comes to managing your anger and frustration. You cannot reasonably ask your son to behave in a manner that you aren’t willing to.
  • Be Available – Your teen may not always want to talk during the tumultuous adolescent years, but it is still important to make the effort to connect. You will need to find a balance between letting your son explore his independence and making sure that you are available to him whether he is interested or not. You never know when they will actually want to talk, but it won’t happen if you don’t make the effort to keep the lines of communication open.

In many situations you have to listen to your gut and use your intuition as a parent, but if nothing seems to be working, you can also consider more intensive help in the form of full time care. Facilities like therapeutic boarding schools and residential treatment centers are all valuable ways for teens to get the help and guidance they need in an environment that is free from the triggers and temptations of their home and social lives. Through hard work and proven therapeutic methods, troubled teen boys can address their individual challenges and return home better equipped to communicate and move forward into a better future.

For information about Liahona Academy and the ways our program may be able to help your son, please contact us at 1-800-675-8101 for a consultation.

Offering Your Teen the Best Resources to Save Himself

The Drowning Effect: Offering Your Teen the Best Resources to Save Himself

Anyone that has ever raised a teen will understand that telling him to do something is the best way to make him not want to. Because adolescence is such a valuable time to explore independence, some teens have a difficult time both regulating their own behavior and taking advice from their parents. As a parent, you are still essential to the way your child learns how to interact with the world, but at this point in his life, you must learn how to walk the fine line between encouraging him to make changes and giving him the space and resources to save himself.

There are certain areas you should focus on when picking your battles with your teen. Giving him guidance toward certain skills will help him become a well-rounded adult that can self-regulate and problem solve effectively. These include:

Communication – Positive interaction is an essential skill for a healthy future and it is not uncommon for teens to spend their adolescent years butting heads with parents, peers and authority figures as they learn how to navigate and communicate. It is important to model appropriate behavior when dealing with your son and others. Despite the appearance of ignoring or disregarding everything you do, children are always watching their parents and you are the greatest influence on his style of communication.

Defiance/Anger – The teen years are often volatile, which also makes them an important time to learn how to keep anger within appropriate bounds. Help your teen develop ways that he can channel his aggressive tendencies through some form of self-expression, like sports or art. Behavior modification programs can also help teens learn how to substitute non-violent solutions for day to day problems and concerns.

Responsibility – For teens that find it easier to self-sabotage, responsibility can be intimidating. However, it is one of the number one ways that you can help your son mature. Give him a graduated system of responsibilities connected to a reward and consequences system and be consistent to help him develop positive accountability. The only thing you will teach him by wavering in your discipline is that you can be negotiated with.

Self-Esteem – Self-esteem issues are at the root of many behavioral problems for teens and sometimes, the most you can do is be supportive as he figures out how to cope with the world around him. You can also help him learn to recognize his strengths by encouraging him to participate in a variety of activities that allow him to explore what he is capable of. When he finds something positive that gives him confidence, do what you can to help him develop this skill.

Problem Solving – One of the most valuable tools a teen can gain is how to effectively problem solve. While it is tempting as a parent to jump in a fix thigs for your child, studies have determined that when individuals are allowed to apply their own methods of problem solving, they are more likely to become competent individuals. Let your teen make his own mistakes and learn how to fix them while the stakes are relatively low. When your child is able to become proficient at his own problem solving, he will be better prepared to meet the daily challenges of the future.

For information about our program at Liahona Academy and the ways we can help your troubled teen son, please contact us at 1-800-675-8101.

Redirecting Your Teen’s Focus To Their Schoolwork

Redirecting Your Teen’s Focus To Their Schoolwork

With so many new emotions and experiences in play during the adolescent years, it is not surprising that many teens have hard time focusing on their school work. Because grades are an important jumping off point to future school and careers, teens must learn to balance their social lives as well as their academic life. Redirecting your son’s focus to their schoolwork can be tricky, but it is possible. The secret is figuring out what motivates him and approach the issue from that angle.

