Parents who have determined that their troubled teen needs a long-term solution to their emotional, behavioral or mental health issues often look to therapeutic boarding schools. Religious families can find a number of Christian boarding schools that provide the same academic and therapeutic qualities as non-religious schools, but that include elements of the Christian religion in the day-to-day structure of the program.
However, not all Christian boarding schools are created equally, and there are several warning signs that parents should look for in determining whether a particular Christian school is right for their child. Here are 3 red flags for parents to watch out for when evaluating Christian therapeutic boarding schools.
1. Lack of Balance
If a Christian therapeutic boarding school doesn’t include a top-notch therapeutic and academic component, troubled teens will not get the professional help they need for their real-world issues. Parents should beware of schools that highlight the religious aspect of their programs and don’t have licensed, professional therapists and teachers on staff as well.
Because Christian therapeutic boarding schools are privately funded, via tuition and donations, some try to save money by reducing the emphasis on the two most costly parts of the program–therapy and academics. A Christian boarding school is not right for a troubled teen when it emphasizes religious treatment and lifestyle over everything else.
2. Differing Christian Philosophies
Not all Christians share the same fundamental beliefs and a good reason for parents to not choose a Christian boarding school is if the belief system doesn’t align with the family’s. Some Christian schools, for example, may be managed by those with more fundamentalist views with strict ideas on music, corporal punishment, creationism and more. Parents should be very careful when choosing a Christian boarding school that their troubled teen will be getting lessons, instruction and counseling that aligns with what the family wants.
3. Abnormal Costs
Therapeutic boarding schools should have personnel in place to help counsel parents on their financial options when it comes to covering tuition for the program. some boarding schools, Christian and non-religious, charge an extremely high rate of tuition, while others are more moderate. If parents are researching and asking questions at several different Christian boarding schools, they will be able to tell which schools fall in the low, middle and high ends of the scale. While there are wonderful schools that are both low-cost and extremely expensive, the majority of schools will fall into a middle area that parents can rely on. Good schools also have a range of options for parents and finances, from resources on loans and financial aid to need-based tuition adjustments.
Ultimately, parents must do what is best for their troubled teen and find the best school for them to learn, grow and heal. Sometimes the right school for some troubled teens is a Christian boarding school, and for others it is a non-religious school. Paying attention to all the factors that contribute to the school’s overall success rate and more is the key part of finding what will work for each family, and parents should not automatically assume that a school is a good one just because it claims to be a Christian-based program.