Archives for August 2016

Asking Advisors: Should Parents Have Access To Their Teens Phone?

Asking Advisors: Should Parents Have Access To Their Teens Phone?

Cell phones provide unlimited access to an unlimited amount of information -- good and bad. And in this day and age almost everyone owns one… including our teens. So where do we draw the line and how do we know when to step in, when to monitor, and when to mind our own business?

Well, it’s hard to say. Our teens lives are drastically different from when we were in their shoes. Did you know 94% of teens 13-17 in the United States today own a desktop or laptop computer? And 76% of the teens in that age group own cell phones.

This virtual world with virtual friendships isn’t a bad thing, experts explain. They experiment with different identities, meet new people and exercise the same muscles as we did at that age, just in a different way. However, with our kids spending more than seven hours a day on their phones, it’s hard to not wonder what they’re up to.

  1. Have an open dialogue. Ask. As the parents, it’s your responsibility to know your teens behavior and if they’re acting differently. If you notice drastic changes in your child’s behavior, whether anxiety or extreme happiness, immediately before or after they use their phone - it might be time to start asking some questions.
  2. Monitor openly. If you suspect troublesome behavior online from your teen, let them know you're concerned. The question alone may help your teen realize something they’re doing isn’t right.
  3. Use monitoring software. While this option can certainly be invasive and intruding, depending on your relationship with your teen and your parenting style, it could be beneficial. Definitely proceed with caution here, as this could potentially harm your relationship and their trust, but know you have options.
  4. Set boundaries, set permissions. Another option, instead of monitoring or asking, could be to set permissions on their device that only lets them access certain sites at certain times. This would mean your teen is aware of the permissions you set, and could result in another power and independence struggle.

Many parents have admitted to monitoring their teen’s social media and browser history, and having face-to-face conversations about online boundaries and respect. However, only a few have admitted to using tracking or monitoring software. While there are a number of different routes parents can take to ensure the safety and happiness of their teenager online, they must remember to tread lightly and respect teenage privacy. Just because they’re not out socializing at the mall doesn’t mean they’re doing something wrong.

We believe in open communication with your teenager. We know it’s not always easy, but setting boundaries and expectations can have a bigger impact than you think.

Learning How to Handle Anger and Why Punching Holes in Walls Isn’t the Way


As your teen boy matures, he is growing into his body and dealing with raging hormones, which can bring on a plethora of problems. He might face stress from school, sports or pressures at home. He doesn’t know how to handle his moods or deal with emotional upheaval. However, he will need to understand how to cope with his anger so that he doesn’t punch holes in walls, cause other property damage or hurt someone that he loves.

Learning to Deal with Emotions

To manage a teen’s anger, he must first identify his feelings, which can be challenging for adults, let alone teens. Teens take time to mature into self-awareness regarding their emotions. Once they learn self-awareness, they need to gradually grow into self-control or learning how to think and make wise choices. Self-control allows your son to realize that he is in charge of his behavior. He can look at possible negative behaviors and take proactive steps to change his actions so that he has a positive result instead.

Practical Options for Stress Management

  • Pray or meditate. You can learn how to reduce your overall stress by simply taking deep breaths. Stress won’t build up inside you, waiting to explode at the slightest provocation.
  • Do something to distract yourself. Read, go to a movie, watch TV or spend time on a hobby to help alleviate stress.
  • Teens and adults alike can reduce stress by exercising, even if they just take a 20-minute walk. Numerous studies have documented the positive effect that exercise has on your mood.
  • Talk out your frustrations. Find a friend, parent, teacher or counselor that you trust and work through your emotions. Sadness or fear might contribute to your anger, and talking helps you with this process.
  • Doodle or draw. Even if you just sketch, pictures can help relieve stress.
  • Document your feelings. You can write poetry, a short story, journal or write song lyrics. Keep your thoughts or throw them away. No matter what you choose, you are processing your feelings.
  • Listen to music, which can also boost your mood. Dancing to the music adds exercise to the mix, further helping the situation.

5 Steps to Manage Anger

  1. Identify the root of the problem. Determine where the anger is coming from.
  2. Look for possible solutions. Stop to think about the reaction. Exercise self-control.
  3. Weigh the consequences of each choice. He might decide to yell at his parents, argue or sneak out. However, each of these poor decisions leads to negative consequences. If your teen faces the challenge head on, he will find a better result.
  4. After weighing all of the options, make an informed decision.
  5. Think about the entire process and determine if he made the right decision. Ask if the outcome was what he wanted. Encourage him for processing through his feelings without jumping to a hasty decision.

Sending Your Teen Boy to a School Focused on His Development

Sending Your Teen Boy to a School Focused on His Development

As a parent, you might consider various types of educational outlets for your adolescent son. Schooling options for teen boys include public school, charter school, military school, private school or homeschooling. Some of these schools use online classes as well. However, a therapeutic boarding school provides a well-rounded education that focuses on his overall development and that will benefit him in his future education and career plans.

