Archives for April 2016

Understand the Three Strikes Law and How It Affects Youth

Understand the Three Strikes Law and How It Affects Youth

Prison laws have evolved significantly over the centuries. In some ways, the punishments have become lighter and in other ways they’ve become harsher. One law that’s been developed over time is the “Three Strikes” statute, which is a major prison legislation in several states, primarily California.

What Is the Three Strikes Law?

The Three Strikes law can put a person in prison for life if they have been convicted of three total violent crimes or serious felonies. In this case, a violent felony includes:

  • Murder
  • Manslaughter
  • Sex offenses
  • Kidnapping
  • Robbery
  • Any other crime punishable by 10 years or more in prison

A serious felony usually refers to heavy involvement with the illegal drug trade. The state of Washington was the first state to put this law into action, and since that time, several other states have adopted the law, including California, which is currently the state with the harshest punishments for this law.

How Does It Affect Youth?

In most cases, the Three Strikes law applies to adult felons, but there are some instances in which youth can be subject to life in prison. In 1997, California’s supreme court ruled that when a juvenile 16 years old or older commits a serious crime, it can count towards the three strikes allotted before a sentence for life in prison.

Very rarely will a juvenile be put in prison for life, but the strikes given to them in their youth can count against them in adulthood. That means if they’ve committed two serious crimes in their youth, only one more in adulthood will put them in prison for life. These crimes can be anything from assault with a deadly weapon to murder.

How Can You Protect Your Teens?

The first step in protecting your teenagers from committing serious offenses that can put them in prison for life is first recognizing the problem. Teens who spend time with the wrong crowd, get involved with drugs, play extensive amounts of video games, don’t communicate with their family, and get in trouble at school are at a higher risk for committing crimes as a youth and an adult.

If your teen has an addiction to a substance, video games, or another behavior, you may need to send him or her to a certified treatment program that can work with your teen to diagnose the issue and prescribe a recovery plan. Intervention is an essential step to keeping your teens out of trouble and helping them begin a new, positive path for change.

7 Creative Family Bonding Activities You’ll Never Forget


When the whole family gets together for activities, the result is non-paralleled. Parents, children, and siblings grow closer together as they build healthy relationships that will keep the family together.

One of the most amazing benefits of family bonding time is the effect on the individual. Through specifically planned activities, each family member feels closer to their family, which results in them trying harder. Arguments decrease and a sense of self worth develops that leads children and parents alike on a path towards satisfaction and success.

Naturally, this is one thing you want for your closest kin. If you’re looking for more ways to help your family build closeness and trust, here are some memorable bonding activities you’ll have to try.

1. Regular Family Interviews

Counsel with family members individually and as a unit. This gives your children and spouse the opportunity to share things on their mind so you can work through problems positively. As a unit, discuss family events and other goals to keep each family member unified through the same goal.

2. Camp Overnight

If you don’t like tents, rent a cabin or RV for the night. Enact a no technology rule so the family can spend time with each other and no one else.

3. Create a Family Holiday

Select a day of the year at random and make it your family holiday. That’s the day that everyone will take off work, the kids will be out of school, and the entire day will be devoted to tech-free family fun.

4. Garden

Growing and cultivating a garden together is not only a good time for families to talk, but it also teaches kids valuable life lessons about responsibility and self-accomplishment.

5. Nightly Dinners

Make it a priority to sit down at the table for dinner every night. This time is valuable for families to talk about their days and enjoy each other’s company. Ban technology, work, homework, and other distractions so there are no interruptions.

6. Exercise

As you probably know, obesity is on the rise for both children and adults. Taking 30 minutes every day to go on walks, bike rides, jogs or to play Frisbee, basketball, and other sports is an excellent way to help your kids develop a habit of staying fit as well as spending time together.

7. Weekly Family Night

Make one evening per week family night in which you play games, go to the movies, or participate in other fun activities. It might be difficult to set aside the time, but if you’re willing to do so, your family will be stronger and healthier as a result.

Talking Point Tactics to Break Ground with Your Defiant Boy

Talking Point Tactics to Break Ground with Your Defiant Boy
You likely have either experienced your own battles with a defiant child or observed another parent’s public struggle. A quick Google search of the phrase “child defiance” will register approximately 21 million hits, showing the enormity of the problem. When experts themselves don’t agree on this subject, what should you do as the parent of a defiant child? Parents should look to those areas that the experts agree on, realize that not every technique is one-size-fits-all and choose what you think would be good for your child and family. Experts rely on some of these favorite techniques:

understand the cause of the negative behavior
remain consistent,
set limits and rules,
follow through and
quickly make positive comments on good behavior.
Another strategy worth mentioning, but debatable as to its effectiveness, is the use of bribes.

