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.

Teen Help for Young Adults: Dealing with an 18 Year old Child

Helping your teenager at any age is a priority.

Helping your teenager at any age is a priority.

At this time of year, it seems we are contacted by more and more parents that have an 18 year old or a 17 year old that is almost 18. If you have been struggling with your younger teen and like many of us, keep hoping and praying it will change, take a moment to think about if it doesn’t. Don’t miss opportunities to give your child a second chance for a bright future. Whether it is local therapy, a motivational program or a Boarding School, as parents we do what is best for our kids.

“My 18 year old is out of control and I am at my wit’s end! What can I do?” Anonymous Parent.

18 – 19 year old teens can be the most difficult to address simply because they are considered adults and cannot be forced to get help. As parents, we have limited to no control. Practicing “Tough Love” is easier said than done, many parents cannot let their child reach rock bottom. As parents, we see our child suffering whether it is needing groceries or a roof over their head and it is hard to shut the door on them.

I think this is one of the most important reasons that if you are a parent of a 16-17 year old that is out-of-control, struggling, defiant, using drugs and alcohol, or other negative behavior I believe it is time to look for intervention NOW. I am not saying it needs to be a residential treatment center or a program out of the home, but at least start with local resources such as therapists that specialize with adolescents and preferable offer support groups.

It is unfortunate that in most cases the local therapy is very limited how it can help your teen. The one hour once a week or even twice, is usually not enough to make permanent changes. Furthermore getting your defiant teen to attend sessions can sometimes cause more friction and frustrations than is already happening in the home.

This is the time to consider outside help such as a Therapeutic Boarding School or a Residential Treatment Center. However these parents with the 18-19 year old teenagers may have usually missed their opportunity. They were hoping and praying that at 16 or 17 things would change, but unfortunately, if not addressed, the negative behavior usually escalates.

In the past 12+ years I have heard from thousands of parents and most are hoping to get their child through high school and will be satisfied with a GED. It is truly a sad society of today’s teens when many believe they can simply drop out of school. Starting as early as 14 years old, many teens are thinking this way and we need to be sure they know the consequences of not getting an education.

Education in today’s world should be our children’s priority however with today’s peer pressure and entitlement issues, it seems to have drifted from education to defiance being happy just having fun and not being responsible.

I think there are many parents that debate whether they should take that desperate measure of sending a child to a program and having them escorted there but in the long run you need to look at these parents that have 18-19 year olds that don’t have that opportunity.

While you have this option, and it is a major decision that needs to be handled with the utmost reality of what will happen if things don’t change. The closer they are to 18 the more serious issues can become legally. If a 17+ year old gets in trouble with the law, in many states they will be tried as an adult.

This can be scary since most of these kids are good kids making very bad choices and don’t deserve to get caught up the system. As a parent I believe it is our responsible not to be selfish and be open to sending the outside of the home. It is important not to view this as a failure as a parent, but as a responsible parent that is willing to sacrifice your personal feelings to get your child the help they need.

At 18, it is unfortunate, these kids are considered adults – and as parents we basically lose control to get them the help they need. In most cases, if they know they have no other alternatives and this is the only option the parents will support, they will attend young adult programs that can offer them life skills, emotional growth, education and more to give them a second opportunity for a bright, successful future.

Do you need help finding young adult life skills programs?  Contact us at www.helpyourteens.com.

Parent’s Universal Resource Experts www.helpyourteens.com
Sue Scheff www.suescheff.com
Wit’s End Book  www.witsendbook.com

Teen Depression and What Parents Need to Know

Feeling good has a lot to do with the choices your teen makes regarding their health.

The life of a teen is filled with choices, and most teens do not base decisions on their health, future, or long-term risks. Keeping up teens’ health ultimately falls on the parents’ shoulders, even though most teens are already making many of their own choices.