Following are five steps that can help you, as a parent, be the best support you can be for your teen.

  1. Attend Parent Teacher Conferences – These meetings, usually held once a semester, are your best roadmap for how your teen is doing in school and the ways that he may need help. It doesn’t do much good to tell your child that they need to do better in school if you don’t actually know what they are doing. Your son’s teacher is there to help him be as successful as possible, so use him/her as the valuable resource they are meant to be.
  2. Help Your Teen Come Prepared – The old adage “breakfast is the most important meal of the day” is particularly true when it comes to teens. Help them be prepared for a day of learning by making sure that they are well-fed, well-rested and have gathered all of their school supplies and homework the night before, so they aren’t rushing anything at the last minute and getting off to a bad start.
  3. Support Homework Time – Helping your teen organize his day is one of the most valuable life skills he can learn. Work with him to designate a time that works with his social and extracurricular schedule and is set aside just for homework. Provide a quiet, distraction free environment where he can focus. Check in from time to time to make sure that he has not deviated from what he is supposed to do and make sure you are on top of the homework and projects he is working on, so you can help him remain on task.
  4. Organize – Organizational skills do not come naturally to many and learning how to sort and prioritize your daily workload is crucial to being a good student. Help your son by showing him how to complete daily, weekly and monthly to-do lists and encourage him to transfer the relevant information into the appropriate categories when he receives it so that he can check what he needs to do at a glance. Separate folders and setting text reminders on his phone can also help.
  5. Motivate – Motivation is probably one of the most important components of getting your son to focus on his schoolwork. Many teens don’t quite grasp how vital good grades are to their future plans, and the idea of that isn’t usually what drives them to do well. Make the reward more immediate by offering an incentive that speaks directly to your teen. Driving privileges, phone privileges and even financial compensation are all reasonable trade-offs for good grades. Similarly, you should also implement a consequences system in conjunction with the rewards side, so if he cannot be motivated to do well, at least he is incentivized to not fail.

If your child is struggling in school and your best efforts to help him don’t seem to be making a difference, it may be time to consider intervention like a tutor or evaluation for learning disabilities. You are your teen’s best support when it comes to success in school, but you are not alone if you find your teen needs more help than you can offer.

For questions or information about the ways that our program at Liahona Academy can help your son, please contact us at 1-800-675-8101.

Boot Camp for Troubled Teens Helps Fight Porn Addiction

When parents try to protect their children from addiction, they often take preventative steps to keep them from alcohol, drug or even computer and video-game addictions. However, they might overlook a very real danger that lurks beneath the surface, one that isn’t nearly so obvious - porn addiction. With constant bombardment from the media, parents might not have parental controls in place, or the teens might know how to disable them. As a result, even pre-teens can be exposed to porn, increasing the risk of possible addiction.

Ways to Combat a Porn Addiction

In order to successfully fight a porn addiction, your son will need to go through the following steps:

  1. Admit that he has a problem with porn – Your son might refuse to face that he is dealing with an issue, so be prepared to meet with resistance when he is confronted.
  2. Find an adult to hold him accountable – His father, stepdad or another authority figure can act as a role model.
  3. Agree to online accountability – You will need to install software to monitor your son’s computer use and the use of his mobile device. Consider a possible app, such as “Victory.” Available through Apple, the free app, which uses a Christian perspective, helps users identify their triggers and works with them to avoid pitfalls. The app includes a calendar tracker, a journal, a review of monthly progress and an accountability button to send an alert to a pre-designated person requesting prayer support.
  4. Have your son get rid of any other porn - DVDs or magazines might also present a problem.
  5. Discuss other media, including television and movies – Many shows, even sitcoms, include sexual scenes or degrade women in general. You can help your son avoid anything with questionable sexual content.
  6. Help your son understand that the women in porn shows and movies are real people – They are being devalued by the process and might even be a victim of sex trafficking.
  7. Take a long, hard look at how the addiction started – While not always the case, a porn addiction does not happen overnight. Begin by reviewing attitudes, choices, decisions and opinions with your son in order to find out what he is thinking.

