Archives for March 2017

Making Lasting Connections With Your Millennial: Teenage Boys

For whatever reason, millennials have gotten a bad rap. They have developed this reputation for being difficult, entitled, self-absorbed, dangerous, and technology-addicted. It’s almost as if they are their own entire species of human. This is probably mostly due to the lack of understanding of the parenting generation. Parents today often feel they struggle to relate to their millennial children because the gap seems more broad than any other generation before. Technology, politics, social issues, the economy, and education has changed so rapidly from the time when today’s parents were teenagers. So how do YOU bridge that gap to connect with your millennial teenage boy?

One of the most common complaints from parents of millennials is that there seems to be so much distance between them and their teen. You live in the same house, drive around town in the same car, eat dinner at the same table, but your teen boy lives in a different world than you do. Much of this can be attributed to technology - his whole life can be lived on a 6 inch screen. He talks to his friends, reads, watches media, does homework, and experiences new things all on the device of his choosing. He doesn’t understand your complaints about coworkers or how you can’t figure out that darn wireless printer. He has no interest in your work and doesn’t feel a need to learn the skills you might want to teach him. But that doesn’t mean connections aren’t possible.

Making Lasting Connections

Many parents fall into the trap of trying to force their millennial into their own interests. For example, if you love fishing you may try to haul your sleepy teen boy out of his bed early on a Saturday morning for a day of fishing which he will find annoying and boring. Fail. On the other hand, you can also have a major backfire by trying too hard to absorb their interests. Listening to their music or trying to use their millennial lingo can be humiliating and even threatening to them and their lives. The key is to avoid these two extremes and go for something in the middle.

The best way to make a lasting connection with your teen is to do something entirely new. That’s right - something that neither of you feel totally comfortable with. It shouldn’t be something terrifying or distasteful, of course. Choose something that sounds interesting, fun, education, or useful, but something that can set you both a little off-balance and then experience it together. Maybe it’s a new recipe to make together, going to see an independent film, choosing a new and unknown location for a family vacation, or trying a new sport together.

Making these lasting connections isn’t easy. Especially if your millennial teen is troubled. Troubled teens need intense help and intervention, so the connections are often fragile or nonexistent. You may not know where to start, but therapeutic boarding schools may be an option that can reset the relationship and help your teen build a healthy life and relationship with you again.

Addressing Social Issues In The Home: Teens Spending Too Much Time Online

Having a teenager in your home is not unlike a war of attrition. It can feel like a constant battle wherein you need to fight for every single inch - and if you give an inch it can suddenly turn into a mile. Similarly, dealing with a teen can be explosive and volatile, and hurt much more than you’d expect. Good parents understand this, and also understand that it’s critical to pick your battles. Fighting about everything all day, all the time, is definitely a trap into which you can fall as parents of teens. But it will create hard feelings and a lack of love and trust in your relationship - ultimately giving you the opposite of the results you want.

Instead, parents should pick their battles carefully and let some things go. Here’s the difficult thing, though: what if something you choose not to fight becomes an issue? Social media and screen time tends to be a battle that parents decide not to fight. For one, it’s such a constant issue that if you choose to fight it can become a daily, even hourly occurrence. For another, it’s something that your teen feels VERY STRONGLY about, so the battle will get ugly and fast. Finally, it’s just not that big of a deal right? If you’re one of the parents who has chosen not to fight or get involved in their teen’s online time, you’re definitely not alone. But you also might be digging a pit too deep to escape.

Teens love social media, the internet, and screens in general. Many teens would spend all of their waking hours plugged in if they could. And that’s the problem! At first you may decide to just let them escape into their own little world online - only to find that within a few months they are online constantly and possibly getting involved in some serious danger. Too much time online can lead teens to become more comfortable with behaviors like cyberbullying, sexting, pornography, underperforming in school, and other issues. If those behaviors are already occurring, you may need to take another step to get professional help. Do you know what your teen is doing online? The more time they’re spending the more likely it is to be harmful to their character. Teen boys who get into trouble online eventually get in trouble in real life, and may need more assistance and intervention at a therapeutic boarding school.

