How Do I Find the Right School for My Troubled Teen?


Once you’ve decided to get your troubled teen into a boarding school, the hardest part of the process is already behind you. Making this decision is not always easy, but knowing how your teen can benefit from time in a boarding school can help direct your family to make the right choice.

Finding the right school to help your troubled teen is your next step. You may have a few questions and concerns about the types of boarding schools and what kind of help your teen may be able to get.

The more research you do, the better you will feel about your decision to get your troubled teen the help he needs.

Does my troubled teen need to go to boarding school?

For some troubled teens who have gone through trauma and other negative experiences, traditional therapy and educational programs can be ineffective. It can be challenging for a teen to get through and heal from trauma and mental health concerns if they are in the same environment that it all started.

The safe, secure, and structured environment that awaits in a boarding school offers teens an opportunity to break from those negative influences that may otherwise be impeding their ability to heal.

Getting your troubled teen into a new environment where he can focus on healing and his future can prove to be just what he needs. In a therapeutic boarding school, your teen will keep up with his education while also getting the focused therapy he needs.

Types of therapeutic boarding schools for teens

Not all residential treatment centers and boarding schools are created equally. There are several options, each offering benefits for the students who attend.

Your teen might thrive in one environment while another may not be the best option for him. Exploring each option can help you to determine which one will prove to be the right choice for your troubled teen.

  • Faith-based schools are a good option for teens who find strength and comfort in their faith.
  • Military schools can be a good choice for troubled teens who will thrive in the structured environment this type of school can offer or those that are interested in joining the military after highschool.
  • Animal and ranch-style schools can offer troubled teens an opportunity to connect with nature as they reconnect with health and healing.
  • Outdoor adventure based schools can be the right choice for teens who thrive while hiking, camping, mountain biking, kayaking, and more.

Before you pick out the school for your teen, be sure to ask questions about the types of programs offered by each school. If the school you select will not allow your teen to thrive and grow, it won’t be worth the time spent at the school.

You should also include your teen in the conversation. Attending boarding school can be intimidating for a teen even if they agree to it. Find out the types of schools that interest them the most and give them some say in the decision.

Boarding schools help address mental health concerns

Traditional therapy can be beneficial for the majority of teens. For others, getting through mental health concerns is only possible through structured programs like a therapeutic boarding school.

Some of the mental health and general concerns your teen can work through at boarding school include the following:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Body image concerns
  • Low self-esteem
  • Mood disorders
  • Trauma-related issues
  • Being the victim of bullying
  • Signs of ADD and ADHD
  • Social isolation
  • Conflict within the family
  • Alcohol or drug abuse

Teens struggling with behavior disorders or defiant behavior can also benefit from focused therapy and other treatments. Many troubled teens who are sent to a therapeutic boarding school have a hard time forming healthy habits and behaviors both living at home and within their social groups.

How a therapeutic boarding school can help

Troubled teens ready for a therapeutic boarding school are likely already faced with long-term challenges that are taking a toll on their day-to-day lives. Traditional therapeutic solutions can be beneficial, but there are some limitations, particularly if your teen needs to be seen by multiple professionals.

Coordinating this type of treatment is challenging enough, but it can be made even more difficult when your teen is only getting a few hours of treatment a week. It’s hard to establish a diagnosis and get him focused treatment when his therapy is split amongst unassociated mental health professionals.

Boarding school allows your teen to be immersed in an environment that focuses on meeting each of his needs. Social immersion is something most teens can benefit from. At home and going to his regular school, your teen may have found himself influenced by peer pressure and other negative experiences. Teens struggling with bullying, depression, anxiety, and defiant behavior will see that stepping away from that environment and into a brand new one can offer the chance to start over.

The culture he’ll experience in a boarding school will allow him to explore the appropriate social cues and behaviors expected from him. He will also benefit from the support of like-minded peers. Many teens form friendships that last beyond their time spent in boarding school.

Time spent in a boarding school can help to realign the family. When a teen is troubled, every family member will feel the impact of the trouble and stress. Family interactions and relationships can be restored as your troubled teen heals and grows. The time spent apart from the family can also allow your teen to recognize how his behavior has impacted the family.

Boarding school offers the structure and routine that teens need to heal, recover, and thrive. It also provides your teen with the chance to learn to be responsible for himself, learn how to take care of himself, and learn valuable skills he needs as he grows into a responsible adult.

If you and your teen are not yet ready to consider a therapeutic boarding school, there are other options that might be the better choice. The best solution to help your teen recover and grow is the environment that will allow him to thrive. Considering all of your available options can help you find the right one for your teen and every family member as they focus on good health and healing.

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