Alternative Treatment Options for Struggling Youth

If you are a parent of a troubled teen there are more options available now than ever before. With so many programs out there, there is hardly a reason not to seek out help. Not all parents are aware of the programs available for teens who are failing in school and are unable to learn in a regular classroom. These may be reasons due to behavioral problems, emotional problems, learning disabilities, attention deficits, or addictions. There are alternatives to help your child earn a diploma even if he/she is unable to function in a regular high school.

Behavior modification schools may be just the thing a troubled teen needs. Their main goals are to improve the student’s grades and help cure unwanted behavior. While some programs are not much different than traditional boarding schools, others are more structured, employing creative activities to promote positive behavior. This also includes personal responsibility and meeting goals of personal merit. Still others focus on learning disabilities like Dyslexia, ADD, or ADHD.

Still unknown by many parents are the alternative high schools. They are a smaller version of a regular high school with smaller class sizes and fewer students per teacher. At-risk youths are admitted to these schools because of poor grades, bad attendance, they’re former dropouts or are likely to drop out, habitual truancy, or teenage parenthood. Behavioral or emotional problem students are not admitted in these schools since they do not offer therapy or drug treatment. As time goes on these schools are becoming more wide-spread and springing up all around the country.

Boarding schools have become popular in the last 20 years. Most offer therapeutic services and integrate school, church, household, and social activities on campus where each student lives for the duration of their program. Some are Christian schools that correct an adolescent’s behavior through prayer and the teaching of the scripture. Students are not only taught high school equivalent classes, but are also taught to become more responsible, raise their self esteem, develop better social skills, and to find happiness through prayer.

Specialty boarding schools are much like a subcategory of behavior modification schools. They not only offer excellent academics but character building courses and emotional growth. These schools offer a structured and positive environment as well as seminars and parent/child workshops to aid families in the healing process.

Wilderness programs are an alternative for teens to learn to live outdoors. By “roughing it” teens are taken away from the comfort of their home life and learn to appreciate things like running water, comfortable beds, and indoor heat. Since teens are exposed to adverse outdoor conditions, they may improve their attitudes when returning to a sheltered environment. These programs force an adolescent to think in ways he/she has never thought before.

Boot camps are military style environments where teens are taught discipline through daily exercise and intense drill instructions. The guards enforce strict rules and will treat any teen harshly who breaks one. For some teens boot camps have produced favorable results for others have done psychological damage and shaken up a teen’s perception of reality.