Therapeutic boarding schools, also called behavior modification facilities, benefit a child struggling with learning disabilities, behavioral issues, emotional disorders and substance abuse problems. Students are removed from negative influences at home and are counseled and educated by specialized therapists and teachers. Although a typical stay varies, most adolescents live at the facility for one year.


Therapeutic boarding schools focus intensely on students’ mental health and behavioral needs while also providing an academic educational program. The majority of entering students have records of academic failure and are far behind their peers. A smaller teacher-to-student ratio than what is normally provided in a traditional classroom setting allows troubled students to receive extra help and guidance. Accordingly, they can catch up to their grade level and stay on track for graduation. The United States Federal Trade Commission has recommended that parents and guardians check with the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities to ensure that a program is accredited before they send their son there. Therapeutic boarding schools have successfully turned what other schools might consider problem students into high achievers, thus fostering a love of learning a love of learning that will serve them well in the future.


The majority of teenagers entering therapeutic boarding schools might struggle with a lack of motivation, low self-esteem and related behavioral or emotional issues. Schools hire qualified therapists and educators who are equipped to work effectively with these types of students. Once emotional and academic problems are addressed, specialists then modify negative behaviors into healthy and positive actions. In turn, identifying and working on these issues enables students to perform better academically. Behavior modification facilities closely represent the typical family structure. In a safe environment, students learn how to engage with others as positive, productive members of their family. Working within set limits and boundaries, the student develops the necessary skills to avoid unnecessary drama or tension. This environment allows an optimal opportunity for emotional and behavioral recovery. A focus on teaching pro-social behavior further helps the boys relationally once they leave the facility.


Most therapeutic boarding schools offer college preparatory goals and vocational training. A therapeutic boarding school ultimately helps teens learn to break bad habits and develop effective coping skills that they need to transition into adulthood. The acquisition of college- or career-oriented job skills motivates teen boys to catch up academically and earn better grades for further academic studies and future employment.

The Ways Different Trauma Affects Teens and how Specific Schools Can Help

The Ways Different Trauma Affects Teens and how Specific Schools Can Help

As an unfortunate reality, tragedy knows no boundaries and touches lives without discriminating or giving warning. According to one study from the University of Florida, an estimated five million minors face some type of significant trauma annually. By the time a young person turns 18, he suffers a 43 percent chance of exposure to such an event. While not all tragedies necessarily cause long-lasting trauma, professionals, educators, parents and others involved with young people must know how to address trauma in our children.

Defining Trauma

Researchers generally summarize trauma as a significant event that threatens the safety or life of an individual or of a key person in his life. More than just a physical challenge, the National Institute of Mental Health describes trauma as a serious problem. For example, The NIMH estimates that about 40 percent of teens have personally witnessed some type of violence. Seventeen percent have been victims of physical attacks while 8 percent have suffered sexual assault. Common traumatic events might include: school violence; bullying; divorce; the loss of a parent, dear family member or close friend; and similar impacting incidents.

Common Symptoms of Trauma – What to Look For

In order to properly treat trauma, advocated for young people need to correctly identify the related symptoms. However, not all indicators are external. Additionally, the NIMH reports that cultural values affect how a person reacts to trauma.

Experts agree that some of the indicators of trauma might include the following: Isolation,

  • Irregular sleep patterns,
  • Extreme emotions,
  • Pulling away from family and friends,
  • Overreacting to irritations,
  • A compulsive focus on the traumatic incident and
  • Other related behaviors.

Since many of these behaviors are typical of going through adolescence, parents and educators must know their teens intimately. You can do this by having regular conversations with your adolescent male so that you can connect with him and be aware of any problems as they occur. By maintaining a regular and working relationship, you can watch out for any changes that could indicate a more serious problem.

Help for Sufferers of Trauma

Advocates for adolescents can help male teens cope with trauma by expressing compassion and love and keeping an open line of communication. Involved adults should never be force the teen into talking about their experience but should encourage him to find someone they are willing to talk to.

Involve a Therapeutic Boarding School

While therapeutic boarding schools have previously suffered from a negative image, federal and local agencies now provide more oversight than ever on how these school are run. When parents, educators and professionals have explored all viable options, a therapeutic boarding school might provide answers for a struggling teen. The young person can relocate to a safe environment, allowing him to gain a new perspective on life and learn critical skills that will help him in the future. In addition to addressing trauma, the therapeutic boarding school offers academics, a solid work ethic, emotional help, group therapy and more.

Therapeutic Boarding Schools for Boys With Narcotic Addictions

Therapeutic Boarding Schools for Boys With Narcotic Addictions

Back in 1979, researchers embarked on a landmark study investigating addiction recovery treatments. Many of their findings were surprising and optimistic. For example, as they observed therapeutic treatment centers they watched heroin use drop dramatically during the first 3 months, from 22 percent down to seven percent. They also found an encouraging correlation between duration of their treatment and then abstinence after treatment: stays of three months or more showed a 15 percent greater decrease in heroin use over shorter stays, and stays of one year or more showed an even greater decrease.

