Archives for December 2016

Searching for Help When Your Teen Is on Track to Serve Jail Time

Searching for Help When Your Teen Is on Track to Serve Jail Time

Teenagers are notorious for testing the waters of the legal system. This is especially true if they get into the wrong crowd, or worse, join a gang. According to The Center for Disease Control (CDC), juveniles are arrested for murder, rape, assault, and homicides. These crimes happen often, and many of them lead teens to incarceration or admission into a residential treatment center.

Jail time isn’t definite for troubled teens. As parents, we can stop them from travelling down that road.

We need support for ourselves first. Speaking to other parents, especially those who have adolescents involved in similar illegal activities can help ease our anxieties and learn about resources in the community.

Many communities offer programs for troubled teens. These programs include after-school activities and weekend retreats. This keeps teenagers busy, which can distract them from engaging in troublesome behaviors.

For teenagers with behavioral issues, therapy is always an option. Some therapists specialize in troubled teens, so they know how to handle teenagers who may be under the spell of their peers. Consistent therapy is important because it can take time to convince adolescents their previous decisions were not good for them, and then help them understand how to make good choices.

If you’re a parent that has already tried these options, but still continue to hear about or get your teen escorted home by police, it may be time to consider a therapeutic boarding school. Therapeutic boarding schools offer programs to support, guide, and comfort teens who are having a difficult time. Academics, therapy, and a structured daily routine teach teens how to behave outside of the facility. Without the pressures of peers and distractions of their community, they can focus on what really matters – themselves.

Experts believe the best treatment for teens with behavioral problems is family therapy. It’s essential to find a therapeutic boarding school that involves family in the programs. Identifying issues, learning new ways to approach problems, and improving communication skills can make homecoming a success.

Many teens are already dependent on drugs and/or alcohol. Therapeutic boarding schools can help them with their addiction. It’s much easier to tackle substance abuse in adolescent than in middle age, so getting the help your teen needs now may prevent a great deal of suffering in the future.

Teens with mental illness often engage in delinquent behavior. Therapeutic boarding schools have mental health professionals available for assessment and medication management. A teen can get the treatment needed to stabilize, so he can return home at baseline.

We do the best we can as parents. Sometimes, we need help from outside of our community. We need to reach out to the experts who can really help our teens. Treatment centers for troubled teens can do that, so consider them as you search for a way to keep your teen from serving jail time.

Liahona Academy offers effective, troubled youth programs. Contact us today for more information on how we can help your teen.

Seeing Behind the Scenes of Your Teen’s Weekend Party

Seeing Behind the Scenes of Your Teen’s Weekend Party

Your teen asks if he can attend a party. He says the parents will be home, and it’s just a few kids from school getting together to eat pizza and watch movies. The scene is very familiar to all parents, but how often is this story the truth? All too often, teenage parties are the source of legal issues, drug and alcohol use, and other dangerous and reckless behaviors.

What’s Really Happening During High School Parties

In some cases, movies and pizza may very well be the only thing on the agenda. More often than not, however, when your teen attends a late-night party over the weekend, there’s a lot more happening with more serious consequences. As a responsible parent, you want to be aware of what’s really happening. Here are some of the most common occurrences:

  • Dancing and Music: Almost every party has music, and teens dancing in close proximity to each other. The results of such proximity can lead to other things. Additionally, loud music is the most common cause of the police showing up, which could lead to your teen being arrested.
  • Sex: When the close proximity turns to sex, there’s a much bigger problem. Teens are often very unsafe with their sexual activities. They may or may not use protection, putting teenage girls at higher risks for pregnancy. STDs are also a very real concern at parties.
  • Drugs and Alcohol: Almost 50 percent of teens have abused drugs of some kind and 71 percent of teens will have drunk alcohol before they graduate high school. Oftentimes, these substances make their debut at parties where there’s little or no parent supervision, and it’s easy for substances to change hands without notice. Many teens will try drugs or alcohol for the first time at a school party.

Don’t be ignorant in thinking that your teens aren’t exposed to negative influences at parties, particularly if they go to a larger school. It’s important to recognize the very real risks they face.

Helping Teens Make Safe and Responsible Choices

You can do your part by preventing attendance of these kinds of parties, but you’ll never be able to completely control your teen’s actions, nor should you. It’s better to teach teens how to make responsible and safe choices when exposed to negative influences like wild parties. Here are some tactics for doing so:

  • Allow them to make their own choices (within reason) and allow them to experience the consequences.
  • Teach them to appropriately manage emotions.
  • Openly discuss the importance of making responsible choices.
  • Be an understanding, but firm, source for them to talk to.

Many behavioral issues arise from things like negative influences that are often found at parties. You can do your best to help nip the problems in the bud by being informed and providing a safe confidant for kids. If you have more questions about raising your teens in a healthy environment, contact Liahona Academy at 1-800-675-8101.

Finding an Alternative School for Violent, Troublesome Youth

Finding an Alternative School for Violent, Troublesome Youth

Some kids are more violent than others. This stems from a variety of factors, including upbringing, mental and behavioral disorders, and even personality.