Talking To Your Teen About How Much Time They're Spending Online

The first thing to do is to actually monitor their usage to figure out just how much time they actually are spending online. Watch their use of phones, ipads, computers, data, and other factors for a few days or a week. They may be surprised to learn how much time it actually adds up to be. Also do a full assessment of their grades and other responsibilities to see if focus needs to be turned elsewhere.

Once you have a full and accurate grasp of the situation, talk to your teen. Share your concerns and ask them what they’re doing online and why. Come to an agreement about appropriate use of social media and online time. Maybe they will leave their phone in the kitchen instead of taking in their room overnight, or they can have unlimited time after homework is done and grades are acceptable. It’s a much more effective solution if you can do it together.

You Can Receive Help and Guidance While Finding the Right Program for Your Teen

It’s been a long path for you as a parent dealing with a troubled teen. From the early issues in childhood, to the increasingly difficult challenges of adolescence, to the scary moment when you realize - you can’t do it alone, and you’ve done all you can do. Many parents struggle at this point with feelings of failure and lack of control. They may feel that their teen’s issues are their fault and that they are giving up if they turn to others for help. We don’t want that for you.

Not only is it not your fault, but it’s also not a failure or concession to turn to others for professional help. In fact, it’s a measure of true love and sacrifice for your child. When you reach the point that requires intervention from others you are doing it FOR your child, and for their future. Getting them therapeutic help can turn their life completely around, but the process is appropriately complicated. It’s a delicate situation, so finding the right choice for your troubled teen is a choice that should not be taken lightly. Help Your Teen Now is there to help you navigate the unknown waters of therapeutic help for your child.

Help Your Teen Now exists solely to guide parents through the process of finding a therapeutic boarding school for their troubled teen. As soon as you begin looking into therapeutic boarding schools you may find yourself overwhelmed by options, locations, prices, insurance, and other various moving parts of the process. That’s where Help Your Teen Now comes in. They provide information about therapeutic boarding schools in a way that helps you determine which one is the best choice for your teen.

Help Your Teen Now compares the most critical information for you. Do you want them close by so you can participate in therapy? Further away so they are completely removed from the toxic environment and relationships that contribute to their problems? What types of programs are available? You can choose from outdoor programs, equine therapy, physical/sports programs, academic achievement focus, and others. Help Your Teen now can also help you sort through one of the most complicated issues of therapeutic boarding schools - payment and insurance.

The best part about Help Your Teen Now is that it is completely free for parents to use. You can research and compare options for your teen - totally cost free. You have plenty of other issues to deal with, so expensive consultations are the last thing to worry about. If you’re moving toward professional help for your troubled teen - Help Your Teen Now is the first place to start.

Taking The Pressure Of School Off Of Your Teens Shoulders For A Better Shot At Success

Homework. AP classes. Part-time job. ACT/SAT prep. Friends. Study groups. Extracurriculars. Exercise. Campus visits. Dating. GPA. Family. Application essays. Social life. All in a day’s work for your average American teen! Isn’t it great? Today’s options are more varied than ever, and although the competition is hotter - your teen can handle it. Right? Maybe not.

Teens today are lucky to have so many options. They have more classes from which to choose, more resources to prepare them for post-graduate life, and enough extracurricular options to keep them busy 24/7. But that’s part of the problem - many of them ARE busy 24/7, and it isn’t helping. Teens are reporting higher levels of stress today than in the past, and much of that is due to the pressure they feel to succeed in school and extracurriculars during their adolescent years. And looking at their schedules it’s hard to blame them.

Are YOU the problem?

Often parents assert that the stress is good for their teen, because the results will be worth it. They’ll get that stellar GPA which will result in an acceptance letter to the college of their choice. That college will provide a degree which will lead to an amazing job offer. From there, their life is set! It just means a lot of work and stress and extra responsibility right now. Well, unfortunately, that extra work and stress and responsibility may be sabotaging a healthy future.

Teens are feeling academic pressure from multiple sources. Of course parents are one - you may be checking their grades, imposing consequences for good/bad scores, nagging them to complete their homework, or pushing them to take AP or college credit courses on top of their regular schedule. It’s important to remember that they are also getting pressure from their teachers, counselors, coaches, and even their own friends (competition and “keeping up” is incredibly powerful among teen peer groups). For far too many teens this pressure works them into a frenzy and can even lead to anxiety, failure, and collapse.

