Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Underachievers: Help for At-Risk Teens

As second semester continues, more and more parents are struggling with their teens to get them to attend school.  It never ceases to amaze parents that so many teenagers in high school "assume" they can just drop out and get a GED.  Generations prior, this was frowned upon and the only teens that did there were juvenile delinquents.  This has changed.

Do you find yourself forcing your teen to go to school?  Are they failing when they have the potential to succeed?  Has your honor roll student barely getting C's?  Classic signs of underachieving can have an underlying issue to something bigger.

Has their peer group changed?  Are they experimenting with drugs?  Is it "only" a joint now and then? (Seriously some parents think this way).  What they aren't realizing is the pot they smoked 20-30 years ago is not the pot these kids are getting today.

You have come to the realization that you need outside help.  Local therapy has been exhausted, if it did anything, you haven't noticed.  Out-patient programs usually have kids far worse than what your teen is - which means they can learn better tricks and worse behavior.

It is time to do your homework as a parent and find the best match for your teenager - which includes an education.

Many know I am not an advocate of Wilderness programs - and I still am not.  One of the reasons is there is usually zero academics - it is about breaking your child down, which usually they are broken before they get there.  Many teens just fake it to make it for 6-9 weeks - and parents are charges exuberant fees.

Then there are the Educational Consultants (EC) - which parents have an extra $3000-5000, some will hire.  Before you hire them, learn about what many call the EC shuffle.   There are very few, if any, that won't have you start with Wilderness.  In my opinion it is a band-aid parents "like to hear" since most all don't believe their teen's are "that bad" and the years of negative behavior will be washed away in 6-8 weeks.
Wake up - if you talk to the majority of parents that sent their teens to Wilderness first, most will tell you by the fourth week of Wilderness the counselors and staff are already telling you to prepare for the next step.... Residential Treatment Centers or Therapeutic Boarding Schools. Another major costly expense.

My question is - why not start and finish at the same place?  Consistency is one thing these troubled teens need.  Visit for more valuable parent tips.

Michael and Abby P. of Weston recently had to take that major leap with their 17 year-old daughter that was simply escalating out of control.  Knowing that this was their last year to get her help, Abby said, "This was literally the hardest decision we had to make, but we know we have to save her life and hopefully give her an opportunity for a bright future."

Be an educated parent, you will have safer teens!

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