Understanding the Roots of Defiance

Many researchers agree that understanding the root or the cause of a child’s defiance is essential to working out a resolution. Naomi Aldort, who is a family/parenting workshop speaker and author, explains that by understanding the reason for the behavior, children can then be healed and will no longer need to act out. Others concur with this thinking, reasoning that it gets to the root of the negative behavior.

Setting Limits

Settling limits and rules teaches defiant children the importance of boundaries. While this seems obvious, it’s an integral part of parenting. Consequentially, children should know and understand the expectations. When they are deprived of this important knowledge, they are at a greater risk of developing negative behaviors.

Maintaining Consistency

Consistency when enforcing rules and expectations helps children learn consequences for violating boundaries. Far too often, parents fail to stick to their guns and thus teach their children that the rules and expectations are subject to compromise and negotiation. This failure leads to difficulties in child rearing. LMSWs Kim Abraham and Marney Studaker-Cordner recommend that parents address the most serious issues first and then move down a list. However, parents should not set consequences that they don’t plan to enforce. Additionally, researchers reminded parents that kids don’t always need to be happy with your decisions and consequences — it’s part of life, and they need to get used to it.

Providing Positive Feedback

Lastly, parents must work diligently to provide specific and quick positive feedback for behaviors or tasks performed by the child as directed. This reinforces the good behaviors. Dr. Alan Kazdin, who heads Yale’s Parenting Center and Child Conduct Clinic, tells his readers and listeners to observe good behavior and provide positive attention toward that behavior.If the parent sees an action that he or she wants to see repeated, then positive feedback reinforces that behavior.

How Boys Begin Developing Leadership Skills at Liahona Academy

How Boys Begin Developing Leadership Skills at Liahona Academy

You might feel frustrated as you watch your son struggle with behavorial issues in an attempt to succeed at home, school or work. If you are at a loss as to how to help him, a therapeutic boarding school might help both of you to head toward a brighter future. Experts believe that a significant change of environment can effectively motivate teens who need to make a fresh start, and such schools may significantly improve the long-term outlook for your troubled teen.

An Overview of Therapeutic Boarding Schools

Therapeutic boarding schools provide some of the most successful types of help available for teens because they generally offer an integrated educational setting with the right amount of structure and supervision for physical, emotional, behavioral, social, intellectual and familial development. This environment gives boys the ideal place to thrive if they have shown severe behavioral issues and don’t seem to respond to efforts to help them.

Further Criteria of a Board School

Enrollment in a boarding school can last anywhere from nine months to several years, depending on the school’s therapeutic emphasis. The schools also provide high school diplomas or award credits so that the adolescent can finish his secondary education and receive a diploma. The location of these facilities varies — some are on country ranches while others are in residential homes designed to serve anywhere from five to 30 students at a time in family-like settings. The small, intimate settings in these types of programs help the teen develop his social skills, which often are often lacking for various reasons.

The Focus of a Therapeutic Boarding School

While each school has their own criteria, program emphasis and age groups that they accept, common traits of therapeutic boarding schools include regular therapy groups and individual sessions where the students are shown how to make the connection between their personal struggles and their daily challenges and victories; activities where your child can learn valuable lessons about teamwork; and games and problem-solving opportunities where they learn how to handle losses without quitting and to move forward toward the next goal.

Activities to Help Your Child’s Behavior

Schools like these provide sports and group activities where the kids learn valuable lessons about teamwork as well as receive opportunities to lead other groups. They also acquire a strong work ethic, developed through the discipline of daily chores. Furthermore, students have the opportunity to set and reach goals and work on self-confidence. They will find that these skills and many more will help them in the real world for the rest of their life, no matter if they continue in college, with a trade, in the business world or with their own families.

By attending a therapeutic boarding school for troubled boys, your teen will develop leadership skills and take proactive steps towards healing and hope.

How Parents Have the Power to Make a Difference in Their Teen’s Future

Parents possess tremendous power to make a difference in their teen’s future. Research continually confirms that positive involvement from parents during the adolescent years profoundly impacts the academic learning, social development, mental health and emotional well-being of their child. The daily demands of time and life sometimes form major barriers to spending time together, but in the end, parents who battle through these obstacles receive great rewards.

