Sticks and Stones: New Program Designed to Bring Parents and Teenagers Closer

bookSticksStonesThe Sticks & Stones Seven-Week Program bridges the communication gap between parents and teenagers. The Program helps parents and teens learn how to work together to communicate more effectively and build a stronger bond.
Parents are always looking for new and creative ways to get their teens to communicate with them. Author Meaghan Roberts has just released her new program designed specifically to help parents create an environment where teenagers feel comfortable opening up. The Program consists of two eBooks, Sticks & Stones and My Rock. Sticks & Stones is a self-help guide for teens concerning daily issues they deal with such as bullying, self-esteem and peer pressure. The guide is also an e-journal where teens can privately write their thoughts, feelings and questions. The purpose is to create a safe outlet for teens to express themselves. They will read one chapter a week and spend the remainder of the week reflecting and writing about what they learned. My Rock is a supplemental guide that gives parents insight on what their teens are reading each week as well as communicative skills to help facilitate a conversation with their teens. Each week, a day prior to reading a new chapter, parents and teens will meet to discuss what their teens have learned and any questions they have.

The Program is safe, secure and private.
Meaghan developed the Sticks & Stones Seven-Week Program because traditional parenting books offer advice to parents but none to teens. When parents apply the advice, their teens have no idea where the change is coming from. Teenagers are no longer children and can no longer be treated like children. The only way a parent-teen relationship can develop is if both parties are involved. The Sticks & Stones program encourages parents and teens to work together to build trust as well as prepare teens for conversations they will have with their parents.
The Sticks & Stones Program is available only at www.mysticksandstones.com
Contact Information
Meaghan@mysticksandstones.com
www.mysticksandstones.com

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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.

Parent’s True Story: Searching for Teen Help

WitshandsAfter experiencing my good teen making some bad choices, I found myself surfing the Internet until I was so confused and stressed that I couldn’t make a decision. One group of specialty schools and behavior modification programs kept popping up wherever I clicked, and I figured they must be good. Then I received their beautiful glossy literature with a video that could make any parent weep.

Once the initial sticker shock wore off, the cost was reasonable in comparison with other programs, or so I thought until I enrolled my child. The hidden costs added up like a grocery bill. I was totally misled by the sales rep and made a rash decision. Mistake number one: being clueless as to whom you are speaking with when reaching out to these toll-free numbers. This is a common mistake for parents in a desperate situation. A swift sales rep is there waiting for you; meeting questions with the answers you want to hear and making promises that convince you they can help your child.

My true nightmare was just beginning.

Impressed by the fancy words and glossy brochures, I enrolled my child with the understanding that they were qualified to help. I am ashamed to say I never did a background check on these programs. I had called their parent references that they gave me (and later found out they were paid to talk to me, some actually receiving a free month’s tuition). I know many of you are thinking I must have been nuts, and you are right. In this stage of my life, I was at my wit’s end and just wanted help for my child.

Long story short, my frenzy and desperation led to my biggest mistake. I was looking for therapy and internalization through the help of professionals, but what I inadvertently ended up with was more of a teen warehousing program. This was not what they had sold me.

In retrospect, red flags went up shortly after I dropped my child off and I asked who the psychologist would be. Guess what? There was none, unless I wanted to pay extra! So who led the group therapy they raved about? There was no group therapy, there was a person, usually another student, who sat in a circle with them as they reflected. Their psychologist was available for another $100 per visit. But their sales reps had told me that there was a licensed therapist “on staff and on site.” I should have pulled my child then, but I thought I was over-reacting since I was in such a state of confusion and frenzy. The staff was very good at convincing me to “trust the program” instead of addressing my concerns.

My child wrote me letters: some good, some bad. According to the program, the good ones were considered manipulation; the bad ones were considered proof that she needed to stay longer. I couldn’t win and neither could my child.

During my child’s entire stay of almost six months, I was never allowed to speak with her. I only spoke with an employee once a week for 15 minutes (in further research, I discovered these employees had no credentials and many weren’t educated beyond High School, including the President of the organization). I later found out it usually takes up to six months to speak with your child, and in most cases up to a year to see them.

It took me months to realize that I had made a big mistake. In order to visit my child it was mandatory to attend some very bizarre seminars; I wrote my withdrawal letter immediately after the second seminar.