Sending Your Son to Boot Camp

When all else fails, a boot camp for troubled teens might be one option to address your son’s porn addiction. However, you might instead consider the more tempered approach of a therapeutic boarding school. The program will still limit his access to computers and all electronic devices, which means that he will need to completely quit his addiction. In addition, he will spend his time substituting positive activities instead, such as:

  • A strict schedule
  • Structured discipline
  • Physical exertion and exercise
  • Teamwork and
  • Caring and concerned staff to work with your son.

Therapeutic boarding school instills a new-found self-worth for teen boys so that they can face their problems and overcome destructive behaviors, including porn addiction.

Boarding Schools in Utah Could Be a Game Changer

What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the word “boarding school?” If you’re like most people, probably something like “strict“ or “rebellious teen” pops into your head. We’ve all seen the movie scenario with parents at their wit’s end who are out of options for ways to help their defiant adolescent. They finally decide to send him off to boarding school, much to the chagrin of their defiant son.

However, times are changing, which means a reassessment of the stereotypical, negative image of boarding schools. A boarding school might offer just the solution you’re looking for to restore your family and provide your troubled teen with an excellent alternative to public school.

Reasons to Consider Utah

You might wonder why you should consider Utah. Quite simply, as the home to many boarding schools with excellent reputations, the state’s beautiful scenery and abundant outdoor life lend themselves to a positive, healing influence. Of course, you can also find wonderful boarding schools in other parts of the country, but you would do well to put Utah at the top of your list of potential boarding school locations.

Benefits that Boarding School Offers

Consider some of the following advantages of boarding school:

Developing independence - Your teen will learn self-reliance. Living away from home and apart from his parents’ protective shield provides the necessary environment for developing responsibility, life skills and independence. Requirements at boarding school include cleaning up after themselves, doing their own laundry and waking up on time. What better way to prepare them for college life and living in the real world? Not only that, but living away from home teaches young people the adverse consequences of negative decisions and mistakes. If Johnny oversleeps at home on a school day, mom might wake him up; at boarding school, he learns, what happens when he is late for school while in a safe environment.

Living in community - With typically smaller sizes than public schools and with students living in close-knit community, boarding schools mean that teens do both school and life together. As a result, your teen will form close friendships with his classmates, some of which may last for a lifetime.

Enjoyable activities - For many students, outdoor activities provide the highlight of boarding school life. The list of possible activities is almost endless: canoeing, hiking, rafting, cycling and skiing, to name just a few. Schools encourage extracurricular activities because teens who are given the time to participate in activities that they actually enjoy doing fare better, socially and academically, than those in an “all work no play” environment. For example, the students might bond through a rafting trip or camp out, especially as the school year winds down. Weekend activities might involve various day trips for the teens, such as rappelling, hiking and rock climbing.

Alternative Schools for Troubled Teens Help Rebuild Families

Alternative education and schools for troubled teens have been in operation for over 30 years. Over time, they have evolved and improved to meet the needs of families that have found themselves looking for options outside of the public school system.

Changing Perspectives of Alternative Schools

When these schools were originally developed, they were intended to reach teens that had either behavioral problems or academic deficiencies. The schools facilitated the removal of troubled teens from the general high school population so that their issues would not impact their peers. Now, experts and parents alike view these schools as positive life-changing solutions as they provide various ways for troubled teens to earn their high school diplomas. Specialized classes, personal attention and even vocational training offer paths to successful futures for individuals while positively impacting their neighborhoods and communities.

Since their inception, alternative schools have developed different programs and options to meet the needs of young people who have found themselves with unanticipated social and emotional needs. The personal attention and variety of program offerings often give an additional level of care to help these students succeed.

What About Military Schools?

