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My Son’s Troubles Started At School. Now It’s Trouble With The Law. What Can I Do?

Teens are known for pushing boundaries, from cutting class to staying out beyond their curfew. While these behaviors shouldn’t be encouraged, many parents take them in stride as the independence-testing that they are and reign in their teenagers successfully. But it’s not always that easy to get your teen on the right path.

Sometimes, those smaller poor choices can escalate, until one day, your teenage son is brought home by a police officer for shoplifting or joyriding. That first brush with the law isn’t always enough to scare your son straight, and your son continues his troubling behavior.

If that sounds familiar to you, then it may be time to start looking into residential treatment centers for troubled teenage boys and other serious intervention options.

Review What You Have Tried So Far

It can be overwhelming trying to keep up with the disciplinary needs of a teenage boy who is dead-set on disobeying you at every turn. Likely, you have tried talking to your son, grounding him, setting rewards, taking away privileges, and anything else you could think of doing. You’ve likely met with your son’s teachers and school administrators more than he has at this point.

Regular talk therapy doesn’t work if your son refuses to attend or even speak during family therapy sessions. Also, in many cases when a teenager is acting out seriously, there is a division in the family that causes further chaos.

This story is unfortunately familiar, as parents of troubled teens try their best for their teens. But, once law enforcement starts to be involved, it is time to consider last-ditch efforts to save your teenage son from his own destructive choices.

Consider Your Last Options To Save Your Son

Along with the pitfalls of criminal charges, when teens get involved in substance abuse, risky sexual behaviors, and other dangerous, delinquent behaviors, it’s time to consider your remaining options.

In-Patient Rehabilitation

If your son has been abusing substances like alcohol or illegal drugs, he likely will need to go through in-patient detox and rehabilitation. Quitting cold turkey could potentially shock your son’s system to the point where he passes away. So, it is essential to include an in-patient stay.

However, in-patient rehab is considered a short-term solution. The main focus is to transition your son off the illicit substances, but without the proper tools to make better choices, it is likely your teen will relapse. It is critical that there be a next step after in-patient treatment.

Allowing Him To Be Arrested

Some parents are tempted to go the school of hard knocks route, and allow their teenager’s poor choices to catch up with them and land them in a youth detention center. These parents are under the misapprehension that the time in an “easier” jail will help encourage their sons to make better choices in the future. Instead, being arrested and sent to a juvenile detention center is a fast way to make their teens’ recovery incredibly difficult.

According to the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention—a branch of the US Justice Department—teens who have been arrested are 55% more like to be rearrested within a year of their release. Rather than risk your son will be one of the 45% that don’t get rearrested in that timeframe, this option should be struck off the list.

Military School Or Boot Camp

Another option is sending your son to a military school or boot camp for troubled teens. Some parents feel like the military-style discipline is just what their delinquent teenager needs to straighten up their teens’ behavior. But it generally has the opposite effect.

Take boot camps for troubled teens for instance. These camps tend to last for 4-8 weeks, which is part of the appeal for many parents. There can be longer enrollments, but overall, when a teen is sent, it is only for 2 months max usually. During that time, teens follow orders or receive punishment—usually running laps or doing push-ups—and are under the eye of instructors often.

While that can sound appealing, the short time frame means it is unlikely that your son will make any real changes. Also, he will fall behind further in school, as boot camps don’t incorporate academics. Military schools have an academic factor, but there is often no allowances made for students who are struggling with the material.

Also, the better military schools that you would likely want to enroll your son in do not accept troubled students with academic issues. Instead, they are focused on helping young men and women focus on their future careers in the military. So, the type of military schools that would enroll a student that has had run-ins with the law aren’t the ones that can best help your son.

Residential Treatment Center

Therapeutic intervention is one of the cornerstones of residential treatment centers for troubled teens. Because at the center of a struggling teenager is a child who needs help.

Residential treatment centers combine the structure and discipline parents find appealing in military schools with therapy to help teens face their struggles and learn how to cope appropriately. Teens will have weekly individual therapy sessions with their therapist—more sessions when needed—as well as group therapy with their peers.

Along with therapy, teens attending a residential treatment program will also go to classes to help catch up on their studies. Outside of class, teens will engage in structured activities, from team sports to learning culinary skills. The strong emphasis on therapy, self-improvement, and positivity can help far more than a boot camp shouting instructor or hands-off environment of in-patient.

Sundance Canyon Academy Works With Troubled Teenage Boys

As a residential treatment center, Sundance Canyon Academy is proud to work with teenage boys and help them reach their full potential.

If you are considering Sundance for your teenage son and would like to learn more about our program, please contact us by either phone or our contact form.

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