Friday, August 23, 2013

Struggling Teens: Finding the Right Residential Treatment Center

You have finally reached your wit's end.
You have exhausted all your local resources.
Your teen is refusing local therapy - not that it is working at this point anyway.
Your teen has so much academic potential, however is refusing to put any effort forward.
Your teen has literally become someone you barely recognize - and you realize if you don't intervene you may not get another chance.

Is it your fault?
Is it the school?
Is it their friends?

We can waste time with the blame game all day and night long, but in the end it is your teen that is making these negative choices and it is your responsibility as a parent to make the right ones.

So as many parents do - they hit the keyboard and are bombarded in a new and scarey world of the big business of "teen help".

Red flags -red lights -and fear can quickly run through your mind - not to mention the sticker shock of many of these programs and schools.

Take the time to breath and learn about exactly what residential therapy is and how it can help your child.

I always encourage parents to recognize a few key points:
  • You are not looking to punish your child.
  • Military school are not for struggling teens.
  • Boot camps will not resolve any emotional issues.
  • Scared Straight programs are usually non-effective and have short term effects.
  • Wilderness programs are usually an expensive short term band-aid.
  • Don't get sucked into "sales-people" that immediately can place your child.
  • Be aware of these toll free numbers that you are clueless where you are calling.
  • Websites can be deceiving.
It may seem like a lot - but it really is all common sense.  I now when parents are at their wit's end it all seems overwhelming - but this is why I encourage you to breath and go through this process calmly.

Now think about this:
  • Is the program licensed? Ask for a copy.
  • Are they accredited academically? Ask for a copy of their certification.
  • What are the credentials of their staff.
  • What are the enrichment programs - so important!!!! We want to stimulate your child in a positive direction - this is not about beating your child down - it is about building them up. (such as: sports, animal assisted therapy, culinary arts, music, etc).
  • What is the length of their program?  Ideally 6-9-12 months is the average.
  • Ask what the population of the students are - you don't want to place your teen out of their element.
Hopefully this can get you started on researching for your residential therapy program.

I made a huge mistake over a decade ago - which prompted me to create Parents Universal Resource Experts', Inc.   We are about educating parents on today's daunting task of finding the best placement for your at-risk teenager.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Educational Consultants: Do you need one?

I hear this question a lot.  Of course the answer is only opinion based - and may depend on your child and your needs.

Not sure whether to hire an EC? 
Here is some food for thought:
  • Educational Consultants (EC) were originally designed to help parents with their teens to find the right colleges and with the application process.  With the growth and expansion of technology, the need for their assistance has become nearly extinct.  Parents and students have found they can find quick results on CollegeBoard.org for about every school and every question they have.
  • As the shift in teen help increased, they seemed to branch out into the residential treatment field.
  • Most have not experienced what you are going through.  Most do not know what you are dealing with at home.  Only an experienced parent that has been there really knows that feeling of helplessness. 
  •  In the teen help industry a term that has been coined is the EC Shuffle. What is the EC Shuffle?  "The EC I spoke with only wants $500.00, that seems fair."   Remember the cliché you get what you pay for, yes, you will find some Educational Consultants that will only charge $500.00 but you also get limited services usually including the EC Shuffle with a list of programs.  Nothing more than you could have found on your own in a few Internet searches.

  • Most Educational Consultants seem to play the same routine; they will refer parents into Wilderness programs and then the majority of teens will then be transferred into a long term residential therapy program.  Why the double-play program?   Why is this so common?  Why do we always hear the same circle of programs?  These questions of "why", I believe can be answered by many parents without me having to say anything.
  • The question is, most EC's charge an average of $3500-$5000 to locate a program for your teenager.  Why?  Sigh.  I am sure they have a list of reasons for you - including they are the middle person for you.  In my opinion, I would want the school to contact me directly and again, I believe I do know my child best.  They say Wilderness programs are best at breaking down our child, my question is, isn't our child already broken?  Isn't that why we are seeking help?  Consistency is key to recovery - why not find the best program to start and finish with so your teen doesn't have to start and finish twice ~~ as well as with new counselors?  Also many teens are known to fake it to make it through Wilderness. At an average of $400.00 a day, it is a very expensive camping trip. 

 Remember parents, you know your child best.  There are many programs and schools in our country.  Parents that have been there before you are probably your best resources.  Finding people that have walked that path will most likely be able to guide you down this daunting road and give you the support you will need.  Of course, we all know the Internet can offer both fact and fiction and you will have to decipher the good from the not so good.  Though it may seem confusing, you will soon be able to determine who is attempting to "sell" you something and who truly cares about helping your family.

For more information please contact Parents' Universal Resource Resources.  I have been down that road - and that path.  I was duped and I attempted to use an EC that believed that Wilderness was the answer.  As I share with parents, learn from my mistakes ~ gain from my knowledge.