Parents Checklist for Enrolling Their Troubled Teen In a Therapeutic Boarding School

Parents Checklist

You’ve done your best to help your troubled teen overcome their issues and change their negative behavior. Yet despite your best efforts, their life is full of conflict, chaos, academic struggles and risky habits.

It’s time to consider sending your child to a therapeutic boarding school for troubled teens. There are some things you need to do, though, before enrolling them. You can use following checklist as a starting point.

1. Find the Right Placement For Your Troubled Teen

Settling on the right placement for your troubled teen is the most important step to enrolling them in a therapeutic boarding school. It can be confusing to choose from countless programs aimed at struggling adolescents. You don’t want to pick one at random, just because the website looks good and you’re at your wit’s end. There are some specific criteria you should look for.

Your Teen Should Receive Excellent Academic Support

Look for a therapeutic boarding school that’s certified by the Board of Education, with a strong academic program. This will help your child to get on track to graduate with their peers.

Your Teen’s School Should Be Well-Regulated

The requirements for residential treatment centers for troubled teens vary widely. Some states are lax when it comes to oversight of such programs, while states west of the Rocky Mountains tend to have stricter regulations. The state of Utah has particularly stringent rules for therapeutic boarding schools for troubled teens. The staff must include:

  • A licensed mental health professional
  • A licensed physician
  • A licensed psychologist
  • Qualified teachers

All employees and volunteers must pass background checks, and any unlicensed staff members must be supervised by a licensed professional. Further, a CPR-certified staff member must be onsite at all times.

Your Teen’s School Should Feature Therapy

Some programs aim to transform troubled teens by immersing them in wilderness survival skills or boot camp-style discipline. These approaches often neglect to provide therapy, thus failing to get to the root of issues like:

  • Addiction
  • Anger and aggression
  • Anxiety and depression
  • Dangerous compulsions like eating disorders or self-harm
  • Mental illness and emotional issues
  • Reckless behavior

Your child needs comprehensive therapy to thrive, including one-on-one sessions as well as group and family therapy.

2. Reach Out For A Recommendation

Don’t hesitate to reach out for a recommendation. Your child’s school district may have some helpful ideas and so might their therapist or psychiatrist. You can also reach out to Help Your Teen Now, a group that helps parents find the best residential treatment center for their struggling teen. The advocates at HYTN also help you figure out ways to fund their stay. Because they’re parents as well as professionals, their advice is always free.

3. Prepare Your Teen For Their Stay

Heading for a therapeutic boarding school can be a scary proposition. It involves trading home for a new, very different environment. It’s important to talk to your teenager to prepare them. Emphasize that their stay is neither punishment nor abandonment but, instead, the best way you know to provide them with the support they need.

Have your teen look at the school’s brochures or website, and tour the grounds together. Many therapeutic boarding schools feature fun enrichment activities and memorable experiences. Your child just might welcome the change.

4. Make A List Of Goals

The average time spent at a residential treatment center for troubled teens is between 12 and 18 months. To ensure the greatest change, work with the school and your teen to devise a list of realistic goals for their stay. These aims will be integral to your child’s individual treatment plan. Your teen may want to work toward:

  • Bolstering self-esteem
  • Breaking unhealthy habits and behaviors
  • Gaining distance from a negative peer group
  • Learning to regulate their emotions
  • Making academic improvements
  • Overcoming mental/emotional issues
  • Repairing damaged family relationships

5. Learn About Logistics

You’ve done the hardest work. Now it’s time to work on the logistics. You must apply to a residential treatment center for troubled teens. The school will require some paperwork, including your child’s:

  • Birth certificate
  • Immunization records
  • Legal records
  • Medical records
  • School records

You should also find out what your teen should pack and obtain the school’s guidelines for student conduct so you and your child know what is expected. Find out when you’ll be undertaking family therapy, as well as what visiting days are in place. Mark these on your calendar to ensure you’re an active part of your teen’s rehabilitation.

6. Consider Liahona Academy

If you have a troubled teenage boy, consider sending him to Liahona Treatment Center. Rated among the nation’s top residential treatment centers, its therapeutic program balance the love and discipline your son needs to move past his problems and onto a brighter future. Contact us today to learn more.

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