How to Help My Problem Teen

Making the decision to choose a therapeutic boarding school for your problem teen is a major emotional and financial decision.

One big question parents want to know is, what is the goal of residential treatment and why is it any different than getting help at home?

When you place your teenager into a therapeutic boarding school or residential treatment center, these environments provide intense help for students with emotional and behavioral problems. When they are struggling with emotional issues, it also impacts their schooling.

In most cases, the family has already exhausted their local resources — their teen has not responded to outpatient treatment, the school setting is not working, a short-term hospital stay was unsuccessful, and it is now time to consider residential treatment.

Are you experiencing?


-Is your teen doing drugs?
-Are they depressed, withdrawn?
Addicted to their cell-phone, video gaming?
-Are they self-harming, suicide ideation?
-Smart, but failing in school?
-Skipping classes, school refusal?
-Suspended or facing expulsion?
-Changed friends, negative peer group?
Loss of interest in activities or hobbies?
-Explosive, destructive?
Stealing, legal issues?
-Angry, rage, violent?
-Struggling with ADHD, RAD, Bipolar?

If you’re experiencing several of these characteristics and your teen is refusing to get help, it’s likely you’re home has become extremely hostile.

Once you locate a quality residential treatment program, your teenager will temporarily live outside of their home and in a facility (therapeutic boarding school) where they can be supervised and monitored by trained staff.

5 Goals of Residential Treatment or Therapeutic Boarding Schools for Teenagers

1. Evaluation.  Your teen (once removed from their home environment and peer influences) will likely have a comprehensive evaluation to assess emotional, behavioral, medical, and social needs, and support these needs accordingly and safely.

2. Treatment plan. Determining the right residential treatment program for your teen includes finding one that can meet his/her individual needs. Residential programs will design an individualized treatment plan that puts into place interventions that help your teen attain their goals.

3. Therapy. When your child was at home, it is likely he/she either refused to attend counseling, maybe manipulated the therapist, or possibly simply didn’t engage with them. While in residential treatment, your child will be attending both individual and group therapy to help them through their healing process.

Now that your teen is in a therapeutic setting, it is more difficult for them to keep up their walls. These therapists are trained to work with youth that are difficult to breakthrough.

4. Family involvement “peacefully”. Well-rounded residential programs encourage and provide opportunities for family therapy and contact through on-site visits, home passes (when the time comes), telephone calls and other modes of communication. Trained staff is always available to help navigate issues of concern for both the parents and when/if the teenager gets upset from meetings or letters.

Most residential treatment programs and therapeutic boarding schools also offer parenting and family workshops. These can be extremely beneficial in making the transition back home.

5. Builds self-worth. Residential treatment programs not only offer clinical teams to help your teen emotionally, most provide additional behavioral therapy through enrichment programs. These are designed to help your teen develop coping skills as well as building self-esteem to make better choices in life.

Examples of enrichment programs that residential treatment programs and therapeutic boarding schools offer:


Art Therapy
Animal Assisted Therapy
-Sports Therapy
Horticultural (Gardening) Therapy
Music Therapy

Also read:

5 Benefits of Boarding Schools for Troubled Teens.

 Are Therapeutic Boarding Schools Effective?

Where to Send My Troubled Teen.


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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