Struggling Teens: Where to Get them Help Over the Summer

TeenHelp5What is your at-risk teen doing this summer?

Summer is almost here and the calls are coming in from parents that are struggling with what to do with their at-risk teens.

Some issues we are hearing:

  • Failing some classes, when they are more than capable of getting passing grades, if not straight A’s.
  • Dropping out of their favorite sport or activity.
  • Smoking pot — occasionally – though parents may blame it on the friends, please keep in mind, it is your child making the decision to inhale that joint or pop that pill.
  • Drinking – again, it may be the friends you want to blame, but are they holding the bottle to your teen’s mouth?
  • Sneaking out of the house.
  • Defiance, lying, stealing……
  • Maybe they have changed their peer group this year?

Let’s face it, with a combination of any of these above, you could be traveling down a negative path.  Chances are very good a short-term summer program will not address a long term solution.

It can irritate me when I see parents get sucked into these very expensive Wilderness programs that give tell you they can turn your child around in 4-9 weeks.  Really?

I think if you interview most of the families that have dug deep  into their wallets and spent that $15K-20K on a Wilderness program (which is likely to have zero academics to get your child caught up), you will find that at about the 4 week point, the program is already prepping the family for the “next step” of a Therapeutic Boarding School or Residential Treatment Center (another $50K step).

Or if the family truly cannot afford, which I have spoken to many of them too, since they have spent their  last dime on this summer last ditch hope, they soon find that within 3-6 weeks after Wilderness, their  child is back to their old ways.

What is the answer?  It depends on the child, but in most situations it is finding the right placement the first time around.  Not starting at one place – and “breaking him down” (aren’t they already broken?) and breaking your wallet too, and then going to yet another to break your wallet again.

Most quality and qualified programs are designed to treat teens that come in with the anger and defiance.  There are excellent 6-8-10 month programs that can offer a complete package of academic’s, emotional growth (clinical) and enrichment programs (which are so important to help stimulate your teen in a positive direction).

It is my opinion, and after almost thirteen years of watching parents and families in this big business of “teen help” get screwed (sorry for the slang) but until you walk my shoes and have taken the time to learn about what goes on behind the scenes – the word just about seems appropriate.

I firmly believe in getting our kids help, as a matter of fact, it is our responsibility as a parent to do that.  We also have to do our due diligent.

Google is not God — the Internet has some very disturbing sites – and disgruntled kids, parents, employers. Yes, I was one of them, but I also have a lot of substantial legal facts behind my case.  I don’t sit and rant.  As a matter of fact, I don’t want to discuss it – I want to continue to educate parents about how they can find the best program for their child’s needs.

I offer many great tips, questions to ask schools and programs and resources.  Visit www.helpyourteens.com.

Parenting At Risk Teens: From Home to Homeroom

Parenting teens is a challenge today.

Schools and parents today need to work together to help prevent teen drug use.

Fast Facts: Preventing Teen OTC Cough Medicine Abuse – From Home to Homeroom

A Wake Up Call for Parents

  • Thirty-three percent of American high school teens know someone who has abused cough medicine, a wake up call for those parents who think that their teen is not affected or being exposed to the issue.
  • Six percent of high school teens admit to abusing cough medicine containing dextromethorphan, or DXM, to get high in the past year.

Cough Medicine Abuse Does Not Happen By Accident

  • While safe and effective when taken as directed, teens looking to get high from cough medicine take excessive amounts, sometimes 25 to 50 times the recommended dosage. This translates to multiple bottles or packages of medicine at one time.
  • Teens often abuse cough medicines with other prescription drugs, illicit drugs, or alcohol.
  • Even the best kid in the world doesn’t have the same ability as adults to assess risk because the part of their brain that processes risk, the frontal cortex, doesn’t finish developing until their mid 20s.

