Boarding Schools for Teens With Behavioral Issues

Extremely troubled teens often end up in juvenile court systems because of delinquent behaviors like stealing, damaging property, participating in gang activity, deliberately disobeying traffic laws, or running away from home.

However, many troubled teens do not break the law, but become destructive to themselves or others. Their behavior does not escalate to a point that would involve the police or courts, but it is disruptive enough to cause problems in school and at home. For example, they may be disruptive at school or skip classes. They may be perpetually angry and make home life chaotic and miserable for parents and siblings. They may be self-injurious, such as cutting themselves. They may be acting out sexually and thus putting themselves at risk for diseases and emotional trauma. These are the kids who can most be helped by a therapeutic boarding school environment. They might be rebellious and experiment with alcohol and marijuana.

By the time most parents consider a therapeutic boarding school, usually they have tried all their local resources. They are exhausted from the constant worry and stress. Their child may have had brushes with the police. If he stays on the path he's currently following, the consequences will grow even more serious for his future.

Often an undiagnosed psychological problem such as Attention Deficit Disorder or bipolar disorder is at the root of such behaviors. Undiagnosed learning disabilities can cause a downward spiral, because when a teen fails academically, he suffers low self-esteem and seeks acceptance in the wrong crowd. Professionals at a therapeutic boarding school should do a careful screening and uncover undiagnosed problems.

PROS
Sending an out-of-control teen to boarding school provides parents with a much-needed respite and a chance to learn better ways of dealing with their teen's problems.

Professional therapists living and working with the teen on a 24-hour basis can get at the root of what is causing the behaviors and help the teen turn his life around.

Boarding schools usually offer superior academics and small class sizes. Many offer chances to pursue new interests and opportunities not offered at public schools, such as filmmaking, rugby, psychology classes, study abroad, etc.

Many of these schools offer accelerated academics to help teens catch up on lost credits so they can graduate on time.

CONS
Boot camps and strict military schools can actually make these problems worse. Although it looks as if everything is under control as teens march and salute in formation, many are exploding internally and act worse after they leave these schools.

The school should have an aftercare program so that the positive changes and emotional growth become permanent.

Boarding schools are expensive, although many offer loans or financial aid.

Research Therapeutic Boarding Schools

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