Earning A High School Degree While Attending A Residential Treatment Center

Many troubled teens struggle with academics and their parents worry that their teens will never receive a high school diploma. That is why many parents choose to send their troubled teens to a residential treatment center, so their teens cannot only receive help changing negative behaviors but also receive a high school diploma.

Choose An Accredited Program For Your Teen

While some people believe there is no difference between receiving a high school diploma and a G.E.D., this is not the case. There are several potential downsides to your teen receiving a G.E.D. rather than a high school diploma.

  • Employment - Some employers consider a G.E.D. as a mark that the holder was not dedicated enough to complete a high school diploma. This may cause G.E.D. holders to lose out on future job opportunities to those who do have high school diplomas.
  • Enlistment - The United States armed forces have limited enlistment spots for those who have a G.E.D. as it is considered a lower tier of education.
  • College - While all colleges approach G.E.D. holders differently, many students attempting to enroll in college after receiving a G.E.D. may have to take placement and assessment tests to prove they are ready for college. Also, some college scholarships require the recipient to have a high school diploma and not a G.E.D.

Some troubled teen programs are not required to offer an accredited educational program or they only offer academics which will ready teens to take the GED. Some states, such as Utah, require their residential treatment centers to have accredited educational programs. So, before you send your troubled teen to a residential treatment program, make sure they have an accredited educational program which can lead to a high school diploma.

Residential Treatment Offers Specialized Educational Help

The American public education system is very much a one-size-fits-all with minimal exceptions. Parents with children who have academic struggles often have to battle with school districts to gain extra aid for their children. Residential treatment centers offer specialized education help to troubled teens and work with parents to understand the teens' various educational needs. Some kinds of academic aid offered by residential treatment centers, like Liahona Academy, offer are:

  • State-licensed teachers - To ensure your troubled teen is receiving a top-quality education, accredited educational residential treatment centers will supply state-licensed teacher with small classrooms so your teen can receive personalized instruction.
  • Certified tutors - Along with the small classes, the best programs offer tutors so all students can receive the academic aid they need.
  • IEP and 504 Plan compliance - Accredited educational programs at residential treatment centers will fully comply with any IEP or 504 Plan that your teen has from their last school district.
  • Therapeutic plan - Unlike the public school system, your troubled teen's teachers will be aware of your teen's therapeutic needs. So, while the public school system makes few allowances for teens with mental health problems, residential treatment centers will make adjustments for issues such as depression, anxiety, ADD/ADHD, anger management, and more.

You don't have to give up your dreams of your teen graduating with a high school diploma when you choose to send them to a residential treatment center. At Liahona Academy, we take your teen son's education and therapeutic needs seriously. Contact us today and we will be happy to discuss your son's particular needs, from behavioral to educational.

Common Therapy Methods Used In Therapeutic Boarding Schools

It can be hard to know just how to help a troubled teen, especially as circumstances will vary depending on your teen's personality. From an angry, rebellious teen to a withdrawn teenager who is failing to thrive despite your best efforts, there is one thing that all types of troubled teens have in common — they can benefit from a therapeutic setting.

Why Choose Therapeutic Treatment For Your Troubled Teen

Some parents, frustrated with the lack of change in their troubled teens, may want to send their child to a boot camp or other behavior modification programs. Unfortunately, this will not address the root cause of the troubled teen's problem. Even if the troubled teen corrects the behavior, with the root issue unaddressed, it is more likely that the teen will backslide in the future.

Therapy is key to helping troubled teens make permanent changes. Instead of focusing on just changing the outward manifestation of the teen's problem, the right therapeutic treatment will help troubled teen face what is causing the problem in the first place.