Academic Success

Supporting an adolescent at home and school greatly impacts future academic success. Parents who show interest in their teens’ schoolwork and regularly offer assistance and encouragement can help young adults with improved understanding of educational materials, enhanced moti­vation to study, a greater commitment to higher education and less school-related stress. Teens with involved parents spend more time studying, pay more attention have less behavioral issues and have better attendance records than adolescents without regular parental support.

Social Skills

Social development and emotional well-being play important roles during the adolescent years. Hormonal changes are taking place; peer influence is at its peak, and decision making is beginning to have more significant consequences. Research confirms that teens supported by parents recognize and manage their emotions more effectively, empathize with others, demonstrate improved responsibility tend to develop more constructive, intimate relationships with adults and peers. When faced with chal­lenging situations, these teens handle themselves more effectively than youth without sufficient parental guidance. So, with all of the evidence supporting parental involvement, how do we find practical ways to implement it?

Open Communication

Open communication naturally creates parental involvement. You can demonstrate care and concern by discovering and sharing meaningful topics and activities in your teen’s life from schoolwork to extracurricular events. Start discussions about friends and become acquainted with your teen’s friends and their families. Praise accomplishments and encourage your teen to face fears and take risks. Offer assistance and guidance when needed and stay open to honestly answering your teen's questions. Be aware of information your teen obtains through television, the Internet and social media and hold regular discussions regarding online safety. Establish and model morals, standards and attitudes for yourself and your family. Present clear expectations with enforceable rules and ensure their consistent implementation in your home. Enforce clear-cut consequences for breaking rules but leave room for mistakes, mercy and forgiveness. Show your love through your words and actions.

Involved Parenting

Wrongly assuming that your teen does not want nor require your guidance or that he is old enough to make his own decisions creates devastating consequences. As an informed parent, awareness of the positive influence and preventive power you hold promotes action. In a busy world filled with obligations, the demands on your time may leave you with little energy left for parenting, but sacrificing to remain involved with your child will reap enduring rewards for both of you.

A Run Down of Laws and Regulations for Utah Therapeutic Boarding Schools

Therapeutic boarding schools located and operating in the state of Utah must comply with state laws and regulations, meeting basic health and safety standards. Services provided to adults or children adhere to the same requirements.


Facilities apply for and obtain residential treatment licenses in accordance with state law prior to offering residential treatment services. Utah law requires that owners and board members of therapeutic boarding schools complete at least eight hours of annual training.


Staff and client files, manuals, and records must remain on site in a facility office. On-duty supervisors have access to all locked paper and digital files. Each facility is required to make all documentation available upon request to the Office of Licensing.

School staff records and maintains detailed information on client financial transactions. All fees and expenses clients incur, including non-refundable fees, are provided in written disclosure prior to accepting payments, processing applications or entering into contracts to provide client services. The school must provide itemized accounting of actual expenditures for each client before requiring reimbursement from the client's guardian.

They must also keep accurate records of all funds deposited and withdrawn for each client’s personal use. Client and staff must approve client purchases over $20.00, keeping receipts with the log.


The Utah State Board of Education requires academic curriculum to be accredited by a recognized agency. Therapeutic school curriculum is annually reviewed and updated. The school monitors and documents each client’s academic progress, providing updated monthly reports to the legal guardian.

Admissions Criteria

Policy and procedures manuals outlining admission criteria and actions are routinely updated. School admission requirements include student immunization information along with conditions for admission, barring and removal.

Maintenance, Food, and Zoning

Schools must maintain buildings and grounds to safe and sanitary standards. Facilities must also provide recreational common areas, classrooms, libraries, lounges and cafeterias for group activities.

Registered dieticians plan and create nutritious, appetizing snacks and meals. Clients are served snacks and three daily meals in a dining area furnished with tables and chairs for each client. Food handlers may only prepare food after receiving certification from the Utah Department of Health.

Therapeutic boarding schools must comply with all local zoning ordinances, business license requirements and building codes. They also follow Utah state fire prevention laws and rules, and state and local health codes regarding sanitation and infectious disease control.

Emergency Protocols

Therapeutic boarding schools create and implement emergency response plans to address physical safety concerns. Detailed procedures exist for executing client protection and care in response to natural disasters, severe weather, fire, a major medical occurrence, significant criminal activity, prolonged power outages or other major crisis.

Possible Exclusions

Schools must deny admission to prospective clients who have attempted suicide or attempted serious self-harm within the previous two years. Other criteria for exclusion may include highly aggressive, violent behavior leading, physical or sexual aggression, history of run-away attempts or severe mental illness.

The school must develop client service plans within 30 days of admission and give these to the client and a legal guardian. Policies and procedures describe how medical services are provided to clients.