Most common questions that parents ask us:
- Where is the school or program located? Many parents usually ask us this question first. Although we have programs we can recommend across the country, we always suggest that you do not make the location an essential part of your search. This will limit you to the closest options rather than the best options. Also, most schools prefer that the child be farther from their home and peers there, so they won’t try to run away.
- Will your assistance cause my tuition to be higher or added fees? No. We do not allow programs to increase their tuition or change it whatsoever due to our involvement in helping parents find the right fit. What they charge you is not affected, one way or the other. We report the actual tuition rates and other information about the school or program to the best of our knowledge.
- How long will my child need to be at the school/program? Most therapeutic programs ask for approximately 12 months with your child. This is the amount of time it takes to implement positive, long-lasting changes in the child’s life. The short-term programs only help a child for a short period, while the long-term programs implement lifelong change due to making the changes are learned habits.
- How can I get my child into the program if he does not agree to go? Best Choice will help you get your child into the program safely. Once the school has been selected, and the child has been approved, we will give you some tips on how to speak with your child about the program. Since every situation is different, we suggest you wait to say anything to the child until after the decision is made. Based on your situation, we will coach you on how to get him into the program.
- Why do therapeutic programs take so long to make a change in a child? Most therapeutic programs ask for approximately 12 months with your child. This is the amount of time it takes to implement positive, long-lasting changes in the child’s life. If you are focusing on short-term programs to reduce the overall cost, most only have a 3-4% success rate. Most must be followed up with a long-term program, making the process longer and in two steps rather than one. We only suggest long-term care since it is much more effective. The length of time required depends on the child’s issues, progress, and the parent’s steadfastness in keeping the child in the program. There are three stages to this process for the child, and each can take 3-6 months. Successful families tell the child, “No matter what, you will be in the program until the counselors there deem you ready to return home.” Parents who waver and bring the child home early usually short-circuit the process. Here are the 3 stages most students go through:
DENIAL: The first stage is “Denial.” Most troubled adolescents fail to acknowledge they have any issues, even if they get into a lot of trouble at home. While in this “foot-dragging” stage, the child holds on to a lot of anger, and no behavioral progress is made as the child sees no need to change.
MANIPULATION: The second stage is “Manipulation.” Once the child realizes that the program and parents are working together and their issues are being exposed, they will usually find ways to appear outwardly to be changing, but with no intention of making any fundamental changes in their life. This is the most challenging stage as it appears to the parent and the program that real progress is being made. Unfortunately, some parents will even take their child home prematurely without realizing these changes are only manipulative and fake. To shortcut through the program and go home early, the child will participate in the program, follow the rules, and go through all the motions. Once a parent is firm with the process and communicates to the child that even though they appear to be doing better, they must complete the entire program, they will realize that superficial change and manipulation have not helped so they will fall back into a period of anger. But soon, they will realize that the only way to be successful is to make genuine changes. Once this happens, the child will move to the third stage, “Implementation.”
IMPLEMENTATION: In this final stage, they will acknowledge what changes they need to make and begin making these changes. The program team will then work to strengthen and test these changes to keep the child from digressing once again. It is essential to stay the course through the program, or once the child is put back in their home environment with all these situations and influences surrounding them again, they need to be strong enough to resist, or they will quickly slide back into old bad habits. This is why a therapeutic school is a lengthy process and why there are no shortcuts to success.
- Why is it important to get my troubled teen far away from his/her peers? Most parents are not excited about selecting a program further from home; however, it can benefit a child’s treatment. When a child is further from home, he/she has a sense of a clean, fresh start. He/she is now in a completely new environment; Second, he/she is much less likely to run away from the program. Third, the program won’t have to be concerned about former negative peer groups coming and causing issues near the program or trying to help the child “escape.” Having the child further from home helps him/her take the program more seriously too, and they won’t have the perception that the parents are around the corner and going to come to rescue them as soon as they complain about something., Lastly, and most importantly, looking further from home allows you to look at all your options and select the best option for your child’s needs.
- Why do some teens fail to engage in therapeutic programs? We find that the most significant reason for the lack of success for a troubled teen making a life change is parents not being steadfast with the child. Those who fail to make it clear to the child that they will have to be in the program for “as long as it takes” will usually find it a waste of money. Any wavering by either parent will often short-circuit the whole process. Kids who think they are going home without working on their attitudes and behaviors will not want to change and will drag their feet until the day they are taken home. But once the child understands that the parents are serious about sticking with it, the child will begin to get with the program and with the counseling and mentoring that the program provides