Parents Have the Power to Keep Teens Drug-free

  • Research shows that kids who learn a lot from their parents about the risk of drug abuse are up to half as likely to use.
  • Parents are not alone in their fight to prevent medicine abuse; reaching out to the school nurse can help parents learn more about the issue and access local resources.
  • Parents can learn more about the Home to Homeroom campaign by logging onto www.StopMedicineAbuse.org

Parents can interact and help raise awareness by joining online communities including:

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Summer Party Time: Teen Drinking Risking College Rejection

School will shortly be out for the summer which means the “party season” will shortly commence.

While it’s natural for teens to want to have a good time during their summer break, those that are college- bound should really be careful about what kind of “fun” they engage in—any sort of illegal activity that results in a misdemeanor or worse, a felony, can jeopardize their chances of getting into the university of his-or-her-choice.

Getting a mark on their record even after college acceptance can still come with great consequence. For example, it will most definitely affect their eligibility for Federal Financial Aid and can hinder job prospects, making it hard to pay for school. While there is an array of crimes that a teen can commit, one of the most common offenses is underage drinking.

To help remind your teen of the several drinking-related crimes that can affect their future, read the list below.

1. Minor in Possession. Like the name suggests, anyone who is a “minor” (under the legal drinking age of 21) can get in trouble if he or she is in possession of an alcoholic beverage. This can include actually being caught red-handed drinking, “appearing” to be intoxicated, or simply holding an empty bottle in a public place. Even blood alcohol content of .01 percent is enough to book and issue a $500 fine to minors in some states. In addition to a possible maximum six months in jail sentence, most first-time MPI offenders are required to enroll in an alcohol awareness program and/or be placed on probation.

2. Driving Under the Influence. Arguably one of the most frequent (and not to mention most lethal crimes) is driving while intoxicated. Punishment varies substantially.  It heavily depends on whether your teen’s blood alcohol content is .08 percent or higher and whether he or she harms anyone.But if you don’t, still expect to have to challenge the most maximum punishment, which includes up to 30 days in jail, up to 1 year of a driver’s license suspension, up to $1,000 fee, an ignition interlock device installed on his or her vehicle, and community service. Repeated offenders punishments will greatly increase. If your teen is 17-years-old or younger, his or her license suspension will be extended.

3. Contributing to the Delinquency of a Minor. Lastly, some parents think that it’s “safer” for their teen to drink inside their home rather than on the streets. But allowing your teen (or his or her friends) to host parties and drink in your home can not only get them charged with an MPI, but you can get charged with contributing to the delinquency of a minor.

Those who are of the legal drinking age and voluntarily serve minors an alcoholic beverage or gives them “easy access” to alcohol is committing a crime. This includes 21-year-old college students giving their underage classmates beer. It happens quite often but if caught, there could be great consequence, such as up to a $1,000 fine and up to six months in jail if someone is injured.

Special contributor:

This guest contribution was submitted by Samantha Gray, who specializes in writing about bachelor degree online. Questions and comments can be sent to:  samanthagray024@gmail.com.

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Tough love and getting your teen the help they need – unconditionally

Tough love, when you reach your wit's end and want to give up, but you can't. It is your child and we never give up on our child.

Many cannot understand or grasp the concept of, Tough love or “not enabling” the child to ruin or run the family unit. Enduring life with a teen that is running the home can result in many uproars, conflicts, arguments, battles, and sometimes psychical and verbal abuse.  Tough love is exactly that: Tough.  Loving our children is unconditional, but we don’t have to like what they are doing or how they are destroying their lives.

