How to Find Therapeutic Boarding Schools Close to Home

Struggling with a good teen making bad choices can be frustrating especially when it escalates beyond typical teen behavior — you find you have lost control and authority over your teenager. After exhausting local resources, you find yourself online searching for schools for troubled teens and realize you have so many questions.

One of the most common questions and concerns for parents is, how do you find a quality therapeutic boarding school close to your home?

First you are bombarded with websites, marketing and new terminology that can be confusing and overwhelming especially when you are stressed out and exhausted by your teen’s behavior.

After decades of helping families that are searching for the right behavioral boarding school for their struggling teen or young adult, we complied the top 5 most asked questions and answers by parents.

Staying near to your home is not recommended for several reasons.

5 Questions Parents Ask About Teen Therapeutic Boarding Schools:

1. “We want a program close to home so we can visit frequently.”

Almost every parent has the same response, they want a program close to home. It’s probably one of the most common mistakes a family can make in selecting the right therapeutic boarding school for your troubled teen.

This is a major emotional (and sometimes) financial decision — in our decades of experience, we urge parents to choose a program that fits your child’s needs (emotionally, physically and academically), rather than geographically. Of course, this is within reason. Since the pandemic, it’s understandable that some don’t want to travel to the other side of the country, however you can be more reasonable when it comes to choosing residential treatment. It’s always wise to find a program outside of your state — without going to the other side of the country.

This helps remove your teen’s temptation to runaway since they are less familiar with the area. We’ve seen parents choose local programs or places their family is familiar with — the teen will run, and this sets their progress back. When this happens, it prolongs their stay at the school and you have to hit the reset button again. There are no winners.

If you’re concerned about family therapy, you will have virtual sessions and parenting workshops which are typically every other month or every 90 days. Check with the program.

2. “Should our teen help us choose the therapeutic boarding program?”

Absolutely, positively not. Up until this point of their life, they have not been making the best choices, what would convince you that they would make the right one now?

Again, with decades of experience, parents have attempted to work with their teens in hopes they would be excited about a school or a program, getting a new start – or possibly the animals or sports that the program offers, however what happens next can be anything but excitement. 

Your child will start doing their own research online, telling their friends, and realizing they will not be able to take their phones, talk to friends, they will be on a schedule and life will not be the rainbows and unicorns they have been used to. In some situations, they might even miss holidays or birthdays.

If your teen is a flight risk, you are giving them time to better map out their surroundings by telling them where they will be going – or even where you are considering sending them. It is never wise for a parent to threaten a child that they will be sent away, this only starts the program off with a sense of negativity.

It is the child’s behavior that has prompted you to make this decision, no parent simply wants to send a child to residential for no reason. Every parent has their child’s wellness in the forefront.

This is a time for parents to be the parents, make the adult decision for the child that needs help. If you are placing a young adult, it is different. At 18+ years old they do have to be willing to attend. In most of these young adults’ programs your child can speak with the director and other students and get a full understanding of the program. Some young adults know they need this extra boost.

3. My teen won’t attend a program; how do we get him/her there?”

This is probably one of the most common questions parents ask and are concerned about. Assisted transport is how most parents have successfully and safely brought their teen to residential treatment.

It is especially important to choose qualified and credentialed professionals. The transport service should be licensed and insured to transport teens and have various degrees and/or background in education, psychology, behavioral science, mental health, or other related fields.

It is natural for parents to be apprehensive about this, however after speaking with other parents that have taken this road, you will realize that many of these teens ended up becoming friends with their transports and it is not the nightmare they are imagining — or you are reading about *online. They may initially be angry, but deep down your teen understands they do need help.

*We caution parents frequently about the fearmongering that some forums have posted online, although we don’t diminish a person’s experience, we encourage you to employ qualified professionals and do your diligences in speaking with references. There are overwhelmingly number of successful transport of young people to have a bright future.

4. “I fear my teen will hate me forever if I send them to a therapeutic boarding school.”

Again, another quite common concern of parents, especially parents of adopted children that fear that they will exasperate abandonment issues, is will their teen hate them forever if they are sent to a therapeutic boarding school?

Initially your teen may enter the program and not like you very much (it may feel like hate to you and them) but — they will grow from their fear and anger.

Your teen will likely fear the new situation and may also promise to “do better at home” however you know that you have already heard all these promises and spent a long time trying. It is time to be the adult, be the parent and do what is best for your child.

It is at this time that talking to other parents can be incredibly supportive for you — parents that have taken this journey before you, maybe from the same program you have selected for your teen.

As the program progresses, family therapy and workshops continue to reunite all of you and work through the conflict that tore you apart. Eventually your teen will be able to understand and have gratitude for this experience.

5. “Don’t these programs have bad kids; my child isn’t that bad?”

If no one had troubled teens or young adults, there would not be any need residential treatment facilities. Most schools for troubled teens are enrolled with good kids that come from good families, possibly had a good foundation, howevertook a wrong turn.

The increase of technology has not helped this generation, screen-addiction, social media – they are not only facing peer pressure at school, but it is also in the palm of their hands 24/7/365.

Doing your due diligence in researching boarding schools helps you to be sure you are placing your teen in the most appropriate setting. Your teen will be with kids like themselves – and their families are like you, begging for help to get their child back to happiness and a functioning adult.

Also read:

How to Interview Schools for Troubled Teens

5 Benefits to a Therapeutic Boarding School

Help Your Teens With

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Many parents are at their wit’s end with the challenges of raising teenagers. If you are considering residential therapy, contact us for a free consultation.

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