When You’ve Decided Your Teen’s ‘Back To School’ Will Be Different

By the time most parents consider sending their teen to a boarding school for troubled teens, often that teen has been expelled from at least one school before. And no matter what promises were made by the teen to shape up over the summer, it’s the same old story—calls from family and friends about the teen’s behavior, outbursts at home, maybe even run-in with law enforcement.

If these circumstances seem familiar, know that you aren’t alone. And rather than gamble that this school year will be different after a long summer of poor behavior, it may be time to send your teen to a residential treatment center so that this year can be different.

Why Choose A Residential Treatment Center

When you have a troubled teen who has consistently struggled with their emotional, behavioral, and mental health despite the resources you have been able to provide, a residential treatment center for troubled teens can provide your teen with more immersive resources and help. Some of the key things provided by a residential treatment center are:

  • Accredited educational program - Unlike other troubled teen programs, attending a residential treatment center will not disrupt your teen’s schooling as they provide an accredited educational program that will help get your teen on track with their peers. With state-licensed teachers, tutors, and the ability to redo failed classes, your teen can even graduate from a residential treatment program with a high school diploma, rather than a GED.
  • Immersive, therapeutic setting - To truly address a struggling teen’s poor behavior, therapy is a critical component, which is why residential treatment centers provide several types of therapy. Attending teens will have individual therapy sessions with a licensed mental health therapist, along with daily group therapy sessions. There is also experiential therapy, allowing teens to make new, positive associations and build up confidence and self-esteem.
  • Trained, professional staff - Not all troubled teen programs are created equal, with programs like teen boot camps and wilderness programs providing less well-trained staffers. Yet, at a residential treatment center, you will find licensed professionals in key roles throughout the program, from the medical staff to the licensed teachers and therapists.
  • Healing and nurturing environment - Part of why teens struggle to shed old, negative behavior patterns is due to the fact that they are still immersed in the same environment that prompted these behaviors. By attending a residential treatment center where everyone is focused on making healthy, positive life choices, it can be far easier for your teen to change.

How To Prepare Your Teen For Their New Environment

Even with all the positives of attending a residential treatment center, it is natural for teens to be resistant at the idea of any major change. Not only would it be a significant life change, but for all that a rebellious teen may fight with their family, it still would be intimidating to be away from home.

To help prepare your teen for their transition to a residential treatment center, you can:

  • Discuss with your teen about what a residential treatment center is and why you think it will help them.
  • Visit the campus with them, as residential treatment centers are operated year-round.
  • Talk to your teen about where their current actions are going to lead them and how they clearly need more help to change.
  • See if a conference call between the residential treatment center and your teen can be arranged.

However, even by doing these things, you can still experience push-back from your teen. Also, some parents choose not to inform their teen that they will be attending a residential treatment center if they believe that it will cause their teenager to run away. As you know your child best, it is up to you to make the call on whether you inform your teen or not.

But know that by making the choice to send your teen to a residential treatment center, you can provide them with the opportunity to truly make their time at school different, and likely, changing the course of your child’s life.

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