When Should I Send My Teen Away?

Parenting difficult teenagers today has become harder than ever before thanks to technology. “When should I send my teen away to a school for troubled teens?”

In many situations, your teenager is a good teen making some really poor choices, but at this point it has escalated to more than typical teenage behavior — you are at your wit’s end.

Are you experiencing:


-Social media or video gaming addiction?
-Cell-phone addiction?
-Depression, anxiety, withdrawn?
-Defiant, rage, destructive?
-School avoidance, skipping classes, school refusal?
-Smart teen however now failing classes?
-Dropping out of their once favorite activities?
-Changing friends or becoming isolated, staying in their room?
-Vaping, using drugs and/or drinking (self-medicating)?
-Sneaking out, running away?
-Stealing from you or others?
-Disrespectful, rude, moody?
-Entitled, bratty, spoiled?
-Self-harm, suicidal thoughts?

Much of the above listed on their own or for a short period of time can be typical teenage behavior but when a few or more of these behaviors escalate and a parent losses control over their teenager — it’s time to seek professional help.

Prior determining if you need to send your teen to a therapeutic boarding school, it’s always best to first exhaust your local resources.

5 Local Options – Help For Your Troubled Teen

1. Local therapy. With teenagers this isn’t always easy, since some will refuse to attend or will stop engaging with their therapist. What can be more frustrating is when they start manipulating the counselor. Since the pandemic, many parents have tried online therapy. Sometimes you need to switch therapists to find one that can relate to your teen; however, you may get to a point when you realize it’s simply not working. 


2. Outpatient therapy. This can be beneficial to some teens since it offers more clinical hours weekly. It also gives them group therapy which can be helpful. The one negative is they are still in their home environment and surrounded by their friends (if they are negative influences) as well as with their devices. Like with attending traditional talk therapy, your teen must be willing to attend, which can be another hurdle.

3. Short-term hospital stay. In some situations, a short-term adolescent psychiatric hospital can give you an evaluation that helps you with a diagnosis for your teen’s behavior and medication to address it. Will they continue the medication at home, and will they continue with therapy? Many parents (sadly) have placed their teenagers in the hospital for a short time, it rarely has any long-lasting impact on their behavior.

4. Teen Life coach/mentor. Coaching and mentoring are relatively a new trend being used by families to encourage your teen to make better choices. This would be a person that can help your teen navigate peer pressure, social media, friendships, and other issues (including family) that sometimes they have a hard time expressing with a traditional therapist. Some teenagers do not care for the stigma of a therapist, however, may welcome a teen life coach. It is something to consider before making the leap into a boarding school.

5.  Live with a relative. As a last resort, some parents allow their struggling teen to move-in with a relative to see if this improves their behavior. In some cases, the change of environment can help, the teen may have a different level of respect for this relative, but what some will find is it’s only a short-term resolution. At least it is another avenue before making the big decision of residential treatment.

If you’ve tried a few of these unsuccessfully and the school setting is failing, it is likely time to consider places to send troubled teens.

Time for Behavioral Boarding Schools

FIRST — It sounds scary, “schools for troubled teens,” because reality is, your teen isn’t really troubled as much as they need behavioral modification or emotional growth. The last thing you want is to place your teen out-of-their-element.  Another words, replace one set of negative behavior traits for another.

A simple online search for “schools for troubled teens” yields over 5 million results!  How do you know where to send your teen that would fit his/her unique needs?

There are many quality and safe therapeutic boarding schools in our county that help troubled teens. Coming to this decision isn’t easy, but it’s one that is in the best interest of your teenager.

Since 2001 we’ve helped parents find effective schools for troubled teens which includes:

Quality care (safe and positive environment), credentialed staff
Education, accredited academics
Enrichment programs, extra-curriculum designed to encourage change (animal, art, music or gardening therapy)
Parent involvement, workshops and family therapy

When a teen is removed from their devices and social media, negative peer group, triggers of home and academic stress and enrolled into a therapeutic setting, they can stop the downward spiral they have been experiencing and begin an upward positive course in a therapeutic boarding school.

Also read:

5 Benefits of Therapeutic Boarding Schools.

3 Reasons for Boarding Schools.

Cause of Teenage Mental Health Issues.


Since 2001 we’ve been helping parents find the right therapeutic boarding schools for their troubled teens. Contact us for a free consultation.

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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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