parents of troubled teenThere is no worse feeling than watching your child spin out of control and feeling like you can do nothing to stop the rapid descent into a full-fledged crash. Usually parents are caught somewhere between the realization of the problem, and the impending crash. And they are desperately trying to determine what to do as they watch their child daily hit new lows.

If you are currently experiencing that feeling of helplessness, hopelessness, and fear, it is time to get help for yourself. Talk to someone like a friend, pastor, youth minister, counselor, or an accountability group. Right now you need to gain wisdom and objectivity regarding your situation. Ask for help. And stop at nothing until you find the right answer.

Best Christian Therapeutic Boarding Schools and Programs

Christian Therapeutic Boarding Schools - Boys

(click on any link below for more info)

Promise Village

Agape Boarding School

Shepherds Hill Academy (coed wilderness pgm)

Arivaca Boys Ranch

Teen Challenge Ranch

Arivaca Boys Ranch

Safe Harbor Academy

Vero Beach Boys Ranch

Gateway Military Academy

Prayer Mountain Academy

Christian Therapeutic Boarding Schools - Girls

(click on any link below for more info)

Columbus School for Girls

Lakeland Grace Academy

Shepherds Hill Academy (coed)

Wings of Faith Academy

Boise Girls Academy

There are stages you'll go through:

I. REALIZATION: The first stage is accepting what is actually happening within your family. The second stage is one of justification to intervene. And the third stage (if needed) involves actual intervention to pull your child out of the "dive" they are experiencing, before they hit bottom.

Accepting the reality of the problem is difficult for some parents. Many just can't acknowledge or recognize the severity of the problem. Parents who "only see the good", "hope for the best", and "believe no wrong" are usually blind to what everyone around them can already see.

Admittedly, it's sometimes difficult to see the downward spiral since it has built up over time;just as it's difficult to see how much your child has grown physically over a period of months. Kids you haven't seen in months seem to appear so much taller than the last time you saw them. Adults that you haven't seen in a while appear so much older. But those that live with them don't see it. It's the same thing when a child spins out of control. It's can be a gradual and unnoticeable turn that isn't accepted until a crisis or tragedy, but for other kids it can seem, to happen almost overnight. Friends, neighbors, and those around you see it, and perhaps don't know how to convince you of something you don't see.

So when you come to your "realization", don't hesitate to go to those around you for counsel. They know what's going on.

Don't be afraid to ask questions of yourself and your child.

Most of the time, parents find out way too late about a child's behavior to be able to deal effectively with their inappropriate actions or to establish some type of consequence to remedy any future similar action. Communication is key at this time. If the lines of communication are down, then re-establish them, forcing that communication if need be. It may be that you have to require time from your child to discuss how they're doing before you pay their next car insurance bill, or before you give them gas money, or before you hand over the keys to the car. Be determined to establish the lines of communications and make sure you ask questions.

Troubled Teenager Warning Signs

1. Your teen refuses to abide by anything you say or request, and his or her resulting behaviors put your teen or your family in danger or high risk leading to constant fear or stress in the home.
2. Your teen is displaying behavior that is a marked change from what has been normal (sleeping little or too long, forgetfulness, lack of motivation, aggression, depression, anxiety, grades slipping, hating what they once loved or loving what they once hated, always wanting to be with friends or away from home, or avoiding friends altogether and spending too much time alone).
3. Your teen has become increasingly disrespectful, dishonest, disobedient and openly displays rebellion, no longer veiling his or her feelings or caring about the consequences.
4. There is a blatant ignorance or profound rebellion toward the boundaries, Belief System or rules of the home. This can be shown in passive aggressiveness or open defiance that is unusually excessive for your teen.
5. There are outright or veiled threats of suicide, or self-mutilation/cutting, excessive risk-taking, dangerous drug use or blatant sexual promiscuity--seemingly a loss of a conscience or moral compass.
6. Treatment by your teen of people, pets, or belongings is threatening or out of control.
7. Your teen thinks he or she is the center of your family and shows blatant disregard for the feelings of other family members, their time or their possessions.
8. Months of counseling is providing little or no positive progress for your teen.
9. Your teen refuses to do anything with the family and displays a growing hatred for the family.

You cannot keep your teen away from peers who are obviously leading a lifestyle counter to your beliefs and your teen is buying into their destructive behavior and attitudes.

SCORE: ________

If your teen exhibits 5 or more of these signs, you may want to contact one of the program we list.

II. JUSTIFICATION OF INTERVENTION: If your friends, family, neighbors, and counselor all agree it may be time for you to intervene in some way, then don't wait.

An out of control teen is one who doesn't appear to have the internal ability to function externally within and under the established boundaries and rules of a home. And the resulting behaviors, if allowed to continue, could have some dangerous or grave consequences with any attempt by family to stop the behaviors being fruitless.

Regardless of the reason behind the behavior, when intervention is necessary, a course of action will need to be taken to protect the child and deal with the issues that lead to the innapropriate or risky behavior.

troubled teenAt some point, when all has failed, you are the one that will need to make some decisions about the next step. It's at that point that it really doesn't matter what your child thinks as it's evident that he/she is not thinking well. And no one would accept their bungled assessment of the situation or their messed up judgment anyway.

When that time comes, remember, it is not about you. This is not the time to spend mulling over where everything has gone wrong. It's not a time to shift the blame, make accusation, question motives, or withdraw and disengage from your child. It's a time for action, that if not taken will mean your child could damage his life and possibly make choices that can have grave consequences. It's not a time to spend determining if you are a failure as a parent, but it is a time to make sure that you don't fail in your attempt to help your child at a time when he or she needs you most.

Does your child need professional help?

Has your child's behavior deteriorated in the last six months? What makes you think that it won't continue to get worse over the next six months? Did you expect that you would be "here?" What makes you think you won't be "there" in six months? If your child has acted increasingly inappropriately in the last six months, what makes you think that more inappropriate behaviors won't come to the surface in the next six months? If this is your situation, it's time to have someone turn your lights on. It's time.

By the way, hospitalization is needed whenever you feel like your child is in imminent danger to himself or herself, or you feel an overwhelming sense of impending doom and need to have your child protected. Extreme cutting, bizarre behavior, extreme depression, suicidal thoughts, or excessive drug or alcohol use are just a few of the symptoms that might warrant hospitalization. Don't hesitate to hospitalize your child just because you don't know what it is. It's better to be safe than sorry.

troubled teen helpIf all your efforts are fruitless and you begin to see that your child is not responding, then it may be time to consider placing your teen in an alternative therapeutic program for a time. No doubt, this will be one of the hardest decisions you'll ever have to make. Having a child leave home for a time (especially in the middle of high school) is not an easy decision, nor is it a small task, but it could be a life-saver (and save your marriage and family). Once the decision is made, the search for the right help can begin.

Your teen needs you to intervene. The downward spiral can have tremendous destructive potential with lifelong consequences, or even bring a young life to a quick end. When teens spin out of control, they need a responsible adult to respond, not react, even if they do everything they can to keep you out of it. Don't wait and don't ignore the evidence that your teen is spinning out of control. Act today based on what you know is true - your faith, your own beliefs, and what you know is best for your teen.

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