Over-scheduling and pushing too hard has been shown to lead some teens into rebellion, drugs and alcohol use, questionable peer groups, and resistance. So when you’re urging your teen to study or join yet another club, you may actually be damaging their future. Instead, the steps to help them succeed may seem a little counter-intuitive, but they work.

How to Help them Succeed in School

  • Unschedule. Allow your teen plenty of free time during the week to rest, chill, and explore options.
  • Recreation time. Along with unscheduled time, make sure your teen has plenty of opportunities for sleep, vacation, and fun. Take them to movies, let them sleep in on weekends, and take family trips whenever possible.
  • Talk about stuff other than achievements. Instead of asking about the math test, ask them what they like about math. Instead of pressing them about college choices, ask them what they hope for in a college roommate. Talking casually about non-pressure situations helps them destress and focus on what truly matters.

If your teen is still struggling in school or rebelling against your efforts to help them succeed, more intense academic and emotional intervention may be needed. Turn to professionals at a therapeutic boarding school before it is too late. There is still time to salvage your teen’s academic and successful future.

When Your Teen Son Has Been Getting Into Fights At School

It may start out with the simple explanation - “Boys will be boys!” It’s a phase many boys go through, so you probably didn’t worry much at first. Playground fights or physical escalation with siblings or cousins may not be cause for concern. But as your son grows older, it can be concerning to realize that maybe he isn’t growing out of a penchant for aggression. You are hesitant to label your son as “aggressive” or a “bully,” but often it reaches a more serious point where you can no longer ignore the issue. For many parents this event is a fight at school or a run-in with the law. It’s terrifying and confusing - what did you do wrong? What do you do now?

Teen Aggression

An important thing to understand about teen aggression is that it doesn’t always manifest in school fights. Your teen may have shown signs of aggression in the past, or be showing signs of aggression now, without any actual physical altercations. It can also be the result of hormonal changes, puberty, response to overwhelming situations, or even mental illness.

Probably the most critical piece of knowledge about aggression is that it does not cure itself or go away. Explaining that your teen is “having a tough time” or “just going through puberty” may give you temporary relief, but if the issue is not addressed your aggressive teen may graduate from anger to fighting to more serious issues such as criminal activity or gang affiliation.

What You Can Do

  • Watch for signs of aggression, such as slamming doors or throwing objects, yelling, attempting to control people or objects, pushing, bullying, frustration or emotional outbursts, and inability to get along with others.
  • Communicate with your son. Tell him what you are seeing and how it makes you feel. Express your concern from a place of love, and ask if he has noticed his aggressive behavior or if he often feels angry or out-of-control.
  • Teach calming and coping strategies, such as deep breathing, counting to 10, meditation, taking a walk, and emotional intelligence skills such as monitoring emotions and responses.
  • Set rules & enforce consequences. If the aggression has resulted in behavioral issues - clearly identify inappropriate behaviors and assign them consequences. Similarly reward good behavior.
  • Get help. Talk to teachers and counselors in your teens school if the issues are manifesting there. Outside counseling is another helpful option to uncover the emotional issues behind aggression. For most teens, however, if grounding and talking are unsuccessful then more intervention is needed. Therapeutic boarding schools can stop aggression in its tracks - protecting your teen and others while reprogramming the aggressive urges your teen feels.

If you are concerned about your teen boy showing aggression, getting into fights, or controlling strong emotions - consider a therapeutic boarding school before it is too late. Don’t let your teen son spiral into the gateway of aggressive behaviors.

Standing Up for Teen Anxiety – Infographic

Anxiety is a normal reaction to stress. It acts as an alarm system that is activated whenever a person perceives a danger or threat. If the mind feels that a threat will continue, feelings of anxiety will linger, keeping the person alert.

Teens, in specific, must deal with friends, dating, school, competitive sports, family conflicts, and other stressful situations. When these get out of hand, they can cause an excessive amount of stress to the point that an individual can’t accomplish their goals, and an anxiety disorder is developed. Recognizing the causes, signs, and symptoms of anxiety in teens can allow solutions and help to be sought out and implemented.

