Since no parent receives a parenting manual when they’re given their baby, parents have to make many decisions without much guidance. One of the more difficult decisions comes up when you have a troubled teen in need of help from a residential treatment center. There are so many available to parents today that it can be hard to make a choice with confidence. However, there are things you should look for when evaluating residential treatment centers which will allow you to be satisfied when you do choose a treatment center.
Look For A Strong Therapeutic Aspect To Help Your Teen
Unlike other options available for troubled teens, residential treatment centers should focus on therapy rather than other forms of behavioral modification. Some signs of a strong therapeutic element in residential treatment centers are:
- Daily group therapy – Teens are usually heavily influenced by their peers. With a therapist leading group therapy, teens can exert positive peer pressure on each other, helping each other through their problems.
- Bi-monthly family therapy – The best residential treatment centers understand that they can help families reconnect through therapist-lead family therapy sessions. These sessions should be offered via video conference when your family cannot visit in person and should occur at least 2 times a month.
- Regular individual therapy – Regular individual therapy should be a strong component of residential treatment and non-negotiable.
- Clinical therapist on staff – Be sure to check if there is a clinical therapist on staff and ask for their specific credentials. You will want to make sure they are trained to deal specifically with troubled youth.
- Medication control – For teens who have medication as part of their therapeutic treatment, be sure to inquire how the facility handles medication control. It is important that trained staff are the ones distributing your teen their medication.
Check For Academic Focus So Your Teen Doesn’t Fall Behind
Not all residential treatment centers focus on academics. This can be a serious disadvantage for your teen, as it can be incredibly discouraging to fall behind their peers academically. To check for a firm academic focus, look for:
- Accreditation of the academic program, either by the state or national accreditation board.
- The employment of state-licensed teachers
- Small classroom sizes so your teen can receive the help and attention they need
- Grade repair so your teen can repair their previously poor grades
Find The Treatment Center’s Stance On Physical Activity
Teens need a high amount of physical activity for proper development. However, many teen activities revolve around sitting and posting on social media as well as other sedentary pastimes. This can exacerbate problems with troubled teens as they have no positive focus for their energies and instead turn destructive.
As most organizations who work with troubled teens have a physical activity component, you need to look for greater specifics when it comes to the physical side of the program. We recommend you see:
- If there is a nurse on staff in case of injury
- How much access the teens have to water and activity appropriate gear
- If all activities are appropriately supervised with an adequate amount of staff
- What the main physical activities are for teens in the program
- If accommodations are made for teens with physical limitations
You will likely have to ask the residential treatment centers for these answers, but considering that you are entrusting them with your child, they should be quick to answer.
Should you want extra help as you evaluate residential treatment programs, one of our placement counselors can assist you. Completely free of charge, we will help you sift through the main options available to you, finding the best one for your teen. Feel free to contact us at any time, we are ready and waiting to assist your family.