Therapy Methods Used In Therapeutic Boarding Schools

Remaining at home and attending therapy may not be enough to allow your troubled teen to change, as progressing to making permanent changes can be hard when your teen is possibly still surrounded by the things that are the root cause of their troubles. Because of that, therapeutic boarding schools can help your troubled teen address their problems in a supportive environment and make a fresh start. Some of the most common therapy methods used in therapeutic boarding schools are:

  • Personal therapy - Trained therapists work with your teen at therapeutic boarding schools. Most of these therapists specialize in helping troubled youth and use therapeutic modalities such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), emotionally-focused therapy (EFT), anger management, dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT) and more to specifically target your teen's needs.
  • Experiential therapy - Using tools such as props and activities, troubled teens use this type of therapy to connect and process their experiences as well as the emotions connected to the experience. This is especially helpful if your teen has had a hard time verbalizing their problems.
  • Group therapy - Generally therapist-led, group therapy serves several functions. Troubled teens are able to work together, supporting one another as they discuss their problems. This can help your troubled teen feel less isolated, where they feel as though they are the only ones struggling. It also gives them a strong support system as your troubled teen works toward making positive changes.
  • Family therapy - To help families reconnect, most therapeutic boarding schools offer family therapy. With a therapist to guide the sessions, families can work with their troubled teens and open healthy dialogues with each other as they are finally able to discuss problems in a healthy way.

Liahona's Therapeutic Program For Troubled Teen Boys

At Liahona Academy, we bring all these therapeutic methods together into our program as well as a strong academic aspect. Here, troubled teen boys can truly begin to heal and learn how to move forward toward a positive future. If your son is struggling to change, contact us and see if he would benefit from our program.

How Your Teen Learns From Rewards And Punishment At A Residential Treatment Center

Does your teen suffer from anxiety and depression? Are those conditions causing other outbursts and behavioral issues? Could they be being worsened by certain other diagnoses, such as ADHD, mood disorders or personality disorders?

Troubled teens are commonly plagued with the above list of problems. It can make life for them (and for you) extremely challenging, as just getting through day to day tasks are a struggle. One of the most effective treatment options out there for those conditions is behavioral modification.

What Is Behavioral Modification?

At its core, behavioral modification therapy is the act of acknowledging the source of a behavior and actively attempting to change your response. This is done by isolating emotions associated with certain actions and then learning coping strategies that are healthier. Over time these behavioral modifications become second nature, leading to a better response the next time those overwhelming feelings occur.

There are many ways that these strategies are taught. In the beginning of a stay at a residential treatment center it is likely that a simple method will be used: rewards and punishments.

Rewards and Punishments In a Therapeutic Setting

You have probably used this system yourself with little success when dealing with your troubled teen. In a therapeutic setting it is usually a little different. There is not a single person offering the reward or punishment for behavior, but an entire staff. There are other patients who are getting one or the other, acting as an example to your teen. There are more consistent punishments and rewards, in a stable environment free of as many distractions as they would find at home.

All of these factors help to make this system an effective starting point for learning behavioral modifications. As treatment continues, it will go into more advanced forms of modification. Those include isolating emotions and triggers and dealing with them in a healthy way. Rewards and consequences can play into that treatment as well, showing teens the benefits of cooperation and continued use of the taught coping strategies.

Does a Reward and Punishment System Have To Be Done In Treatment?

No, you do not have to put your child in a residential treatment center to use this method of behavioral modification. However, residential treatment centers have trained staff and a more steady environment that make it more effective than if done at home.

Find out more about this and other treatment options available to your child at Liahona Academy.

Taking Care of Teenage Boys That May Be Killed By Their Curiosity

The old adage "curiosity killed the cat," isn't an exaggeration; and unfortunately, it doesn't just apply to cats. When teenage boys act on curiosity that leads them into dangerous and/or illegal activities, it's a very scary thing for parents to face. But these "curious" boys cannot be left to their own devices--they need extra care and guidance. How do you take care of teenage boys that may be killed by their own curiosity?

How Did My Teenage Boy Become Like This?

Parents can usually tell when their teenage boy begins having serious behavioral issues. Sometimes the issues begin with the onset of adolescence. This is when outside influences, such as friends, become much more important to them. It's also when physical changes begin to occur, such as the hormones of puberty and the associated mood changes. Sometimes there has been a traumatic event in the family, such as a divorce. There may also be mental or physical issues that existed since your teen boy was born. These issues, plus the stress and anxiety associated with school and peer influences may all play a role in his behavior. As parents, it is completely normal to want to discover why your son is acting out in these destructive ways.

