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Final Straw Moments that Call for Troubled Boys’ Boarding Schools

Troubled Teens

Parents struggle to decide whether a boarding school is right for their child. They need to evaluate if their child’s behavior has moved beyond “normal” and if it now requires a structured, full-time, professional approach. They will also need to investigate exactly how a boarding school can help their son. These challenges intimidate many concerned parents.

Definition of a Therapeutic Boarding School

Some boarding schools focus on troubled teens, yet not all are designed to address every behavioral issue.

Therapeutic boarding schools focus on treating emotional, behavioral, substance abuse or learning disabilities. They address the whole child, usually in a rural environment.

These institutions, sometimes called alternative schools or behavior modification facilities, specialize in changing negative behavior. Students live there for the entire school year as they work on improving all areas of their lives. The facilities differ on how much parental contact is allowed during this time.

Parental responsibility is taken on by counselors, teachers and other staff. The campus includes dorms for the students’ living quarters, bedrooms, study areas, a dining facility, a library, a chapel and recreation room. The most effective schools will include a holistic approach that addresses most if not all of the following areas:

  1. nutrition

  2. service

  3. academics

  4. vocational training

  5. therapy

  6. life skills

  7. recreation and

  8. aftercare

Weighing the Negatives and Positives

The benefits make boarding schools a viable option, but the negatives carry weight as well.


  1. Sending a child away can make them feel abandoned.

  2. Judgement from friends and family.

  3. Horror stories because of the unregulated schools and

  4. Excessive expenses


  1. Parental Support – Most schools work together with parents’ input.

  2. Balance – Help balance work and play, build this skill for post-treatment life.

  3. Focus on learning – Remove social distractions and facilitate learning at child’s individual pace.

  4. Therapy – Reach individual solutions based on root causes.

  5. Individual care – Personalized attention on each student instead of using the herd mentality.

Parents must make a specific decision for their son based on his need, not just on negatives and positives. If other interventions might help your son, try those options first.

Reviewing Final Straw Moments before Sending Your Son to a Therapeutic Boarding School

To determine the need for sending a child to a boarding school, consider if the child’s behavior threatens himself or others. Emotional threats matter as much as physical threats. Some indicators that a child is an unsafe threat include:

  1. Diagnosed disorders

  2. Learning disabilities

  3. Substance abuse

  4. Truancy and school failure

  5. Attachment and relationship troubles

  6. Depression

  7. Low self-esteem

  8. Hopelessness

  9. Lack of motivation

  10. Chronic lying and manipulation

  11. Sense of unwarranted entitlement

  12. Out of control emotions, such as rage

  13. Promiscuity or sexual addiction

  14. Other addictions

  15. Eating disorders

  16. Criminal behavior

  17. Suicidal behavior and

  18. Violence

Some of these indicators alone do not indicate the need for a therapeutic boarding a child, but a combination of the above factors might warrant further examination of your options. The more signs, the higher the danger. If a child is showing suicidal, criminal, substance abuse, or violent behaviors, the need becomes more imminent.

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