What Schools For Troubled Teens Expect From Parents

When deciding whether to enroll your son into a therapeutic boarding school, it's important to consider not only the effect that the school will make on your child, but also the effects on you as a parent and the family as a whole.

Participation in Family Visits

Make time in your schedule to visit your teen as often as you're allowed. Since communication with the family is limited at first, it's important to maintain the family connections whenever the opportunity arises. You want your son to know that he's still very much loved and still very much a part of the family even though he's away from home. Visiting as often as possible gives your teen the chance to look forward to seeing you. It also establishes consistency for him to realize that responsibility for the family's closeness is incumbent upon everyone, not just him. A further benefit of family visits is that it helps you stay in the loop on your child's progress by meeting with the boarding school's staff.

Attend Family Therapy

When you visit your son, you should attend -- and actively participate in -- the family therapy sessions that are held during parental visits. These therapy sessions are critical to the family as a whole and by attending you also role model for your teen how he should behave and get benefits from the therapy sessions. Every family member will benefit from these sessions, not just your teen, but parents and siblings included. These therapy sessions are designed to learn how to understand and assist your son while he works through recovery and overcoming his own issues. If approached with a positive mindset and a willingness to be open, family therapy can make a huge difference to your entire clan.

Communication Starts With You

Most troubled youth programs put the onus on you to call and ask for updates about your child. From a practical standpoint, initiating communication is much easier for the parent to do than it would be to logistically schedule and contact multiple parents at many different locations. So be sure to check in often for updates on your son's progress. Staying engaged with your child's progress is an important skill to adopt even after he's left the boarding school. Make it a habit to find out how your son is doing on a regular basis.

Ready Your Home for Your Teen's Return

To ensure your son's continued success when he returns home, make sure you abide by the school's home plan and other recommendations as closely as possible. It's important for his environment to stay consistent while he continues to recover. Areas to be sensitive to upon your teen's return include, the consistency of the family's schedule, practicing new communication skills, attending any ongoing therapy sessions, and tutoring or medication if required. Lastly, make sure your son has enough structured recreation time, such as sports, band, or volunteering because sometimes boredom can lead to a relapse of bad habits.


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