Some parents look into military school as an option. However, they do not accept teens who are already acting out or exhibiting rebellious behavior. Placing your child in military school requires extra forethought and planning. You will need to weigh the financial considerations should your child drop out or be expelled; you will not get your tuition back. This option also requires parents to provide solid structure for their kids when they return home so that they do not regress to the same behaviors.

Finding Help Closer to Home

Your own community’s school district may provide several alternatives to a traditional high school setting. Although they teach the same curriculum, they deliver the material differently. As one option, charter schools receive federal funds based on student enrollment but do not receive local funding. They function under their own rules of governance separately from the public school system but comply with academic standards established by the state.

Various choices include teen parent and independent study options. Online schools offer a variety of educational programs that allow students to pace themselves with complete independence. They also have the option to enroll in traditional semester scheduling with programs that are taught by teachers.

What Teachers Say

According to the National Education Association, alternative schools make a difference in students. Alternative education teachers testify to the positive changes they have witnessed in the lives of teenagers who would never have graduated from high school under normal circumstances. They believe that many kids make it in the alternative schools and go on to lead successful, productive lives simply because someone cared enough to help them.

Clearly, parents can consider many excellent options if your family has a teen that needs specialized, alternative education programs to help him through a difficult chapter of their lives. The bottom line with alternative schools is that they can serve to strengthen and heal entire families. When one family member is successful, the whole family succeeds.

Troubled Teen Boys Can Learn Life-Changing Skills

If you have a troubled adolescent dealing with behavioral, social, and educational issues, be encouraged that there is hope and help for your teenage son, and he can learn life-changing skills that will put him on a path to success. Overcoming past problems starts with developing a new mindset and learning new habits. Many life-skills development programs can not only modify your child’s behavior but change his attitude, build self-esteem and instill discipline. He can then replace the old behaviors of disrespect, lack of motivation, rebellion, apathy and defiance with respect, positive choices, obedience and the will to succeed.

Breaking Destructive Patterns

Most often, life skills are taught through real-life situations, but sometimes a teen needs outside help or intervention in a controlled setting. For this reason, many parents choose to send their at-risk sons to a therapeutic boarding school or residential treatment center. In order to change their teen’s present course of destruction, parents must alter the current environment until he has the proper skills set to handle outside, damaging influences, such as negative family interactions, unsuitable media choices and inappropriate peer relationships. A troubled, young man who has a weak sense of identity may end up giving into peer pressure and dabble in alcohol and drugs. Removing him from the harmful setting and teaching him the valuable life skills of setting moral standards, choosing friends wisely, defining personal goals and controlling his impulses can deter him from making damaging decisions in the future. A student who has been abused, neglected or dealt with past trauma needs time away from the situation for restoration to occur. Developing skills to deal with grief, hurt and anger in a healthy way encourages for healing.

Examples of New Life Skills

Distressed youth usually display poor emotional and social behavior. Instead, they need to learn the following skills:

  • Effective communication
  • Anger management
  • Coping with disappointment
  • Cooperating with others in a group
  • Properly expressing feelings and
  • Conflict resolution techniques.

By putting these skills into practice on a regular basis during their teen years, they can internalize these lifelong skills. Boarding schools offer frequent opportunities for practice through planned social interactions, peer activities and group therapy. Since troubled teens are looking for continuity between adults’ words and lifestyles, modeling consistency demonstrates integrity. Adolescent boys need to learn to escape a victim mentality and to take responsibility for their decisions, choices and reactions, which is an ongoing training process. Authority figures can break an entitlement mindset and teach accountability, hard work and integrity through meaningful work and mentoring. They can also promote success by spending quality time with him passing on valuable, enduring life skills.

Character Qualities for a Productive Future

Boys should also develop the following character qualities in order to become strong citizens:

  • Integrity
  • Perseverance
  • Discipline
  • Teamwork
  • Displaying empathy toward others and
  • Standing up for the less fortunate.

Troubled youth, who often have an entitlement mentality, need to be taught that the world does not revolve around them, but that they can contribute to the community and are responsible to leave the world a brighter place than they found it.