Problem Teens: Residential Therapy and Making that Difficult Decision

Seeking residential help can be daunting online.

Seeking residential help can be daunting online.

Summer is here and some parents will be considering summer camps while others are in the midst of hoping their teenager passed the school year, or had enough credits to graduate. If you are the parent of a teen who is struggling with school and acting out, it can drive you to your wit’s end.

Maybe your once fun-loving teenager who is good looking, intelligent, and has lots of good friends is now talking back to you, staying out late or sneaking out, defiant, and possibly sexually active? On the flip side, your once sweet child might be a teenage misfit who is acting out because of bullying, or is experimenting with sex, drugs, and/or alcohol in a desperate attempt to find acceptance.

What happens when you have a teenager that decides they don’t want to finish high school when they are more than capable? Perhaps they were consistently getting excellent grades and now they are just getting by or failing completely.  From an overachiever to an underachiever.  Or you have the teen that used to be a great athlete, was a popular kid in school–suddenly your child has become withdrawn and is hanging with a group of new peers that are less than desirable.

Is this typical teen behavior?

Possible, but how do you know when it is and when you need to intervene?

As the school year is coming to an end, it is a good time for parents to evaluate where their teen is at both emotionally and academically–especially if they are in High School. These are your final years to make a significant difference in their lives, and get them on a positive road towards their futures. When a child is crying out for help by using illegal substances,  running away, flunking in school, becoming secretive, possibly affiliating with a gang, or displaying other negative behavior it is a parent’s responsibility to get involved, as painful as that is, and seek treatment.

When adolescents reach the point of rebelliousness, many parents will try therapy, and this is a good place to start. But the success of local treatment will depend on the child and how far their behavior has escalated. Unfortunately many parents I have spoken to have reported that the one-hour session once a week–or even twice a week–rarely makes a difference in their teen’s behavior. For many parents there comes a time when residential therapy is taken under serious consideration–especially if drugs and/or alcohol are an issue. It is important to seek outside help, and removing a teen from their environment can be critical in getting them the help they need to heal. This is particularly true when a teen needs to be separated from undesirable peers that are instigating or perpetuating their negative behavior.

Though the majority of teens are unwilling to attend residential treatment, most of them are professionally transported by experts in the field. Parents spend a lot of time and stress about this part of the decision, but hiring a professional in this field can lessen the worries. They are trained to work with at-risk youth and will ask you all about your child before they arrive. In speaking with many parents and teens that have successfully used transports, the feedback is overwhelmingly positive.

At the end of the day, your teen truly wants to feel good about themselves again, too. They want to be that happy child that you remember. Remember, they were once that a good kid, and they can become that good person again.  Being a teenager isn’t easy, and parenting that child when you have reached your wit’s end is a challenge. Knowing you are not alone helps!

Take away tips for parents:

When seeking residential treatment, I always encourage parents to look for three key components that I call the ACE factor:

  • Accredited Academics (Ask to see their accreditation): Education is important, some programs actually don’t offer it.
  • Clinical (Credentialed therapists on staff): Please note–on staff.
  • Enrichment Programs (Animal assisted programs, culinary, fine arts, sports etc): Enrichment Programs are crucial to your child’s program. They will help build self-esteem and stimulate them in a positive direction. Find a program with something your teen is passionate about or used to be passionate prior their path in a negative direction.

I also encourage parents to avoid three red flags:

  • Marketing arms and sales reps (All those toll-free numbers, be careful of who you are really speaking to and what is in the best interest of your child.)
  • Short term programs (Wilderness programs or otherwise, rarely is there a quick fix. Short term program are usually short term results. They usually will then convince you to go into a longer term program after you are there a few weeks–why not just start with one? Consistency is key in recovery. An average program is 6-9-12 months, depending on your child’s needs and the program.)
  • Statistics that show their success rate (I have yet to see any program or school have a third party–objective survey–perform a true statistical report on a program’s success. Success is an individual’s opinion. You have to do your own due diligence and call parent references.)

For more information about researching residential therapy and helpful tips, visit http://www.helpyourteens.com and don’t forget to review the list of questions for schools and programs so you can make an educated decision.

