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  Or you have the teen that used to be a great athlete, was a popular kid in school–suddenly your child has become withdrawn and is hanging with a group of new peers that are less than desirable.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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Strugglings Teens: The Birth of Parents Universal Resource Experts

After 12 years, my organization has been recognized for helping literally thousands of parents and families with their tweens, teens and young adults.

Recently I was interviewed by Career Thoughts.

Parents’ Universal Resource Experts, Inc was created after I was duped online by trying to get my own daughter help.  I was a parent at my wit’s end.  I was vulnerable – I was scammed – and my daughter suffered the consequences.

Many people have asked about her, and she is now a grown woman, successful in her career and has two children of her own.  We have overcome the hurdles – not because of the horrific program she went to, but in spite of it – and because of the fantastic help we found after it to help de-programize her from the damage they did to her.

I always share with parents to learn from my mistake and gain from my knowledge.  That is the biggest gift I can give.

Enjoy this article -click here.

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.

After school and Your Daughter

Yes, schools are opening throughout our country and another academic year with the normal peer pressure and stress of being a teenager.

What are you doing after school? Many girls will be hitting a transitional point in their lives in a few weeks. Some will attend new schools, some will be away from home for the first time and others could be leaving their summer loves….

Although women have made gains in education and employment in the equal rights war, they’re still losing the self-esteem war. Girls’ self-esteem peaks when they are about 9 years old, and then takes a nosedive. Although the media, peers, and pop culture influence children, parents still hold more sway than they think when it comes to having an impact on a daughter’s developing self-esteem.

Girls are faced with an onslaught of influences daily- most of them not the ones we’d like. In fact, a national survey of girls’ use of social media released by Girl Scouts of the USA (Who’s That Girl: Self Image in the 21st Century, 2010) finds that girls with low self-esteem are more likely to be susceptible to negative experiences on social networking sites than are girls with high self-esteem.

As parents and mentors, we want to help our daughters develop a strong sense of self, learn about the benefits of a balanced diet and physical activity, develop healthy relationships, promote confidence and well-being among While having fun.

Wondering how to enhance your daughter’s school year? The Girl Scouts’ flourishing new leadership program Journeys is at the core of the nearly 100-year-old organization’s transformation and a key benefit of this latest offering is building a strong sense of self. Building self-esteem does not happen overnight, but research shows that one way to accomplish this is through the development of leadership skills and competencies.

For more information go to www.girscouts.org!

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Join me on Facebook and follow me on Twitter for more information and educational articles on parenting today’s teenagers.

Sue Scheff: Bullying Causes 11 year-old to Commit Suicide

What prompts an 11 year-old fifth grader to commit suicide? What drives them to a closet with a belt to end their life? What could possibly be so bad that you cannot go on living? It comes back to that horrible world of bullying!

In Florida we have heard these bullying stories too often. In October 2009 Michael Brewer, 15 year-old, was nearly burned to death by other teens. In March of 2010 Josie Ratley, 15 years-old, was nearly beaten to death. In April 2010 Anthony Jones, 16 year-old, was shot and allegedly on a text hit list.

Now we have an 11 year old in Port St. Lucie, Florida, that felt life, just over a decade long, was too difficult to deal with. Celina Okwuone was found in her bedroom closet by her parents. Police say she used a belt to wrap around her neck and she had wrapped the belt around the metal shelving. Her father tried to lift her up and her mother tore the shelving from the wall.

According to reports, her parents later found her diary where she had written that she was being bullied by classmates at St. Anastasia Catholic School in Fort Pierce.

It is time to check your School Climate and BullyBust your communities! If you haven’t had the time to form or take part in an anti-bullying.

Watch video.  Many prayers and thoughts are with the Owuone family and friends.  Read more.

Sue Scheff: Florida Sexual Abuse Survivor Walks the Talk – Congrats to Lauren’s Kids

April is Sexual Abuse Awareness Month and there is one 25 year-old survivor of sexual abuse that has taken her voice to her feet!  Lauren Book-Lim, founder of Lauren’s Kids, started on April 2nd from South Florida (Aventura), began her walk to the state Capitol in Tallahassee.  On April 20th, Lauren completed her long, exhausting and exhilarating walk against sexual abuse.

Lauren is no stranger to this horrific act of violence, she was sexually abused by a nanny for more than six years, beginning when she was 10.  As her father, lobbyist Ron Book referred to her, she is a “thriving survivor.” 

As awareness is finally growing with Oprah featuring several segments about this topic, including speaking to child molesters, (watch video), as well as talking about women who molest children, this disturbing subject is getting the attention it needs to help children to speak out. Talking about it can help prevent it.

Shed the shame, walk the walk is the motto Lauren Book-Lim lives by.  Lauren’s Kids helps prevent child abuse and helps heal survivors.  Sexual abuse thrives on secrecy and shame.

During this month of awareness and all year round, teach your teens and children how to talk to strangers.  You could potentially be saving them from child abusers.  Stranger danger is very real: Street proof your kids today.

Congratulations to Lauren Book-Lim for her amazing journey on behalf of children all over the world

Follow Lauren on Twitter and join her Facebook Fan Page to help support her very important cause.

Read more.

Sue Scheff: One Click Away from….

Have you thought about how dangerous a “click of a mouse” is?  Dangerous?

As you start a new year, take the time to educate yourself on Internet safety.  Learn how you can become proactive in your kids lives both online and off.  Learn how that one click can either open doors that you can benefit from, or enter hallways are dark and dangerous.

You can put as many parent safety controls on your computer system.  You can employ technical gadgets galore, but until you educate yourself and your kids about the dangers that can lurk online, you and your family are not 100% protected.

Yes, you can be just one click away:  Be sure it is a click into safety not danger.

Be an educated parent, you will have safer kids!

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