If you struggle finding a balance when it comes to your teen’s health or want to be sure that you’re doing as much as you can with the time you do have, here are a few simple ways to make a big impact on the health of your teen:

1. Require consistent exercise. There is no need to be a drill sergeant or make exercise feel like a chore, but there is something to be said for requiring exercise from your children. Whether they take up a sport, enroll in a dance program, or just join the gym with you, teens need to start now with a consistent exercise program for optimum health in the future.
2. Buy daily vitamins in gummy form. Daily vitamins are no fun. And, it’s difficult as a parent to, a) remember to dole them out, and, b) make sure your kids actually take them. But, vitamins should no longer be a dreaded routine. The vitamin gummies offered today are delicious and taste like candy. Teens will want to take more than their daily share.
3. Fill plates with more greens and fruits and less grains and protein. The FDA has recently re-vamped the old standard of food charts and opted for something simpler: a plate divided into four sections. Half the plate is filled with vegetables and fruits. The remainder contains a fourth grains and a fourth protein. This is a simple and easy way to see that your teens are getting the proper servings of the food they need.
4. Restrict TV to certain hours. Monitoring TV hours is a challenge, especially when teens have become accustomed to turning them on whenever they want. But, in order to maintain optimum health, the TV has to go once in a while. Teens need time and space to go outside, call friends, read, create, and do other things that help maintain a balanced life. This can be as simple as turning them off during regular chunks of time when you know you’ll be around.
5. Make doctors’ appointments a part of the norm. Many of us restrict doctor’s appointments to emergency visits when we come down with the flu and need a quick prescription. But, it’s very important to get your teen started with regular physicals and preventative doctor’s visits. This will get them in the habit of seeking out the advice of a physician and setting dates for those much-needed physicals.
6. Talk about sensitive health topics early-on. Instead of waiting until the last minute, it’s important to discuss any health topics that your teen needs to know as early as possible. This applies to the menstrual cycle, the birds and the bees, and your preference on the best forms of contraceptives or abstinence. Waiting until your teen finds out about these hugely important issues from friends, television shows, or the school counselor means that you have missed the chance to help form extremely important choices your teens will make and prepare them for life events that will come up soon.
7. Drink more water, and get rid of soda. This is simple, but definitely worth it. The health benefits of drinking enough water cannot be overstated, and the harmful effects of soda have been well-documented. Most soda contains such a huge amount of sugar that the body has difficulty digesting it properly. Once and a while, it’s fine, but make sure your teens are reaching for something else on a daily basis.

Contributor: Leslie Johnson is a freelance writer for www.mastersinhealthcare.com.

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Teen Anxiety: Coping Skills to Help

For most kids, going back to school is an exciting and fun time, but for some, it is nothing but dreadful. Even if a child isn’t experiencing bullying or academic trouble, the social factor of public education can be downright daunting for students who have social anxiety. This is especially true for high school students.

Teens with social anxiety are usually very reluctant to go to school in the morning and are always looking for ways to avoid both small and large group social situations. Common physical symptoms of anxiety include a fast heart rate, excessive sweating, hyperventilation, dizziness, stomach pain and crying. Most kids with social anxiety also suffer from low self-esteem and have an irrational fear of being watched and judged by others.

If you believe your child is experiencing back-to-school anxiety, you should ask them to open up about their feelings and fears. Anxiety comes in many forms and shouldn’t be ignored. Some children may just need a quick pep talk before school while others may need to seek professional counseling for their fears.

Although social anxiety is a phobia that takes time to conquer, parents can help their children cope with their fears by using the following four tips.

  1. Teach relaxation techniques: Techniques include deep breathing, positive visualization and meditation. In addition to these proximate techniques that can be used at the onset of anxious feelings, encourage your child to also do some form of exercise every day. Exercise is great for your overall health, but it is especially good for reducing anxiety and stress.
  2. Help them hone a talent: To help with self-esteem, encourage your teenager to focus on their strengths. Whether it is a subject in school, an artistic or athletic ability or something else, children understand their individual value better when they realize and perfect their unique talents.
  3. Be their support, not their crutch: Kids with social anxiety often turn to their parents for comfort and reassurance. Many children with social phobia spend most of their time at home after school, because being at home with mom and dad provides a blanket of comfort for them. While this may seem like easy parenting (a child at home is a child protected from trouble), it is not healthy behavior, especially for a teenager. Encourage your teenager to tackle their phobias by spending more time with their friends or participating in an after school activity. If they showcase any concerns, tell them that you know they will enjoy doing something different.
  4. Encourage part-time work: If your teenager is old enough to work, encourage them to go get an after school, part-time job. A job will teach them how to meet new people and how to work in a team. They will also learn about responsibility, business and customer service and become exposed to real-world situations that may help them realize the irrationality of their fears.

