Do you have a good teen making not so good choices? Has it been getting progressively worse — and you are finally at your wit’s end? You believed that a good 30 (or even 60) day wake-up call or possibly a short-term hospital stay would fix this negative behavior, only to find out it was only a band-aid.
How to Help My Teen in 30 Days
Reality is, in most situations, it didn’t take 30-60 days to get to where you are today, it certainly won’t take 30 to even 90 days to change this behavior. The short answer in how to help your teen in 30 days, is there are no short-cuts for behavior modification. It takes time and work to help your teen and the entire family to heal and recovery from what has become an unhealthy environment.
Has your teen become out-of-control? Destructive in the home (especially if you try to remove their phone)? Have you exhausted your local resources and now they are refusing to attend therapy? You have placed them into a short-term hospital stay, maybe for a week to 30 days, yet they come home and quickly revert to the same negative behavior?
Why Long-term Teen Help Works
First, don’t panic, long-term can be 6-9-12 months depending on your teen’s emotional needs. This is a snapshot of their life that will give them a second opportunity at a bright future — and in some cases, can save their life.
When a teen is removed from the stressors and triggers of home – not to mention their peer influences and devices (social media) – with a slowed down manageable pace – and placed into an environment with staff, activities (enrichment programs) and therapy designed to encourage change – (build self-worth) – the opportunity for the kind of true and deep change required to turn your teen’s life around can finally start to happen.
A consistent and positive environment replaces the toxic environment they are leaving. They will not have access to drugs or alcohol – or their social media or devices. The peer influences are now cut-off. If they’ve been struggling academically, often this new and unique environment is where they will begin to thrive again.
If there was family discord, the destructive cycles with siblings and/or parents are now stopped and communication is deliberately slowed down to include mediated conversations, letter exchanges, and intermittent visits.
This completely changes the dynamic and stops parents and teens from engaging in the same ineffective communication patterns used before. It is as if a pause button is pushed, and teens eventually are able to move away from their rigid perspectives and look at their relationships from a new and clear vantage point.
They begin to gain perspective on life events that may have created trauma, or on their contribution to the “mess” their lives have become. They learn about their own unique emotional and cognitive make up and their problems or limitations as a starting point for the journey forward.
5 Goals of Therapeutic Boarding Schools
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.