Behaviors of Violent Youth

Before seeking help, you need to identify the problem behavior. Parents are often unaware of their teen’s violent behavior until someone gets hurt. At that point, it’s harder to reverse the behavior. It’s much easier to correct behavioral problems when you diagnose the problem early on. Some of the most common behaviors for violent youth include:

  • A history of aggressive behavior and cruelty to animals
  • Reports of bullying at school (perpetrator or victim)
  • Victim of childhood abuse or neglect
  • Mental disorders like ADHD or Bipolar Disorder
  • History of vandalizing property
  • Having witnessed violence in the home
  • Prolonged exposure to violent media

Other external factors can influence violent behavior like drug or alcohol use, negative friend influences, or a fascination with weapons. If you’ve noticed any of the listed behaviors in your teens, it’s important to take action to reduce the problem.

Outcomes of Uncorrected Behavior

Handling these behaviors early on is key to overcoming violent tendencies and resuming a normal lifestyle. There are many negative consequences that come from uncorrected violent behavior, not the least of which is the risk to other kids. When youth aren’t taught that their violent behavior is wrong and how to correct it, they’ll continue to hurt people and even themselves because they don’t know anything different. Violent youth are more likely to grow up and commit serious crimes.

There’s also increased risk to themselves. Violent behavior usually stems from underlying hurt or other mental disorders. When they don’t find fulfillment in hurting others, which they rarely do, they’ll turn towards self-injury and even suicide.

Seek Help Through Liahona Academy

The primary place that these violent behaviors tend to come out is school. This poses several problems. First, other kids could get hurt, which is never something you’d want to happen. Additionally, public and traditional private schools often have a no-tolerance policy for violence, which means your teen could find themselves expelled and looking for alternative schooling.

Parents have an obligation to help their teens find the help they need in overcoming their violent behaviors. Along with self-education and professional counseling, they can provide alternative schooling in the form of a residential treatment center.

An excellent alternative schooling solution for youth exhibiting violent behavior is Liahona Academy. We’re a residential treatment center that offers help to troubled boys. As they come to live and learn with other boys who go through similar issues, they’ll learn to better handle their emotions and act out in an appropriate way rather than through violent tendencies. For more information about how we can help your son, call 1-800-675-8101.

How Pushing Teens to Excel Can Hurt Their Chances for Success

How Pushing Teens to Excel Can Hurt Their Chances for Success

What parent doesn’t want their children to do amazing things when they grow up? In today’s world, successful parenting is often measured by what your kids do. If they grow up to become educated and contributing members of society, you’ve done your part. That’s not exactly true, but it’s something parents have commonly come to believe.

As a result, they’ll push their kids to do an unhealthy amount of activities. The more they do in school and extracurricular activities, the more likely they are to reach the materialistic success you want for them, right?

Unfortunately, that’s not usually true. Psychological studies have shown that pushing teens too hard, though well-intentioned, leads to a variety of problems, including rebellion, interest in drugs and alcohol, deflated self esteem, and other vulnerabilities that lead to failure rather than success. As paradoxical as it sounds, pushing your teens too hard could be the thing that makes them fail.

We’ve already established that every parent wants their children to succeed. To achieve that goal, here are a few things you should avoid.

Over Scheduling

Creating schedules is good for kids who thrive on structure, but that doesn’t mean every minute of every day should be filled. Too much responsibility in one day leads anyone to burn out, even your resilient kids.

It’s okay if your child has an hour—or even two—that they can devote to whatever they want. That doesn’t mean they should spend several hours per day watching television, but a little mindless entertainment won’t hurt their chances for success. This time can also be theirs to explore their creativity and passions that will help them follow their dreams later on. It will keep them focused on positive goals rather than negative past times that may require behavioral treatment later on.

Putting Them in Activities They Don’t Like

Let your kids choose their own activities. Encourage them to try a few things, and teach them that it’s good to do things you don’t like occasionally to build character, but that it shouldn’t be the main focus.

You might think you’re teaching teens to diversify their interests, but really, you’re just teaching them to suppress their passion for something else. People who find success in life learn to get very involved in one or two things and master it. They don’t waste time and energy on things they don’t enjoy because it won’t lead to anything. It’s passion that yields success.

Burning Them Out on a Busy Schedule

Burn out manifests itself primarily as lack of productivity. They’ll start to become unhappy with their activities and get less done in a given time period. Kids need time to do things for themselves. Give them time on the weekends to explore their own interests so they feel self-fulfilled by their activities rather than stifled.

It’s good to remain encouraging and push your kids to success, but that doesn’t mean you should control their every move. Find a way to help your kids gain success through their own passions rather than through yours.

The Pillars of Teens Independence Infographic

Teens these days are getting older at younger ages. They have access to unlimited information, they’re having conversations about adult topics with their friends, and their growing brains and developing personalities are trying to figure out what to do with it all. While we're still figuring out how to filter their phones, teach them valuable morals, and urge them to make smart choices when parents aren't around, there are some definite "Do's" when it comes to teaching them about life.

Finances, health, work ethic, social skills, and basic survival skills are all things teens need to succeed as adults. Parents can ensure their teen is ready for the "real world" by teaching them the basics of life: managing their money, learning to plan and cook balanced meals, teaching them to reach goals and make deadlines, providing them with opportunities to socialize and have healthy relationships with their peers, and emergency preparedness for automotive, health, and other emergency situations.

They may not be all-stars and millionaires in the future, but with a good handle on the basics, they will be healthy, happy, and well adjusted adults.

The Pillars of Teen Independence - Infographic

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