Knowing Whether A Troubled Teen Residential Program Is Right For Your Teenager

You are at your wits’ end. What do you do? How do you respond to your child’s latest bout of misbehavior or aggression? How does one deal with a teen who seems to be impervious to all your usual disciplinary measures? The problem is that your teen may be getting into deeper trouble. The rebelliousness, rudeness and reckless behavior can get your teen into the wrong kind of friends, into drugs or even into jail. His actions may not only harm himself but also other people – you and your family, his friends or the people around him.

It may be time to consider more drastic measures. Rather than seeing your teen go deeper and deeper into a downward spiral, there may be some steps you may take to help your child. With the right kind of therapy and treatment, you can help your child “find himself”, come to terms with what is troubling him and grow into a responsible and mature adult. One thing you can consider is to get some help from experienced professionals, such as those you can find from a troubled teen residential program.

Once you have decided that a troubled teen boarding school is what your teen needs, the next step you need to take would be to make your choice of boarding school. There are a lot of treatment programs available and so it can be helpful to know which factors you can look at to find what is best for your teen. Remember, you are entrusting your teen (his life and his future) to this institution.

Here are some things you can look into:

• Treatment philosophy and specialty. Teen residential programs are often designed to deal with specific issues (i.e. drug addiction, anger management or medical treatment for psychological illnesses). What treatment philosophies do the boarding school hold? Do they allow contact with parents – are these limited to a few calls and visits or are parents free to schedule their own visits? Does the treatment center also involve the family in the treatment? Does the center also provide you with regular updates?

• Treatment modalities. Ask what treatment and programs does the boarding school have in terms of his psychiatric, education, physical and medical needs. A good boarding school aims to heal the whole person, so the program should have cognitive behavior therapy (individual, team and family sessions), good food, enough sleep, physical activities, socialization and therapeutic activities (music, crafts, adventures and relaxation).

• Accreditation. Ask about the boarding school’s business licenses, as well as accreditation from a reliable organization. You can also take a look at the facility’s record in the Better Business Bureau.

• Staff qualifications. What is the composition of the boarding school’s staff? It is best to check that the boarding school has the capability to treat and quickly respond to medical emergencies, as well as to routine psychiatric treatment modules. Also, check whether the boarding school has doctors, registered nurses and psychiatrists. The staff should also appear capable, experienced and able.

• Staff to teen ratio. How many staff members do they have for the current population? There should be enough members of the team to handle the teens should any emergency or if the teens misbehave.

• Physical environment. The boarding school should provide a conducive environment for the teen – one where he is safe and secure and what that also prevents him from easily break out. Ask for a tour of the facility to see how your teen’s bedroom and the other facilities look like.

• Support services. Are key services such as the hospital, fireman’s base and police precinct just a few minutes’ away from the boarding school? As a parent, you will also feel safer if emergency services can respond quickly in case something happens.

• Safety program. What protocols does the boarding school have to deal with safety issues? Has the staff been trained with the protocols? What safety protocol does the boarding school have when teens get violent? How are other teen protected from a violent one?

• Post-treatment training. Does the boarding school also provide parents with training and information on how to deal with their child’s behaviors and needs once the program is completed? The environment that you, as parents, can provide after your teen comes from home teen boarding school will be helpful in guiding your teen to the path of full recovery.

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