The issues causing the behavior can help you, and others you enlist to help, to understand where the behavior is coming from and what you can do to address it. If the out-of-control behavior starts after some kind of trauma or loss, there are many places to get professional help for your boy. But no matter why the destructive behavior is happening, there are still consequences, and the behavior still must be dealt with. If an adult is arrested for robbing a bank, the judge isn't going to let him off because he claims he needed money to pay his debts or feed his family. His financial struggles aren't an excuse for breaking the law, and that's just how it is. Consequences must play out, and that's how it must be for all members of society. It is definitely important to look at issues that contribute to delinquent behavior, but a teenage boy still needs to be held responsible for his actions.

Please note that if your teenage boy is engaging in destructive, illegal behavior, it is recommended that you consult with a professional therapist or residential treatment center right away.

How Can I Manage My Son's Destructive Behavior?

According to Kim Abraham, LMSW, it's very important for parents to remember that they cannot control their children's behavior. However, they can control their own response to that behavior! It is a parent's job to make sure that their children are held responsible for their actions. Here are some critical responses for parents dealing with their teenage boy's destructive behavior:

  1. Make sure that your son is held accountable for his choices. If he's been engaging in illegal behavior, you may have to allow the law to take over, and that's important. Your son needs to know that there are consequences for his actions, and that you cannot protect him from those consequences. Doing so would not be in his best interests.
  2. Don't put off getting professional help. For example, according to CBS News, two million teens need substance abuse treatment, but only about 150,000 of them actually get it.
  3. Be a good example. If you expect certain behaviors of your teenage boy, such as no underage drinking, make sure you exhibit the behaviors of a responsible drinker yourself. In other words, make sure your son knows what your family values are, and that you live them.
  4. Set consequences for breaking those family rules, and then be consistent and apply them every single time the rules are broken.
  5. Find support for you and the family. A teenage son who is acting out in destructive ways doesn't only harm himself--he harms the whole family. Family therapy, support groups, and even a trusted friend can be vital during this time.

What Can I Do to Help My Family Survive?

At Hope for Hurting Parents, Tom and Dena Yohe share helpful information and lessons they gleaned from parenting a rebellious teen. They report that the number one lesson learned was that they needed to prioritize the actual relationships in the family--with each other, with their rebellious child, and with their other children. They used an analogy everyone in the family could relate to: a broken bone. The rebellious child was like a broken bone which needed some extra care and attention to help it heal properly, but without neglecting the rest of the family {the body}. It's definitely a fine line for parents to walk.

The Yohe's also took a look at their calendar in order to prioritize family time. Worrying about a destructive teen takes a lot out of his parents and family--mentally, emotionally and physically. They suggest parents cut out activities that are nonessential to the health and survival of the family, and focus on those things that will help to rejuvenate and build up the family as much as possible.

When Professional Help is Needed

As previously mentioned, once laws are broken, parents have a responsibility to allow justice to run its course. Even if laws have not been broken, if you can see that your teenage boy is on his way to serious trouble, it's time to consider professional help. Sometimes it is helpful to completely remove the boy from his destructive influences. In many cases, getting therapeutic help in completely different surroundings is an effective tool in redirecting your teenage boy's destructive behaviors. A fresh start in a therapeutic boot camp may be just what your teenage son needs.

Residential treatment is a place where your teenage son can begin to heal in a structured, safe and completely supervised environment. Liahona Academy provides just this type of long-term support and therapy for teen boys, as well as their parents and family. Don't hesitate to seek out the professional help you need to get your son back on track to a healthy and productive life!

When A Strict Parent’s Mindset Hinders The Family’s Growth Potential

When A Strict Parent's Mindset Hinders The Family's Growth Potential

When it comes to raising children, the common perception is that a strict parenting style leads to well-behaved children. From an external point of view, children of authoritarian parents certainly seem to be more polite, obedient, compliant and easy to manage.

However, research has shown that overly-controlling parents can cause their children severe long-term psychological damage.

Strict, Authoritarian Parenting

Parents who adopt this parenting style often have strict rules and regulations in place and expect their kids to follow them to the letter. Their word is final and their kids have no room to negotiate or express their thoughts or feelings. Indeed, children brought up in this rule-oriented parenting style are allowed little freedom of thought and independent decision-making or creative experimentation is frowned upon.