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Back to School: Is Your Teen Already Out of Control?

Yes, it is happening again.

We thought maybe a change of schools – maybe a new school year – maybe a fresh start – maybe a new maybe…..

Let’s face it, as parents we hope and pray that our teenager will grow out of that defiant behavior.  This age of entitlement and spoiled rotten brat syndrome is getting worse by the day.

The only refreshing thing is to know you are not alone!  Though it doesn’t make it easier.

One thing I can’t stress enough is parents can’t ignore the warning signs of a teen going down a negative road, especially if they are in their late teens.  Remember once they turn 18 they are no longer in your control – though they may still be living with you, you can’t force them to get help.

If your teen is 16 or 17 years old (especially 17+) and they are spiraling out of control,  it is imperative you seek help for them.  So many times, unfortunately, the once a week therapy session rarely is enough to make a difference at this point.  Usually a teen has been through several therapist – and they won’t even attend.

Don’t be a parent in denial – don’t think it is only marijuana – or it is only because of the friends he/she is hanging with – remember your teen is making the decision to smoke the pot and hang out with those friends.  They are making these bad decisions.

Learn more about getting your teen back on a positive road.  Visit www.helpyourteens.com where we have helped thousands of families since 2001.  There is no shame in admitting your teen is struggling.  We have been there.  Getting help is what responsible parents do.

River View – Another Teen Help Program? Red Flag

It has been 12 years since my daughter endured the awful experiences at Carolina Springs Academy, an offspring of WWASPS – which is the umbrella of many other teen help programs.

When I first posted our story of Deception, Misrepresentation and Fraud it was almost immediately I was sued by them in a an attempt to silence me – and get my story removed. What they didn’t expect was for me to fight back.

After defeating them in a jury trial of their peers in Salt Lake City, Utah, (let’s face it) no one condones child abuse, my story is still online.

Since then, thankfully, Carolina Springs Academy attempted a name change to Magnolia Christian Academy, and shortly after that closed their doors.   However WWASPS still continues in several other branches such as Red River Academy in Louisiana, Cross Creek in Utah, Horizon’s Academy in Utah and the newly River View also in La Verkin Utah.

Though I did win that trial – WWASPS and their sales reps continue to tell parents I am disgruntled parent – or I own or manage other teen help programs.  I don’t.  I help educate parents so what happened to me doesn’t happen to them.

After they lost their appeal to attempt to say the jury made a mistake, I went through a time of awful Internet defamation.  It seem that a group of people decided to slander and libel me online – and it got to a point where it effected my life, my family and my organization that had literally helped thousands of families with at-risk teens.  It left me with no option but to sue the people/person we could identify through the Internet for Internet defamation and invasion of privacy.

With that lawsuit, I again, in a jury trial, won over $11.3M jury verdict for damage done to me.  During depositions it was discovered that WWASPS was indirectly involved with this person and actually referred her to the attorneys she was using.  And at one point WWASPS was receiving the bills for her legal fees.

This trial was back in 2006.  Today in 2012, I hold no grudges over this person – I actually only wish her well.  We all have moved on in our lives.  My only grudge is with the people that harmed my daughter and that, in my opinion, continue to defraud and possibly harm (at least emotionally) families and kids today.

There are many excellent programs in our country.  I don’t tell parents where to go – I just hope they do their due diligence.  If your gut is telling you there is something not right – chances are very good – your gut is right!

Be an educated parent – you will make a better decision for your teen.

Helpful tips for finding teen help programs – click here.

Born, Not Raised: Voices From Juvenile Hall

As I speak to parents on a weekly basis, I often hear how maybe if their teen spent some time behind bars they would appreciate what they have, or if they struggled through a rough primitive program, Wilderness program, militant style, boot camp or that type of model, they could scare their teen straight…. I explain to them if they thought about another approach – finding a a program that can actually determine where this negative behavior is stemming from?  From there work through it and start building to make it into a positive road to a bright future.

This recently released book almost seems to mirror what I have been thinking, though unfortunately, on a more extreme scale, these kids are incarcerated at a young age without a family that seems to truly care or without the means to get them outside help.

