help, resources, & guidance for troubled teens

A Parent's Guide to Help & Resources
Having a Troubled Teen can be one of the hardest experiences in your life. As a parent you need all the help you can get. The more information and resources you have the better decisions you can make. When your child's needs are met they can flourish and mature into responsible adults. During their teenage years, adolescents are under an immense amount of pressure and stress. To deal with this stress some youth resort to destructive behavior. This behavior, if untreated, can have devastating long term effects on their lives. Not to mention the lives of their families.

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As a parent it is our responsibility to help our child. Luckily there are a lot of options to help you decide. There are short term and long term solutions available. Many insurance companies will help you pay for the treatments your child needs to recover fully.

What ever you choose make sure the school or program fits with your child's personality and developmental needs. Being proactive and addressing issues early are the best ways to prevent permanent damage to your child's mental or physical health.

If your teen is exhibiting any of these behaviors it might be time to start looking for help:
* Constantly arguing and yelling
* Lying to parents, teachers, and good friends
* Spending more time with new friends
* Running Away
* Strange mood swings and irritability
* Violence to others and self
* Experimenting with drugs
* Grades dropping at school
* Unable to pay attention (ADHD)
* Distancing themselves from the family and good friends
* Loss of interest in previous hobbies
* Sexual promiscuity

There are a wide range of solutions for troubled youth. Some options are better than others depending on the behavior and severity. For behavior that has irreversible consequences action needs to be taken quickly.

Short term solutions - Short term solutions are anywhere from three weeks to three months. Many times these are intense programs meant to help a student clear their minds and rethinking priorities. Most camps are considered short term solutions. Camps include boot camps, wilderness camps, therapeutic camps, and bible camp. In rare cases these camps do last longer than 90 days. Many times these camps are required before a student is enrolled in long term care.

Long Term Help - Many times long term help is needed for the safety and well being of a student. Private schools, residential treatment centers, boarding schools, and military schools provide long term guidance and therapy. Each school has their individual strengths. Matching your child's needs with the right school is a critical part of lasting change. An educational consultant can help you select the right place for your child. Remember that even among similar type schools there can be a wide range of differences. Some schools focus on special interests, like sports, while other schools focus on the college bound by helping with SAT prep and advanced credits. Because schools and students needs are so different it is imperative to perform meaningful research. Care should especially be taken for suicidal or violent teens.

Organizations & Groups - In some cases a student might find all the help they need in their city or neighborhood. Groups like AA (Alcoholics Anonymous) and NA (Narcotics Anonymous) have local chapters that have regular meetings. These groups try to reach out to both youth and adults. Many people find a lot of success in these programs. Church groups also provide meaningful relationships and new friendships.

Additional Resources: The Dangers of Treating Teens Like Children
First Steps When Selecting Youth Programs

Phone Numbers & Help Lines

Payment Options & Ideas