When troubled teens struggle with drug abuse, addiction issues, eating disorders, psychological disorders, mood disorders, personality disorders, autism spectrum disorders, and/or social disorders they need specialized, supportive care that will help them learn life coping skills to grow and flourish into healthy, independent adults. Often, that is found through a therapeutic boarding school. Yet making the decision to choose a school and enroll your child is emotionally difficult.
We understand. You never anticipated being in this position as a parent, and knowing how to proceed is not always easy.
If the thought of sending your child away to boarding school strikes fear in you’re heart, you’re not alone. Many parents are afraid of making this choice, wondering if it’s the right one for their child.
Zion Educational Systems is here to guide you toward the right treatment and therapy for your child, whether that’s a long-term residential school or a short-term boot-camp type treatment program. Our trained, licensed counselors will help you assess your child’s needs and choose a program that will work. If you’re still feeling unsure about the decision, here are some answers that may put your mind at ease.
What if my child fights this decision?
When you’re parenting a troubled teen, many decisions become a fight. You are likely anticipating a disagreement about your choice to send the child to boarding school, and for good reason.
It’s important for parents to remember that troubled teens with negative behaviors are asking for help. Those behaviors are a cry to their parents to get them the services they need to become healthy, independent adults who can manage their behavioral and emotional struggles well.
Though your child may not be excited about the prospect of going to boarding school, as they are given the tools to change their thinking and behavior, they will come to appreciate the choice you made. A struggling teen needs help, and you have the opportunity to provide that help if you act now.
My teen already hates me. How will sending him away help?
Your teen may act as though he hates you, but that’s the behavioral problems speaking. He may fight your choice to send him to boarding school, but in the end, after he successfully completes the program, he will see why you did it. Sometimes, as parents, we must make tough decisions, and if your child is struggling, this is a time when you need to do just that.
Thankfully, many children who successfully complete a therapeutic boarding school program learn to appreciate what their parents did for them. They come out of their program thankful that their parents were willing to invest the energy and financial resources into getting them the help they need.
Is it Just a Teenage Phase I Should Wait Out?
Many parents with a struggling teen wonder if what they’re dealing with is “just a phase” or a normal part of teenage development, or if it’s a true problem. Society has trained parents to expect children to have some rebellious tendencies in the teen years. Yet there’s a difference between normal teen behavior and serious issues that indicate you’re dealing with a troubled teen.
Our educational counselors can help you dive into the answer to this question as it applies to your teen, but some common signs that your problem is a bit larger than normal include:
- Aggressive behavior
- Dangerous or self-harming behavior
- Diagnosed psychological disorders
- Addiction issues
- Drug abuse
- Social disorders
- Violent tenancies
- Extreme entitlement and disrespect
- Extreme defiance
- Lack of healthy personal relationships
Compare this to the behavior of normal teenagers. While strong attitudes and negative behaviors can occur with all teens, healthy teenagers are able to care for others and treat them with respect. Even in difficult times, they are able to maintain relationships with the people in their lives. They’re able to care for their own personal needs, and don’t resort to violent behaviors to get what they think they need or want. They have realistic thoughts about and hope for the future.
So what happens if you see these negative behaviors, but choose to wait it out and don’t take action now? At best, you and your teen continue to struggle with the existing behaviors. More likely than not, you will find that the behaviors worsen, becoming more dangerous for both your teen and your family. Either way, without professional help, the issues facing your child and your family are not going to improve.
Does a teen residential boarding school really work?
If you’ve reached this point in your journey towards helping your child, chances are you’ve spent quite a bit of time and money on therapies that haven’t worked. We understand that you’re skeptical about the effectiveness of teen boarding school programs.
Rest assured therapeutic boarding school, when done well, works. Zion Educational Systems has an online directory of therapeutic boarding schools that have proven systems in place to support struggling teens.
Whether your child is dealing with anger issues, has an underlying mood or behavioral condition, or struggles with substance abuse, these schools have therapies that work. By setting your child apart in a dedicated setting, you can get that help without distractions. Studies have found a high degree of success for troubled teens who attend therapy in a boarding school setting. Hope for your child is out there.
Isn’t sending my child to boarding school too drastic?
Before you answer this, take a closer look at what is happening in your child’s life. Do you see any signs of hope that your troubled teen is improving, or is the behavior spiraling out of both of your control? If you are honest, you will likely admit that the problems have gotten too hard for your family to manage.
Teens dealing with behavioral problems and other co-occurring disorders need specialized care. A residential environment ensures they have that care at all times, surrounded by licensed professionals, so they can learn to change their thinking and grow into healthy adults.
We understand that you love your child. Sending a child that you love to boarding school is hard. Yet that love should propel you to action to get the best possible help for your child. For many, that help is in a residential therapeutic setting with licensed and trained professionals who can help.
How will I pay for boarding school?
Boarding school does represent a financial investment. First, if your child has a medical or mental health diagnosis, your insurance plan may help cover some of the costs of therapy and treatment, which is included in the cost of boarding school. Our counselors can help you navigate your benefits to determent what is or is not covered. Other financial aid may be available as well, and we can help you find these options. In the end, your child’s future is worth the financial investment necessary to get the right help.
My teen is struggling because of mistakes I made. Why should I punish her for those mistakes?
Sending your child to a therapeutic boarding school is not a punishment. It gives your teen the best chance at success both now as a teenager and in the future as an adult. All parents make mistakes, but if your child is struggling with serious behavioral or emotional issues, you need to get them the right help.
How can I find the right program? The options are overwhelming!
This is where we can help. Our team has a database of therapeutic boarding schools and other programs for troubled teens that we can tap to find the right program for your family. We know that each family and each teenager face a unique set of circumstances, and we will work hard to ensure you get in contact with the right facility to help your child grow into a healthy adult.
You Have a Limited Amount of Time to Get the Right Help
When you parent a teenager, you only have a few years to ensure they have the tools they need for success as adults. If you don’t act quickly when your teen is struggling, the repercussions can last a lifetime. As your child’s parent, you are in a unique position to make a life-changing decision by partnering with skilled professionals to help your child. Don’t wait. Reach out to Zion Educational Systems to learn more about the options available to you to advocate for and help your child.