Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Teen Runaway: What Parents Need to Know

I remember those dreadful years raising a defiant teen - and the threat of running away.  When they finally do it, it can be a parent's nightmare.  

If you are currently dealing with a runaway, act immediately. Do not waste any time in utilizing every resource you can to find your child.

The list below details a plan of action and tips for finding help.

Tips For Finding a Runaway
  • Keep an updated phone list with the home and cell numbers of your teen’s friends. Using the phone list, call every one of your teen’s friends. Talk immediately with their parents, not their friends, as teenagers will often stick together and lie for each other. The parent will tell you anything they know, including the last time contact was made between their child and yours. They will also know to keep closer tabs on their own child.
  • Keep an updated photo of your child on hands at all times. With this photo, create one-page flyers including all information about your teen and where they were last seen. Post these flyers everywhere your teen hangs out, as well as anywhere else teenagers in general hang out. Post anywhere they will allow you to.
  • Immediately contact your local police. It is advised that you actually visit the office with a copy of the flyer as well as a good number of color photos of your teen. Speak clearly and act rationally, but make sure that they understand how serious the situation is.
  • Contact the local paper in order to run a missing ad. Also, contact any other printed media available in your area; many will be very willing to help.
  • Contact your local television stations, as well as those in nearby counties. Most stations will be more than happy to run an alert either in the newscast or through the scrolling alert at the bottom of the screen.
  • Contact Runaway Hotline: 1-800-RUNAWAY 1-800-786-2929
Having a teen runaway is very frightening and it can bring you to your “Wits End”. Remain positive and be creative: try to understand why your teen is acting this way, what they are running from and where they might be running. These are times when parents need to seek help for themselves. Don’t be ashamed to reach out to others. We are all about parents helping parents. Visit

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Transporting Your Teen to a Therapeutic Boarding School

Help your teen arrive safely to get the help they need.
It is a common question, "how will I get my teen to the program, he is refusing to do anything?"

We help parents with struggling teens that are looking to give them a second opportunity at a bright future -- many times this includes a residential treatment center or therapeutic boarding school.

Rarely does their teen want to attend these programs.  By the time the parent calls us, their teenager is usually at the point of defiance, maybe experimenting with drugs, alcohol, sneaking out, failing in school, and possibly worse.

Getting help in not in the teenager's immediate plan - they would prefer to "hang" with their new less than desirable peer group.

With this many parents have had to hire transport services.

Don't panic, like with everything on the Internet - you can find the good and the bad online.

I encourage parents to do their due diligence when it comes to selecting your transport just as you did when you selected your program.

How do you know if they are good services?

Be sure they are licensed and insured to transport teens.  Be sure you can talk to recent parents that have used them, as well as previous students that have been transported by them.  You don't want to use any services that use tactics such as hand-cuffs and duct-tape.

Why am I saying that?  Because you will read online some stories about that and you want to be sure you don't get one of those services.

What are the fees?  

I can't quote that - but it will be usually around $2500 and up.  You are covering transportation (flights and/or gas for driving) for at least 2-3 adults.

Will your child hate you?

Seriously -- short of the kids I spoke with that were transported to the WWASPS programs by the less than ethical people (IMO), I have yet to speak to one student that has had a bad experience.  On the contrary, I have talked to students that have befriended their transports.  I think parents, which is human nature, are fearful that their child will hate them.  I haven't heard of a child hating their parent yet.

Visit for more information on transports.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Residential Therapy: My teen has been in therapy, why is residential therapy different?

Many parents call us all the time with two scenarios.

1)  My teen refuses to go to a therapist or counselor


2)  My teen has been in therapy for years and it hasn't made a difference.  Even has changed therapist several times and nothing changes.

So why will residential treatment make a difference?

Fact is, we don't have a crystal ball but there is definitely a difference.  The one-on-one therapy once a week at home (in a doctor's office) is completely different than being in a therapeutic setting where all your child's activity is geared towards building him up to make better choices and also helping him to reflect on why he was making the negative ones that brought him to where he is now.

Removing your teen from their comfort zone of home and mostly of their peer group can substantially change the way they think and react to situations.  You can finally peel back the layer they have to protect their egos (attitudes) and determine where all this negative behavior was stemming from.

Your teen, right now, is running your household.  Staying out late, defying your rules -- your boundaries -- in many cases, skipping school, maybe smoking pot (okay, maybe it is their friends - not them) -- sneaking out -- BUT - you know they are capable of getting straight A's, they were on a varsity team, they used to be the best dancer, tennis player, LaCrosse player --- what happened?  Oh, it is the friends.... Okay.  We can buy that --- for now.  What happens when there isn't the friends to blame anymore?

Remember parents, your teen is making their own choices, just like it is up to parents to make their choices.

Will residential treatment make a difference?  I don't know - what are your options?  Have you exhausted them?  Do you let your child run the streets?  Drop out of school?  Continue with drugs?  Drinking?

My teen won't go willing?  Well, what teenager will???

Transportation for teens is very normal - and if you read the Internet you may be scared from the horror stories, but if you do your due diligence and locate reputable services that are licensed and insured to transport teens,   you will find there is help out there.  Ask for parent references, talk to students that have been transported by these people - you will soon find that the Internet can be deceptive.

The Internet is a great tool - but remember, it is also a machine and humans can be cruel.  Not everyone wants what is best for everybody. 

If you need help for your family and your teenager, reach out and ask for it.  Trust me, you are not alone.

Learn more,