How Alternative Schools for Teens Can Help

The idea of sending your troubled teen to a residential teen program or a therapeutic school for teens may seem scary and like a last resort, but these schools are specially designed to help troubled teens turn their lives around before it’s too late.

So what is the difference between traditional and alternative high schools? See below for some great information on why you should consider an alternative school for your teen.

More individualized classes. Outside of therapy, academics are still a priority with alternative schools. With traditional high schools, especially in a public setting, students can feel lost within a sea of large classes where they feel uncared for and go unnoticed. Traditional schools can host thousands of students, so going to a smaller alternative school will ensure your teen gets the attention they need to excel both academically and emotionally.

They offer a more tailored education. With larger schools, there are just too many students to not deliver a type of "one size fits all" education experience. Often this leads to teens being forced to participate in activities they may have little or no interest in, and not have time to pursue their unique talents or gifts. Some students can overcome this, but for a teen that's already in trouble, this can seem like another thing against them. Alternative schools can offer a more focused schedule to help with the foundation and provide specialized skill classes that interest your teen.

Similar peers surround them. Yes, diversity is always going to be a part of life, and there will be a time when your teen will have to learn to deal with different people and different personalities. However, during the teen years, it's important to foster a sense of belonging, and for a troubled teen, this can seem insurmountable. At a school for troubled teens, they will still encounter different people, but all with a common goal of overcoming their issues together. Everything from peer counseling to group therapy can help with this.

Licensed counselors, therapists and doctors are part of the regular staff. Unlike a traditional school, an alternative school specifically for troubled teens is going to have therapy mixed in with traditional academics and after-school curricula. Your teen will meet regularly with a therapist or counselor to help them work through their issues, and also be more closely monitored with eating, exercise and medication if necessary.

If an alternative school is still not right for you and your teen, or you feel it's too soon, you can always try less extreme measures first. There are several teen summer camps or teen wilderness camps available during summer sessions and even online teen programs if you need something to cater around you and your teen's busy schedule.