The narcotic epidemic plagues our nation

Today, our nation faces a similar drug epidemic as we did in the 70’s. Narcotic use, including opioids and opiates, are at a 20 year high. Many loving parents are concerned about what this means for their troubled sons. The numbers are startling.

  • Heroin-related deaths jumped 39 percent from 2012 to 2013.
  • Nearly 90 percent of the people who tried heroin for the first time in the past decade were white. And a growing number are middle-class or wealthy.
  • Three out of four heroin addicts started out by using prescription drugs, according to a recent survey.
  • As heroin use has increased, so have HIV and Hepatitis C rates

Because of this sudden outbreak, more and more concerned parents are turning to in-patient care at facilities such as therapeutic boarding schools for help, because research has shown they work.

Thorough research shows encouraging results

Across the span of over three decades, dedicated researchers administered three major studies investigating the outcomes of drug treatment programs. They included therapeutic boarding schools as a subcategory of therapeutic communities. The studies are known as: DARP, Drug Abuse Reporting Program; TOPS, Treatment Outcome Prospective Study, and; DATOS, Drug Abuse Treatment Outcome Study.

DARP – Drug Abuse Reporting Program

DARP came first and it laid the groundwork for the two more robust studies that would later follow. In DARP, researchers followed patients in the early 70’s, recording their behavior and successes at various facilities of different treatment styles. They saw positive results and witnessed patients overcome difficult addictions, even those involving narcotics. DARP was a pioneer study in its scope and observed success in therapeutic communities.

TOPS – Treatment Outcome Prospective Study

TOPS came second and built upon the promising groundwork of DARP, applying a comparable method to a broader scope. This time, researchers set out to examine 11,000 patients admitted to over 40 facilities, including detox centers, rehab facilities, and therapeutic communities, from 1979 to 1981. Again, their investigation found success. After examining patients through personal interviews at various intervals both while receving treatment and for 5 years after treatment, they found their use of drugs had decreased.

Even for narcotics, usage dropped 69 percent in just three months, from over 20 percent of the patients to less than 10 percent. Not to mention, self-reported criminal activity dropped almost 100 percent.

More importantly, however, researchers found these positive results to be sustainable in the long term. During follow up after five years, one-third of all patients reported they had successfully abstained from their drug, and one-half reported as less depression indicators.

Also, researchers found that patients who stayed in treatment longer, displayed better results over time, illustrating a positive relationship between duration of treatment and after treatment abstinence. In regards to narcotic use specifically, they found stays of three months and longer produced a 15 percent greater decrease in heroin usage in the follow-up period, when compared with stays of less than three months. And stays of one year or greater? They produced even better results.

DATOS – Drug Abuse Treatment Outcome Study

Finally, came DATOS, the largest and most comprehensive of the studies. Indeed, DATOS gathered enough data to keep researchers busy for the next two decades. Four major research centers – The National Development and Research Institutes, Texas Christian University, The University of California at Los Angeles, and The National Institute on Drug Abuse – coordinated their efforts to follow more than 10,000 patients across nearly 100 treatment facilities, over 5 years. Once more, their results proved positive, especially for therapeutic treatment centers. It also further validated DARP and TOPS results before it.

The breadth of the study allowed them to gather substantial data on the outcomes among over 3,000 adolescents. Through personal interviews with the youth conducted both during and after treatment, researchers found drug use and other problematic behaviors decreased, and even some positive behaviors, like school attendance, increased. The results, though not perfect, were substantial and optimistic.

Researchers noted:

  • Adolescents often had many behavioral issues, including mental disorders, criminal activity, and regular drug usage.
  • Marijuana decreased the largest amount, by nearly 50 percent.
  • Heavy drinking decreased by over 40 percent.
  • Other illicit drug use decreased by over 10 percent
  • Criminal activities decreased by over 30 percent

These results speak for themselves.

Discover how Liahona can help point your son in the right direction

Liahona Academy will help your struggling son overcome his narcotic addiction through love and support. We provide a unique blend of experiential therapy personalized for each boy, quality education from certified professionals, and wholesome recreational activities that help boys remember they are still boys. Our alumni say it best.

From a grateful son: “When my parents were thinking about sending me away I know they may have been sad. They may have felt sorry, they did not want to send me away. But they knew in their heart that if they did not do something to help me out, no one would. My parents had the assurance that my life was in good hands, and knew that you guys’ would shape their son into the man that they were looking for, for all those years.”

From a loving parent: “Today is hopeful beyond words. Our son is clear headed and clear eyed. There is no stopping his warmth or his love. He asks for no excuses only forgiveness. He wants only to achieve more, continue on his path, to not only be better now but prepare himself for his life to come. His respect is genuine, his needs are real. We will be interwoven with you and our own emotions for years and years to come. My wife and I are so thrilled to be with the son we knew was lost and now is found. Thanks for all the love you’ve given and time you’ve spent with Winston. You are remembered every time that boy smiles. Thanks for the gift of your friendship and the gift of my son back to me. You have my lifelong love and respect.”