Most strict parents assume that they know what’s best for their children and impose their will with little regard for their kids’ opinions or emotional needs. Punitive punishment is the preferred means of getting children to behave. Additionally, such parents rarely show affection for their children preferring to use emotional withdrawal to enhance their authority and control.

Effects On Children And The Family

Ironically, strict parents often lead their children to develop the very behavioral problems they sought to avoid in the first place. Children from these households may develop a range of mental and emotional issues including:

  • Low self-esteem and self-worth because of feeling that their emotions or thoughts don’t matter to their parents.
  • Poor decision-making and lack of personal responsibility stemming from their parents’ controlling nature. As a result, these kids fail to internalize personal responsibility and self-discipline.
  • Defiance and rebellion towards authority.
  • A tendency towards bullying. Kids learn that might is right and learn to use force and fear to manipulate and control others.
  • Substance abuse, sexual promiscuity and other delinquent behavior as they seek love and acceptance outside their families.
  • Depression, loneliness and even suicide attempts as they often feel they are not good enough to earn their parents’ love and affection.
  • Poor parent-child relationship. Both parents and kids in such families fail to develop a close relationship based on acceptance and open communication.

Teens who develop these issues often need to be sent to a therapeutic boarding school or residential treatment center to receive professional help to reform and turn their lives around.

What Works Instead

Instead of adopting a strict and rigid mindset when raising your family, try a combination of discipline, empathy and understanding. Set age appropriate limits and rules and work with your teen to find out their passions, opinions and thoughts instead of imposing your own.

If you are the parent of a troubled teen who is struggling with mental, emotional or behavioral issues, we at Liahona Academy are ready to assist. Contact us today and let our team of highly skilled professionals help your son to overcome these issues and go on to lead a productive life.

The Best Parenting Forums To Gather Parenting Resources

The Best Parenting Forums To Gather Parenting Resources

Being a parent can be stressful and confusing! Kids go through phases and can be unpredictable. They are also independent being with thoughts, feelings and ideas of their own that we can't always understand or don't know how to deal with.

Before the internet, parents relied on advice from their own family or the town doctor. But today we are lucky enough to have the web and its vast resources for parenting tips and tricks.

What's even better is that whatever parenting style you favor — positive, attachment, authoritative, permissive — there is likely a vibrant online community for your niche. And the advice is coming from real parents who are in the trenches right there with you.

Here is a list of some of the best parenting forums out there:

  • Circle of Moms: Topics run the gamut from getting a picky toddler to eat to teenager woes, but most of it is skewed towards parents of younger children with popular topics including birthday party ideas, toddler speech development and newborn sleep training.
  • Family Education: This site is very organized and has content divided into easy-to-access categories like "School & Learning", "Teens" and "Entertainment & Activities." Unlike most of the other forums mentioned on this list, this content is created by staff writers.
  • Today Parenting: This off-shoot of the Today Show is a place where viewers can ask questions, share answers and even write posts for the site. There is also a fun parenting challenge section that will inspire you to be a better parent.
  • Parenting.com: The popular magazine, Parenting, provides this online mecca for real moms and dads to talk about everything from teething to fertility. The forum's description explains why people love reading answers from fellow parents in forums: "Sometimes it's nice to get advice from experts with a lot of letters degrees behind their names, but other times you just need to hear from another parent what has worked." This is so true. Your pediatrician might tell you something and you will believe it, but if ten of your best girlfriends all validate that idea, it will help you feel completely confident.
  • Mothering.com: This forum is handy because it is organized by age category. So if you are the parent of a teenager, you don't have to wade through a bunch of potty training posts to find about the threads about curfews. You just keep scrolling until you find your people!
  • Sybermoms: This site is hilarious. If you are looking for some comic relief to go along with sound advice, this is the place to get it! And the thread category names will make you smile. They even have a thread specifically for dads on this site.
  • Just Mommies: This group is all about friendly and warm encouragement. One unique thing about this site is that they have special threads specifically for parents dealing with grief and loss of all kinds. It's a much-needed respite for parents doing their best.
  • Natural Parenting: This group has an international tone and is based in Australia. If you have older kids be sure to check out the "Big Kids World" and "Talking Teens" pages. There tends to be lots of great advice for raising young kids on the web and less helpful material for wrangling teenagers, but this group bucks that trend.
  • Liahona Academy: Our blog has great info for specifically for helping parents of troubled teenagers. We covers topics that affect at-risk youth including bullying, behavior disorders, social problems, online safety and the benefits of therapeutic boarding school programs.