New Book Born, Not Raised: Voices From Juvenile Hall, Indicts Juvenile Justice System, Poor Parenting and Education Failures

San Diego Author Susan Madden Lankford, who explored homelessness and female incarceration in her two previous award-winning books, examines the plight of youngsters serving time in juvenile hall in her latest book BORN, NOT RAISED: Voices From Juvenile Hall  (Humane Exposures Publishing).

For two years, Susan Lankford and her daughter Polly Smith interviewed more than 120 incarcerated teenagers, eight of them weekly. In this book she features their voices, views, writing and drawings—along with interviews with pediatric psychiatrists, neurobiologists, judges, probation officers and other professionals.  In researching her previous book on women in jail, Lankford learned that a majority of them had at least two children in foster care, living with relatives or in detention. Because of the lack of basic parenting skills needed to produce productive individuals, many of their kids end up in jail, too.

“In studying these teens for BORN, NOT RAISED, I learned the major factors that added to or reduced the likelihood of their incarceration and recidivism,” Lankford explains. “One of the main things which I stress in the book is that there is a critical need for a family with a good-enough, consistent, loving and nurturing figure who helps children through the developmental stages to produce a curious, empathic and responsible youth, capable of resilience, adjustment, impulse control and good social skills.

“In this book I indict today’s educational system for its failure to respond to the needs of the global market and technology, as well as to the critical needs of students. I detail terrific programs which have discovered how to motivate kids who can’t meet classroom demands.

 “A third major point is that we need to start teaching parenting early. Fourteen-year-olds in juvenile detention often have kids but have no idea how to parent properly.  We also need to teach the reasons and means to avoid drugs, gangs and violence.”

Lankford believes that BORN, NOT RAISED contains information useful for university curricula, social work, psychology, criminal justice/corrections, medical school, law school, parents and parents-to-be.

In researching this book, Polly and I became convinced that early education and youth development are the most effective strategies for breaking the cycle of at-risk behavior and helping youth from difficult backgrounds to learn the skills that will enable them to thrive,” Lankford concludes.

Order today on Amazon.

Watch a preview on YouTube.

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Road to Recovery March 2012

You may know someone that needs the road to recovery, but unless they ask for directions it is likely they are not ready to get on the road.

Road to Recovery March 2012 is here!

We know that almost 1 in 10 Americans struggle with a substance abuse disorder and 1 in 5 Americans have a mental illness.  Treatment and recovery are a pathway forward.

The National Recovery Month (Recovery Month) campaign offers help and hope not only for individuals receiving recovery services and in recovery but also for families, loved ones, and friends. The benefits of treatment and recovery-oriented services and supports in behavioral health ripple out across entire communities throughout our Nation, proving there are effective treatments and that people do recover.

As the Road to Recovery series kicks off its 12th season, this episode will highlight the many accomplishments of the 2011 Recovery Month campaign and look forward to a successful September 2012 Recovery Month.

Please visit http://www.recoverymonth.govfor more information.Join me on Facebook  and follow me on Twitter for more information and educational articles on parenting today’s teenagers.

Troubled Teens – Parent’s at their Wit’s End!

Yes, your teen is making bad choices.

Yes, your teen is failing.

Yes, your teen is experimenting with drugs.

Yes, your teen is hanging out with less than desirable kids.

Yes, your teen may be having sex.

Yes, your teen is disrespectful.

Yes, your teen needs help!  They don’t need to be harmed!

If you feel you are at your wit’s end and have exhausted all your local resources – therapy isn’t working or your teen simply refuses to go, it may be time to start thinking about residential therapy.

This doesn’t mean you are a bad parent, quite the contrary, you are giving your teen a second opportunity at a bright future.

Need more information? Visit www.HelpYourTeens.com.

Sue Scheff: Sexting and Your Teens

momlogicParenting today offers more challenges than ever – Momlogic.com addresses many of the latest concerns that parents are facing today.

The latest issue is “sexting” – and the tragic story of Jessie Logan. This young teen, 18 years old, commited suicide after private photo’s were forwarded through cell phones and she became a victim of sexting.
Read more about this critical topic on Momlogic.com