As stated before, social anxiety is not a phobia that can be fixed overnight. For some people, it can take years to overcome their fears. However, parents can guide their teens down the path to an anxiety-free life by recognizing the problem and implementing techniques that dissolve their phobias.

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Teens that self harm themselves – cutting and self mutilation

Unfortunately we are hearing more of this and sadly teens are feeling this is their only escape from what they believe is an experience they can’t seem to reconcile.

Self abuse (or self mutilation) can come in many forms; most commonly it is associated with cutting, hair pulling or bone breaking, but it can also manifest itself as eating disorders like bulimia, and/or anorexia. My site will focus mainly on cutting, which is the most common form of self abuse, with 72% of all self injurers choosing to do so by cutting themselves, and hair pulling.

Cutting is exactly as it sounds; when your teen cuts him or herself as a physical expression to feel emotional pain. There are many reasons why teens injure themselves, but many people assume it’s just ‘for attention’.

Often this can be an element of why your teen may be abusing him or her self, but just as often it can be something your teen does privately to express the emotional pain they feel inside. And while self injury is a taboo subject, it is estimated that 3 to 6 million Americans self injure themselves in some way, and that number is on the increase- in fact, its already doubled in the past three years.

For more help, please contact us at www.helpyourteens.com.  Don’t ignore this – don’t be a parent in denial.

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Teen Anger and Rage: What does it take until your teen explodes?

Does your teen get explosive?

Speaking with parents on a daily basis, I hear a lot about how teens can go into a rage and can get explosive, especially when they don’t get what they want.  It seems family values and respect for parents and authority has diminished in today’s generation.  I am not talking about all families, but many that I speak with, they don’t understand where there once happy toddler went.

Here is a good guest post with five possible reason that can cause teen anger:

5 Ways to Make Your Teenager Angry

Any parent of a teenager knows that one of the main emotions associated with that age is, you guessed it, anger. In fact, most people simply refer to their teenager as an “angry teen” and write off those emotions as a simple fact of life during that age. While this is definitely true, it is also imperative to treat your teen with as much care and respect as you would any other loved one, even if they treat you with the opposite of care and respect, at times. As a parent, you can’t write off your teen’s anger. In fact, if you’re not careful, you run the risk of making them seriously angry at you, rather than simply angry at the world. Here’s how:

 1. Don’t Listen to What They Have to Say

One of the most important things to do while your kids are teenagers is to try to foster and maintain communication. Even if your teen would rather walk home in the snow than talk to you about his day, you have to take advantage of any communication you can get. And, most importantly, when you do get the opportunity to communicate, focus less on what you would like to say to them and more on what they have to say to you. You could be so occupied with worrying about the next thing you think you should tell them that you can miss hugely important clues about your teens life and how he or she is feeling.

2. Tell Them They Are Just Being a Teen

Talk about being written off! And at the absolute worst time in life to feel that way, no less. Never, ever make the mistake of treating your teen like their opinions or emotions are invalid simply because they are going through their “teens.” There is nothing that will push your child away faster or make them feel more annoyed and insulted.

3. Don’t Practice What You Preach

You may feel like you can relax a little once your kids are grown up, without the worry of them repeating things they shouldn’t say or copying behaviors they shouldn’t be copying. It’s easy to feel like you can cut back on trying to provide an example. But, even if it doesn’t feel like it, your teen is still watching you and emulating your behavior. If you are constantly lecturing them about following through on their homework, you better take the trash out if that is one of your family chores or remove foul language from your vocabulary if you expect the same from them. If you are going to ask your teen to follow through on things they say they will do, you absolutely must set that example.