4 Communication Problem Solving Activities Recommended By Therapist

4 Communication Problem Solving Activities Recommended By Therapist

Conflict in relationships is inevitable. And in the case of parent-teenager relationships, it is not only inevitable but frequent and likely heated at times. If you are the parent a troubled teen who is struggling at home or school, the situation is even more precarious.

Instead of trying to avoid conflict entirely, it's better to focus on developing strategies to tackle these situations. Adopting better communication skills and engaging in problem solving activities will not only help you de-escalate fights, it will teach your teen important life skills. A teen who learns how to effectively solve a disagreement with a parent is a teen who is more equipped to thrive in all types of relationships: siblings, friends, co-workers, marriage, etc. The New York Times describes it like this: "The nature of family quarrels can also drive how adolescents manage their relationships with people beyond the home."

Here are three problem solving activities recommended by therapists.

1. Seek to understand the issue from both sides.

Stephen Covey, one of the world's most renowned thinkers and writers, coined the phrase: Seek first to understand, and then to be understood. This powerful idea is best transmitted to teenagers by example. So when you are arguing about curfew, instead of immediately launching into all the reasons why are you right and they are wrong, or simply stating that you are in charge and not them — consider their perspective. This might sound like this: "I know you want to stay out until 12:30 like your friends are allowed to do. I get that it is annoying to be the only one who has to go home earlier. I can see how it might make you feel awkward and that it feels unfair."

Even if you ultimately stick to your guns, the verbal exercise of "seeking to understand" your teenager's thoughts and feelings will make them feel validated and heard. The American Psychological Association has studied this theory and has found evidence that while younger children lack the neurological capacity to see another's point of view, the adolescent years are when abstract reasoning and comprehension for competing viewpoints is possible.

Plus, taking the time to acknowledge your teen's point of view may prompt them to do the same for you.

2. Take deep breaths and practice emotional control.

Teenage brains are not fully developed. They are still learning how to manage intense emotions. Which is why it is so important for parents to model how to keep emotions in check. So when your teen say something completely ridiculous, like "I hate you, you are the worst mom/dad ever!", take a deep breath and hold your tongue. Take a moment to neutralize your reactive emotions and try to respond as calmly as possible. If you explode too it will only get more out of hand. This is a tip that is easier said than done and can require monumental amounts of zen at times.

3. Avoid triggering words and phrases.

Even if your teen seem is completely brazen and unapologetically rude, refrain from using hurtful words that can be triggering. Words like "always" and "forever" are rarely warranted and when used can make a teen feel helpless For example, saying something like "You are always ungrateful and you never do what I ask" is not helpful. It actually communicates to your teen that you have already made up your mind about their behavior and any positive future positive efforts will likely be futile. Comparing, labeling or "because I said so" are other things to avoid. They don't move the argument closer to resolution and can be emotionally damaging.

4. Bring in reinforcements when necessary.

Sometimes a relationship needs help from a neutral third party to successfully resolve conflicts and move forward. Family counselors, therapists and therapeutic boarding schools are great options for specialized assistance in these areas. If you feel like you have tried everything and nothing is working, get the help you are your teen deserve!

With Visual Stimuli Everywhere How Can You Educate Your Son About Online Triggers

With Visual Stimuli Everywhere How Can You Educate Your Son About Online Triggers

Thanks to the internet, we now live in a time of unprecedented and boundless flow of information. The sheer amount of online content available sometimes boggles the mind. While some of this content presents an enormous range of positive materials and educational experiences for our children, some of it can be quite damaging.

Garbage In, Garbage Out

Online triggers come in different forms. Other than porn, your son can also encounter content that encourages or glorifies violence, hatred, racism and even alcohol and drug abuse. The consequences of consuming such content varies from teen to teen and is dependent on the type of content viewed and the duration of exposure.

