Sue Scheff: Parent Awareness When Searching for Residential Therapy Programs

Parent Awareness – Valuable Article when Searching for Schools and Programs


This is my child, where did I go wrong? Most likely you didn’t, sometimes life gives us stumbling blocks that are put there for a reason. None of us is perfect, parenting is not easy, children don’t come with manuals, and we can’t be blamed for all the bad in this world.

Parenting is probably one of the most difficult jobs to do. That, combined with working a full-time job and juggling household chores, as well as many other activities in life, can lead to turmoil in many lives. As a parent, we need to consciously make time to get to know our kids, and our kid’s friends. This can be very difficult with our schedules; however, a necessary step to be able to get to know your child and build trust.

This is my child. Good or bad, they don’t deserve abuse. If your child needs help from outside sources (Therapeutic Boarding School, Residential Treatment, etc), you need to feel confident there are safe and qualified schools and programs. Although sometimes hard to locate immediately, after time and research, you will finally find the best school or programs for your child’s individual needs. After all, this is my child. They are our future. Take the time to research, research, and research. Good kids making bad choices – that is the way of most of today’s teens.

· School Opens

As a new school year opens, our phones become very busy. Many of the parents who call are at their wits end with their child’s lack of motivation toward school and desire to be less than the child’s potential is. The phrase ‘my child is a good kid, this is not like him/her’ is very common. Many children embarking on a new school year try to figure out where they fit in. Peer Pressure can be extremely difficult for adolescents.

Today, the most frequent statement is how intelligent a child is, yet he/she not working up to their potential – an underachiever. They are capable of the work, but lack the motivation to complete it. How many kids achieve great test scores, however fail a class since they don’t finish their homework? Unfortunately this is very common.

Making mistakes and falling is all part of growing up and maturing. Although our instincts are to love and protect, we must, at times, let them learn from their mistakes. Loving them is unconditional, and protecting them is natural. Watching them fail can be painful; however, watching them learn from it is fulfilling.

Although there are no standard answers in today’s society of teens and pre-teens, one issue is clear, they need our support and our guidance to help them through the rough spots. It seems very difficult to determine when to let them fly and when to intervene. Each family and child, with their own unique dynamics, knows what works best for them. The influences of today’s peer pressure can be overwhelming.

Locating a smaller private school or residential program may lead to success depending on the child. Unfortunately, costs may be prohibitive for some families. Some of the schools offer scholarships or financial aid. If they don’t, you may want to ask them for a resource that may be able to assist you. There are lending institutions for Educational Loans.

Military Schools are an excellent choice for children that flourish with structure and positive discipline. Many parents are under the misconception that Military Schools are for troubled children; that is false. Military Schools are a privilege and an honor for children to attend. Most Military Schools start at $20,000.00 per year. Some have scholarship programs.
Military Schools can build your child’s self-esteem and confidence to start making productive choices and help the child in reaching his or her potential academically. The social environment can be a positive atmosphere for both boys and girls. Again, with Military Schools, it is not for children that are out of control, at risk or using substances. Many ADD/ADHD students flourish in the structured environment.

Traditional Boarding Schools are a great opportunity for children to enhance their ability to achieve academically. Like Military Schools, they are not for troubled children or out of control teens. They are prestigious and usually offer more academic attention for the child. There are many that offer classes for the children that have Learning Differences including ADD and ADHD. Most Boarding Schools start at $25,000.00 per school year. In some instances, finding a Boarding School for your child that offers their special interest (e.g. Arts, Music, an Equestrian program, Sports etc.) could also encourage progress in their future.

Parent Beware-ness

Since the establishment of Parents’ Universal Resource Experts (P.U.R.E.) years ago (since 2001), there have been companies attempting to duplicate P.U.R.E. We have yet to see any organization offer the emotional and parent support that we offer to families. P.U.R.E. is parents helping parents. We encourage all parents, friends, and relatives to research, research, and research. Our homepage offers a link to a list of Helpful Hints as well as Questions to ask Schools and Programs that can be beneficial in making the best choice for your child.

Until our United States government enacts federal laws to provide oversight standards for private schools and private residential programs, you must rely on your instincts and investigations. P.U.R.E. encourages our Congress and United States Senate to enact consumer protection laws for families and children that will help reveal widespread deception that is regularly used by some programs.

We don’t want parents to become fearful from finding help for their children, but parents must do their homework. It is the most important component of finding the best school or program for your child. Building your child back up, enhancing their self-esteem, and working with professionals can help your child to mature into a productive adult. It is about giving your child a second chance to be all they can be.

Programs/Schools that use food and/or sleep deprivation, expect the children to live in unsanitary conditions, deprive them of an education, or isolate them from others for extended periods of time are Red Flags. Continue searching until you feel 100% comfortable with your decision. Although your child is acting out negatively, putting them into a negative and poor environment is more likely to build more anger and resentment. They don’t need the Hilton; however they do deserve basic human needs. Eating right and healthy combined with good sleep habits is more likely to enhance your child’s desire to change for the positive.

Parent Information

Many parents think if they pay an Educational Consultant or someone that has an association with a group that is self-made (not regulated by any governmental agencies, i.e. IECA - Independent Educational Consultants Association) they are going to the experts. The old cliché kicks in, “since they cost so much, they must be good.” Although there are some reputable Educational Consultants, you must continue to do your research to find one if you choose to hire one.

Too many times we have heard from the parents that have been misled by this type of organization. Trusting someone to place your child is a major responsibility. Are they liable if something happens to your child in the programs “they” believe is best for him/her? Why do many refer to the same group of schools and programs, usually after recommending a Wilderness program? With the many parents that call us, those that have used Educational Consultants have given us the same program referrals and most, if not all, have been recommended to Wilderness first. Is there something more to this that we cannot see? We are not insinuating they are bad programs; however, the continuity can be a red flag.
Although we are not advocates of Wilderness programs, the pattern of the Educational Consultants using them first prior a Therapeutic or Residential program, could be viewed as a double dip. Wilderness programs may be good for some children; however, to assume they all need that step seems a bit suspicious. In many cases, Wilderness programs are never long enough to offer lasting results – and they are extremely expensive. Unfortunately, some parents are misguided that a 60-90 day program may be a fix-it-all. Why not start where you want to finish? We have seen much success in a solid and qualified 6-9-12 month programs. Where a child can start and finish with a sense of accomplishment.
Another RED FLAG is while surfing the Internet, you are overwhelmed with different toll-free numbers, different web designs, even different marketing names; however, they all lead to the same group of schools and programs. Have you used the Key Word “Military School” and your results are anything but Military Schools? The unfortunate misconception may add more stress and confusion to an already desperate situation. We cannot control the spamming of the Internet, which means you need to be extremely careful as to who or what you are calling.
At P.U.R.E. we offer parents resources offer parents resources and our personal experiences with many programs and schools. We do not place children into schools and programs; we give families resources and options that may be appropriate for their child. We also encourage parent and child feedback from all schools and programs. We like to share it with others who could be looking at the same program. We do not claim to be members of any big organizations, nor do we claim to be Educational Consultants. We are professionals and parents doing our best to help others find safe and qualified settings for their precious cargo. As a Member of the Better Business Bureau we take pride in our organization and will continue to assist families in need. Keeping your family safe is our priority. P.U.R.E. is “bringing families back together…”
Who to trust? The answer is easy; trust your gut, your heart and yourself as a parent that knows what is best for their child. If it doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t. Don’t assume your emotions are getting the best of you; your emotions can be your red flags flying.

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