Standing Up for Teen Anxiety

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Common Experiences and Feelings While Teens Transition into Boarding Schools for Troubled and Defiant Boys

By the time you make the decision to send your troubled and defiant son to boarding school, you have likely exhausted all options—restrictions, counseling, medications, help from his teachers and school and other sources. However, you now realize that the best decision for both of you is attending a therapeutic boarding school so that he can receive the help that he so desperately needs. Under the best of circumstances, this transition would be difficult. But your son is likely dealing with one or more issues, such as anger control, addiction, academic challenges, PTSD or other behavioral problems. As such, he will struggle all the more with adjusting to a new school. However, as a parent, you can help him work through the following common experiences and feelings during this process.

Helping Your Son Prepare for Boarding School

  • Anger – Many teen boys struggle with anger, in part, due to changing emotions and learning how to appropriately vent. He might address anger during individual or group counseling sessions, which will help him in the future.
  • Fear – Find a buddy or staff member that your son can relate to. This person, in turn, might introduce him to other students so that he can make new friends.
  • Loneliness – The best way to overcome loneliness is by staying busy. Find new activities, sports and new friends to spend time with. Keep photos of your home, pets, friends and family close at hand.
  • Shyness – The other boys might feel shy as well but might try to cover up their feelings by acting boisterous. He should look for new friends to connect with. He can break the ice by asking others questions about where they live and their hobbies. He can also find activities, clubs and sports to fill his free time. Remind him that if he is friendly, others will likely reciprocate.
  • Express his feelings – For times when he can’t speak with you, encourage him to keep a journal to process his feelings.

Dealing with the Transition to Boarding School

The following practical tips can help you and your child deal with the transition to a therapeutic boarding school:

  • Visit the school with your child before he goes away from home.
  • Connect with a staff person as a liaison so that you have a point of contact for your child.
  • Remain in touch as much as possible, depending on school policies. Learn these ahead of time. For example, can parents visit the school? How often can children contact you via technology? Are they allowed to have phones? How does the school differentiate between bad bout of homesickness and an actual problem that might affect his learning? Answering these questions can help your son adjust more easily.
  • Continue to provide support to your son, especially during the first few weeks of school.
  • Encourage his involvement in sports and activities at the school.

Your son will likely deal with difficult emotions and new experiences as he begins therapeutic boarding school. However, preparing him for this new phase of life can help him adjust successfully.

A Father’s Choice – Finding Hope In A Therapeutic Boarding School In Utah

Father is a title of honor and respect. The father is the protector, the provider, the mentor, and the role model for his boys. He is building his boys into men. Good boys come from good fathers--and bad boys come from bad fathers, right? Well, the truth is, even the best fathers have boys that make bad choices, and it can be a painful reality.

It is hard not to blame ourselves when our children make mistakes, we beat ourselves up and feel that we have failed them. Some teenage boys with amazing fathers will make big mistakes, and people may judge us, but our role as fathers never change. No matter how far off the path our sons may stray, no matter what people may think of us, we love our boys and we try to do what is best for them.

Hard choices fathers make for their troubled teens

Some boys have behavioral issues or emotional problems. Some boys have mental health issues that cause defiance or depression. Some boys find themselves trapped in gangs or substance abuse. What do you do for a wayward son who is spiraling out of control? This choice is a difficult one for a father to make, but the best thing for your son can be sending him away for help.

Finding the right program or boarding school is another hard choice, there are many misconceptions about schools for troubled teens that can be worrisome. Boarding schools are seen as a form of punishment with lots of tough love and harsh task masters. This choice is not about incarceration, it's about rehabilitation, which can be found at the Liahona Academy.

Therapeutic boarding school brings hope

A good boarding school for a troubled teen must include a safe environment with trustworthy teachers and coaches, continued high school studies, healthy lifestyle, and professional counseling. The Liahona Academy provides all these things for troubled teens. We take away the negative social distractions of a normal life and give boys extra scaffolding to find and rebuild their lives.

There is hope with the Liahona Academy. We put your child’s well being above everything, and there is real, lasting change for your son. The staff is professional, caring, and energetic. We meet and exceed every law, regulation, and ethical requirement of the state of Utah. Your teen will be safe and cared for and receive the best therapeutic treatment possible.

If you're having trouble with your teen, call us today! Liahona Academy has helped thousands of families to find hope and healing by providing teens with the tools they need to be responsible and productive young men. We are confident this is the best choice for your son's success.