4. Make Them Feel Isolated

When your teen suddenly prefers to lock herself in her room, music blaring, rather than hang out with the family, it can be easy to just leave them alone up there and not bother. Once invitations have been rejected so many times, you can begin to feel like it would be better to stop bothering them altogether. However, your teen still needs to feel like a relevant and important member of the family, or else you run the risk of creating a feeling of isolation that could continue into the later teen years.

5. Don’t Prepare Them for Plans

This is another area where parents sometimes feel that it’s better to stay away than address an issue or upcoming plan with their teen. Things like letting them know that you will be going out of town in two weeks, or that you want to have a family movie night on Friday, are simple to throw on your teen last minute, especially when they act like they could care less. The truth is, in the moment, they probably don’t care. But that doesn’t mean that you should surprise them by springing plans on them last minute. Sometimes teens, just like anyone else, need a little time to mentally prepare for upcoming events, and being forced to do something without warning is a surefire recipe for a breakdown.

Byline:

This is a guest post by Kimberly Wilson. Kimberly is from accredited online colleges, she writes on topics including career, education, student life, college life, home improvement, time management etc.

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Struggling Teens: When Parents Reach their Wit’s End

Raising teens today can be contentious and get your blood pressure boiling.  The lack of respect towards parents and most authority is very disturbing in today’s society.  I often say the sense of entitlement issue can be a large cause of today’s defiant teens.  Either way, parents are struggling with kids that are literally holding parents hostage in their own homes.

Here is a great guest post by Barbara Williams:

Working as a nanny can be a rewarding and fulfilling job for people who love children. However, getting along with the parents can sometimes be a challenge. The important thing to remember is, no matter how much you love the children, the parents are the boss. You need to make sure they are happy with your work because the parents are ones signing your paychecks. It might not always be obvious that you’re doing something to displease them, so here are 10 signs a parent is upset with you.

  1. Not speaking – Some parents aren’t good at communicating their displeasure so they’ll give you the silent treatment. Instead of a light banter at the end of the day they’ll only answer direct questions with short terse statements. If this starts happening you better find out if you did something wrong or if they’re just having a bad day.
  2. Exasperated sighs – Another unspoken sign a parent is upset with you is the exasperated sigh. Nannies who hear this better be on their toes. You should probably find out what the parent is unhappy about.
  3. Facial expressions – It’s important for nannies to be able to read the parent’s facial expressions. A furrowed brow or tenseness around the mouth could be a sign you did something wrong.
  4. Schedule a talk – When parents tell you they want to schedule a little talk, you may be in trouble. They may say something about having to go over a few things or the need to reevaluate your duties. Uh-oh!
  5. Send you home early – Another sign you made them unhappy is when they send you home early for no apparent reason. This could mean they are so upset they don’t even want to have you around.
  6. Day off for no reason – Getting an unscheduled day off could seem like a good thing at first, but you might want to beware. This could mean the parents are reevaluating your position. They may even be scheduling interviews with other potential nannies.
  7. Unreasonable demands – Some parents will do just the opposite and start making unreasonable demands when they’re upset with you. This could be their way of punishing you for whatever misdeeds you’ve done.
  8. Exaggerated niceness – Some parents will express their displeasure by treating you with exaggerated niceness. This forced and fake kindness that is dripping with sarcasm is a clear sign they’re upset.
  9. Kids tell you – Of course kids don’t have filters on their expressions like adults do, so they are more likely to tell you when their parents are upset and why. Nannies can often rely on the children to let something slip if there’s a problem the parents won’t tell them about.
  10. They tell you – Of course the best way to find out a parent is upset with you is for them to tell you. It’s much better for them to let you know right away if you’re doing something they don’t like so you can rectify the situation.

Everyone handles conflict differently and some people are very uncomfortable with confrontations. They’ll do anything to avoid unpleasantness. The best thing to do is have good communication between both the parents and the nannies. It’s not good to let problems fester when they can re resolved quickly and amicably. Nannies should watch for these signs that the parents are upset and work hard to resolve the situation.

Source:  Find a Babysitter

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