Parents of teenagers whose lives are out of control often feel exasperated about their options. Outpatient treatment such as psychological counseling may not be working, but parents are often uncomfortable with sending their teen to a far-away residential treatment facility. In some cases, however, the stable environment that residential treatment offers is the only thing that provides a teen with the chance to turn his or her life around.
If you're the parent of a troubled teen and are questioning whether or not residential treatment is the right choice, read on to find four signs that it may be the best choice for your child.
1. Your Teen's Behavior Is Becoming Dangerous
If your teen engages in criminal behavior, drug use or risky sexual behavior, you may want to consider sending them to a residential treatment facility. All of these behaviors can lead to life-long consequences, such as imprisonment or disease. A residential treatment facility provides a safe environment where your troubled youth will have absolutely no opportunity to engage in these behaviors any longer.
This also applies if your teen engages in self-harm attempts or violence towards others. In many cases, it's better for teenagers to be placed in residential treatment before these attempts escalate to causing permanent injury or death.
2. Your Teen's Academic Performance Is Sharply Declining
Poor performance in school is another action that can lead to long-term consequences. Some children may excel in school until their adolescent years. After, stress or psychiatric illness can cause their academic performance to precipitously drop. Poor grades will significantly hamper your teen's ability to further their education.
The majority of long-term residential treatment facilities offer academic support in addition to psychological counseling. This allows your teen to repair his or her academic career and rejoin the normal school system once troubled youth treatment has concluded. If your teen is struggling at school or skips school entirely, residential treatment gives them the chance to get back on track.
3. Your Teen's Friends Contribute to Antisocial Behavior
Although residential treatment facilities for troubled youth typically require your teen to move across state lines, this has its own benefits. It places your teen within an entirely different peer group than the one they are in currently. Peer groups tend to reinforce behavior among themselves, and this includes negative behavior as well. If your teen's friends are a negative influence, residential treatment offers a way for your teen to break free of them.
4. Your Teen's Existing Troubled Youth Treatment Approaches Have Failed
Your teen may have already undergone outpatient troubled youth treatments such as psychological counseling and visiting with a social worker. If these approaches have failed, it may have been because they weren't intensive enough — stress and triggers of life at home and school still remain during outpatient treatment. Residential treatment provides an entirely regimented environment in a brand new location, which allows them to concentrate fully on recovering and learning how to succeed.
Overall, the purpose of a residential treatment facility is to provide a safe environment in which your troubled teen can learn to overcome antisocial behavior. It's the most intensive form of troubled youth treatment available, which can sometimes be needed to help your child return to a normal life.