Does my teen need residential therapy?
Sending a child to a residential program/school is a major decision. It is not one to be taken lightly or to be decided on overnight.
Usually a teen's behavior has been slowly escalating and a parent knows that deep down things are not getting better. As much as you hope and pray that things will change, this is only typical teen behavior, sometimes it just isn't.
With drug use and substance abuse rising - more dangerous and deadly ingredients being used, such as spice and inhalants, parents have reason to be concerned. It isn't your marijuana of generations prior - it is so much worse and in many cases - addictive and deadly.
If you have reached your wit's end and now surfing the Internet for help, remember, anyone can build a website. Anyone can put up nice pictures and create great content. You need to do your due diligence.
Years ago I struggled with my own teenager. I was at my wit's end. I didn't realize what a big business this "teen help industry" was. Yes, my child needed help, but what we received was anything but that. My story is a cautionary tale - not one to scare you into not using a program, however on the contrary, you have to get your child help, but you have to do your research in getting them the right help.
Here are some quick tips:
- Your child is not for sale, try to avoid those marketing arms selling you a list of programs that are not in the best interest of your child's individual needs.
- Always speak with an owner or director - Someone that has a vested in your teen's recovery. Their reputation is on the line.
- Wilderness and other short term programs are usually nothing more than a band-aid that will fall off as quickly as the program lasted. They are expensive camping trips and in most cases the Wilderness program will tell you at about 4 weeks that your teen will need to continue on to a longer term program. What? Yes, now you go back to the research board and worse than that, your teen will be deflated when he finds out he/she isn't coming home in 6-9 weeks as they were lead to believe - and they will be starting all over again with a new therapist - new schedule - and new setting. Don't get caught up in this "shuffle." Start and finish with the same school/program.
- The average stay should be about 6-9-12 months, depending on your teen. Anything less is probably non-effective. Anything more, you may be creating abandonment issues in my opinion.
- Do you really need an Educational Consultant? Absolutely not. You are the parent and no one knows your teen better than you do - with a few tips, you will be able to make some sound choices.