I brought my child home suffering from depression and nightmares from her time in a WWASPS program, and fear of being sent back had created suicidal thoughts.  My child went immediately into real counseling where, after almost two years, an excellent psychologist helped us recover from this horrible, traumatic post-WWASP experience. When my child felt confident that I wouldn’t send her back, I heard some unspeakable stories. I have also heard similar stories from many other post-WWASP aka WWASPS students and families suffering from the same post traumatic symptoms. Through this experience I have developed the opinion that fraud and misrepresentation, combined with a vulnerable parent, can lead to danger for a child. I believe in sharing my knowledge of this (very political) industry with as many families as possible.

So who am I? I am a parent that refused to be silenced. In 2001 I posted my story of what we endured. How my child was abused, how I was duped, and how they (in my opinion) continue to dupe others. WWASPS decided to sue me to have my story removed from the Internet. It went to a jury trial, and I won with truth as my defense.  My story is here and is also published in Wit’s End! Advice and Resources for Saving Your Out-of-Control Teen (Health Communications, Inc). I have continued to help families through my organization founded from our experiences, Parents’ Universal Resource Experts, Inc (P.U.R.E.)

As of March 2013, it is believed that WWASP aka WWASPS or Premier Educational Systems has affiliations with the following, click here.

If you are one of the many parents struggling with their teenagers — good kids making bad choices — you are not alone. If you are in need of teen help, residential therapy is an excellent resource.  In reality there are many more good programs than there are not so good; the key is to do your homework. I created a list of tips and questions to ask schools and programs before enrolling your child, as well as other valuable information. Be an educated parent and you will have safer and healthier teens. So ditch your denial and get proactive! Your child deserves a chance at a bright future.

Learn from my mistakes, gain from my knowledge…..

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Teen Help Programs and Parents Seeking Help for At-Risk Teens

Motherscammed

Parent’s can be stressed, but taking your time to find the right program is worth it.

The recent tragedy in Newtown, CT has many conversations sparked about the need for mental health services.  As a Parent Advocate for over a decade, I speak with parents on a daily basis and hear their desperation for assistance with their tween or teenager.  Some parents are at their wit’s end and feel like a hostage in their own home by their own child, however the resources can be limited for some.

Residential therapy is an excellent option however it can be costly.  Some insurances will help cover the cost, but only a portion of it usually.  In most cases it is usually a PPO insurance that will cover the clinical component of a residential program and even with that, usually a parent has to be prepared to pay the upfront costs and file the claims to be reimbursed. (This all depends on the mental health policy and what it covers).  HMO can be very limited when it comes to mental health, which is why we are hearing a lot about being under-insured in mental health.

When it comes to Residential Treatment Centers, another concern parents need to be aware of is the scams that are out there.  I was once a victim of one over a decade ago, which prompted me to created my organization – Parents’ Universal Resource Experts, Inc. (P.U.R.E.) Parents need to understand there are some programs and schools (or programs that claim to be schools) online with toll free numbers going to marketing arms ready to prey on desperate parents.  This is exactly what happened to us.  Though there are many excellent programs and schools in our country, like with many other businesses, there are always those that are less than what you would want for your child.

I always encourage parents to do their due diligence.  The program that duped my family, though it is closed now, has several other programs opened under different names.  They have a specialty of always changing names, in my opinion.  But you will notice the staff seems to stay the same.  Recently I heard how their LaVerkin, Utah program has gone from Cross Creek to Horizon Academy to Riverview now I just heard they are calling themselves Youth Foundation.  I don’t know – but I do know if you are doing things the right way you don’t have to hide under all these name changes – of course, that is my opinion again.

As you can imagine, this group has a script they share with their potential parents about me too.  I am a disgruntled parent.  Yes, I am – you harm my daughter, a parent becomes disgruntled.  You dupe me, scam me – I become disgruntled. I won in a “jury trial”.  I didn’t settle out court with a confidentiality – though they will tell you a jury made a mistake -I will say not jurors condone child abuse.  Now they are facing another lawsuit.  What is there excuse now?  I assume that is why the name change again.

Either way – use your gut.  If it doesn’t seem right – it usually isn’t.

At the end – your child needs help – get them help.  Don’t make a rash decision, make an educated one.

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.

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.