Even content that isn’t meant to be harmful can have unintended outcomes. For instance, the bragging that happens on most social media platforms is generally considered harmless. However, studies have found that social media culture sets unhealthy expectations for teens and contributes to the increasing incidence of depression in adolescents.

Constant exposure to peers touting their ‘perfect lives and bodies’ can lead to low self-esteem and negative body image among teenage boys. Similarly, porn and other sexually explicit material can give your son a skewed view of love, women, relationships and sex too. Let’s also not forget that aggressive behavior in teens- characterized by bullying, fighting and defiance towards authority- has been linked to viewing violent content in online and offline media.

Solutions That Work

Being more vigilant and protective about what your son sees online can go a long way towards minimizing his exposure to harmful online triggers. However, in spite of your best efforts, your son will eventually come across negative content. The best way to fight this is by preparing him to recognize inappropriate content and giving him the skills to neutralize any potential harm. Here’s how:

  • Educate your son. Teaching your son some basic internet precautions will equip him to recognize inappropriate messages and what to do about it. Let him know how hate-group recruiters or sexual predators operate and who to contact in case it happens. Having these skills will make your son less vulnerable online.
  • Create an environment that’s conducive to open communication. Talking about your life and experiences with your son helps him to understand and verbalize his own feelings. Furthermore, cultivating a close father-son relationship by being an active participant in your son’s life will give him the confidence to approach you about any issues he encounters.
  • Be a role model. Modelling appropriate behavior ensures that your son has a positive male figure to emulate and this will stand him in good stead when faced with negative online triggers.
  • Seek help. If your son has developed emotional or behavioral problems as a result of what he’s been exposed to online, a stay at a residential treatment center can be immensely beneficial. Contact Liahona Academy for more information on this and other teen therapeutic programs.

Why Won’t My Husband Talk To His Son About Depression?

Why Won't My Husband Talk To His Son About Depression?

Teen depression has been on the increase in recent years. According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), 5.7% of adolescents that had a major depressive episode in 2014 were male. As if this wasn’t worrying enough, another poll revealed that almost half of teenage boys (49%) between ages 16-18 felt uncomfortable talking to their fathers about mental health issues.

That last statistic raises the question “Why do most dads feel uncomfortable talking to their sons about depression or other mental or emotional issues?”

Strained Father-Son Relationships

To get the answer, you need to look at how differently men and women are socialized. From the time they’re small, girls are encouraged to express their feelings while boys are frowned upon for doing so. For a man, being emotional is considered wimpy and unmanly. Men are brought up thinking that they need to be tough and stoic and any excessive displays of emotion are deemed to be a show of weakness.

This creates problems later on. You see, boys who grow up suppressing their emotions often go on to become detached and emotionally unavailable dads who erroneously believe that any show of emotion towards their kids means that they’re weak. This attitude is then passed on to their sons who in turn grow up repressing their emotions, creating a negative cycle that’s difficult to break.

The inability to express emotions is at the heart of most strained father-son relationships. Dads who are uncomfortable talking about their feelings are just as unlikely to discuss depression and other mental illnesses with their sons.

Teenage boys on the other hand, are often reluctant to initiate such discussions due to fear, shame and the stigma associated with a mental health problem.

Finding A Solution

The good news is that all’s not lost. There are several things you can do, as a father, to help your depressed son.

  • Cultivating a strong father-son relationship. The best way to do this is to find a hobby or common interest you can bond over such as camping, fishing or sports. Participating in this activity together will give you time to talk and create a healthy relationship with your son, thereby encouraging him to open up on any issues he might have.
  • Being present and involved in your son’s life. Instead of being a distant father, take an active interest in your son’s life. Ask about his hobbies, studies, friends, etc. and also talk about your own life. Research shows that teenage boys are likely to have fewer behavior problems if their fathers are active in their lives.
  • Becoming a positive mental health role model. Sons take cues from their fathers on how to behave so it is important that you model positive behavior for him to emulate.

If you need more help with your troubled teen, we at Liahona Academy are ready to assist. Contact us today.