There will come a time when a parent realizes enough is enough! This is the time that they need the support from outside sources, such as a Tough Love support groups (if you can find them and if you believe in their philosophy), along with professional intervention. This does not reflect you as a parent, nor does it place blame on the family, it is the child that is making the bad choices and the family is suffering from it.
Many times tough love is simply letting go. Let the child make their mistakes and they will either learn from them or suffer the consequences. Unfortunately depending on the situation, it is not always feasible to wait until the last minute to intervene.  If you see that Tough love is not working at home, it may be time to consider residential placement (placement outside the home).
Quality Residential placements work with the entire family. Once the child is safely removed from the family, everyone is able to concentrate on the issues calmly and rationally. Tough love can mean finding the most appropriate setting outside of the home for your child.
While in the whirlwind of confusion, frustration and stress that the child is causing, it is hard to see the actual problem or problems. With time and distance, the healing starts to occur. Tough love is a very painful and stressful avenue, however in many families, very necessary and very rewarding.
Tough love if used correctly can be helpful.  However if you are the type to give in at the end, all the hard work of standing your ground will be for nothing.  Actually, your weakness or giving in could result in deeper and more serious problems.  Please confer with professionals or outside help if you feel you are not able to follow through with what you are telling your child you will do.
Don’t be ashamed to ask for help, you are certainly not alone.
Learn more about quality residential therapy at www.helpyourteens.com.

Teen Help for your Struggling Teen: When Parents Reach their Wit’s End

What happened to that bouncing happy toddler that you once would bring to the park and play in the sand with?  What happened to that elementary child that would bring home that artwork that would hang on your refrigerator door for weeks and I bet is still packed in boxes somewhere?  It is called adolescent with a splash of peer pressure and today’s dose of entitlement issues!  In my opinion of course.  We are dealing with teens that are good kids making bad choices.  We live in a society where our teens seem to rule our homes, and parents have limited rights to control them.  How many times have your teen threatened to call the authorities on YOU?  Yes, I have heard this before.  There are parents that literally live in fear of their own teen.

Should you have to live like a hostage in your own home?  Of course not.  Does this mean your teen needs a boot camp?  Absolutely not – not in my opinion.  Military Schools are rarely the answer either – unless you can afford to lose $25K-30K when they get expelled.  It is time for you to do some research and that is what I have done over the past decade after I was once that parent with a troubled teen.

Do you really need to pay someone up to $5000.00 to tell you that you need to send your child to the woods for a glorified camping trip aka Wilderness program then to a residential program or are you capable of doing this yourself?  Let’s look at this….. Maybe you can save yourself some money……

  • Educational Consultants were originally designed to help parents with their teens to find the right colleges and with the application process.
  • 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.
  • What is the EC Shuffle? Find out more and try not to get into the mix.  Parent Consultants do not employ this type of assistance for your needs.  “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.

Parent power – believe it or not – you can do it!

You have the ability and the power to find the right program that is best for your individual teen’s needs.  Parent Consultants are not only parents that have been there, they are parents that have personally visited many schools and programs.  They have obtained even more information and feedback from other parents and students of a large variety of programs in the United States.

  • The big business or industry of teen help programs and schools is not about your educational background, such as being a PhD or an LCSW, it is about being in it and part of it – which goes back to first hand experiences.
  • Take advantage of our free consultation to determine if we will be able to assist you and your family.

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Troubled Teens – The Holidays – Residential Treatment Centers – Who Do You Trust?

Especially during the holiday season, this can be one of the hardest decisions a parent can make.

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.

For more helpful hint and tips, please contact www.HelpYourTeens.com for a free consultation. After the ordeal I went through, I created this advocacy organization to help educate parents on finding safe and quality programs.

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Teen Help: Hard Decision for Better Futures for your Teenagers

Yes, your teen is making bad choices.

Yes, your teen is failing.

Yes, your teen is experimenting with drugs.

Yes, your teen is hanging out with less than desirable kids.

Yes, your teen may be having sex.

Yes, your teen is disrespectful.

Yes, your teen needs help!  They don’t need to be harmed!

If you feel you are at your wit’s end and have exhausted all your local resources – therapy isn’t working or your teen simply refuses to go, it may be time to start thinking about residential therapy.

This doesn’t mean you are a bad parent, quite the contrary, you are giving your teen a second opportunity at a bright future.

Need more information? Visit www.HelpYourTeens.com.