Parents Checklist for Sending Their Son to a School for Troubled Teens

You’re considering sending your son to a school for troubled teens. Maybe you’ve already decided on a therapeutic boarding school. You want to be confident that this is the best choice for your teen, so that he can get the help he needs for his emotional, behavioral or mental health issues. You also want to be sure that you prepare your son for his stay at a therapeutic boarding school.

Check the Credentials

Check the credentials of the boarding school you are considering. A boarding school for troubled teen must have a good therapy program. This includes individual therapy to help your son deal with his emotional, behavioral or mental health issues, as well as group therapy and family counseling. The boarding school should be regulated by a local governing authority and have on their staff a licensed psychologist, licensed therapist, and licensed medical doctor. There should be a strong academic program with qualified teachers. Background checks should be required for all staff and volunteers. Staff members who are not licensed should be supervised by licensed personnel. As parents, your first concern is that your son will be safe, well cared for, and provided with an education, as well as therapy.

Talk to Your Son

Tell your teen that you love him and you want to help him. Explain that you feel sending him to a therapeutic boarding school is the best way to get him the help he needs. Make it clear that you are not abandoning him or sending him away as a punishment. But also explain that you think removing him from the stresses of his everyday life and the negative influence of his present environment will help him to focus on healing and learning to deal with his emotional, behavioral or mental health issues. Explain that he will be receiving therapy, working on schoolwork, and participating in fun activities. Look at the school’s website or literature together. Discuss the activities the school offers, especially those that your teen will have an interest in. Some schools for troubled teens offer outdoor activities such as hiking, camping, or swimming. Some feature enrichment activities in art, music, or dance. Assure your son that you will visit him and communicate with him as much as possible. Tell him you will miss him while he’s gone, but you are confident he will be getting the help that he needs. Encourage him to express his concerns and ask any questions he may have about the boarding school.

Set Some Goals

Talk to your teen about what he can hope to gain from his stay at the therapeutic boarding school. Discuss some goals both he and you have for his healing. Some of the things you might want him to accomplish are learning how to better deal with his behavioral or mental health problems; developing new and healthy habits and avoiding bad habits; demonstrating control of his emotions; improving his grades and academic progress; restoring family relationships; developing healthy social skills and useful life skills, improving his self-esteem. Setting goals will help you and your son to track his progress, and will help him to feel good about his accomplishments when he reaches a goal.

Complete the Paperwork

Gather the necessary documents and do the paperwork for admission to the boarding school. You will need your son’s birth certificate, medical records, immunization records, school records, and possibly legal records. Check the school’s website or information brochure to find out what to pack for your son’s stay. Read the school’s behavior guidelines and discuss them with your son. Make sure he understands what behavior is expected and what consequences there may be for not following the rules. Find out about visiting days and communicating with your child. Plan for your first visit so both you and your son have that visit to look forward to. Look into the program’s family counselling and make counseling sessions a priority in your own life.

Be at Peace with Your Decision

As parents, we often find it difficult to do what’s best for our child. It’s not an easy decision to send your teen to a therapeutic boarding school. You’ve done everything you could to help your child, but nothing else that you tried seemed to work. His behavior may have even become dangerous, and you worry for his safety. You’ve probably blamed yourself and questioned your ability as a parent. Now you need to put your son in the hands of professionals who are trained and experienced at helping teens that have the same kinds of issues. Be at peace knowing that you have made a loving and caring decision to help your child heal and live a better life.

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