It can be difficult on all family members to have a teen move to a boarding facility. As a result, many parents choose to take their troubled teen to an alternative school. In these day schools, the troubled teen stays in a highly structured school during the day and then returns home at night. This may be a viable alternative for teens who are just beginning to spiral, but alternative day schools are not appropriate for teens who have serious behavioral problems that are exacerbated by relationships with peers. Often, these teens will make progress during the day but slide back into negative behaviors when they visit with friends in the evenings.
Because of this, many parents find that specialty boarding schools are a better option. There are many types of specialty boarding schools available, including Christian, military, and therapeutic boarding schools.
Regardless of the type, all specialty boarding schools are highly structured facilities designed to help troubled teens who are struggling with serious issues and who need round-the-clock supervision. An average stay of three to six months, or even a year or more, is not uncommon to ensure a lasting change in behavior. Specialty boarding schools typically offer a variety of programs to help troubled teens, including academics, athletics, personal development courses, emotional growth sessions, and daily responsibilities and duties.
Christian boarding schools address the needs of troubled teens using a Christian-based philosophy. There are also boarding schools that are do not identify themselves as Christian but still utilize the underlying values and principles of Judeo-Christian religions such as respect, honesty, hard work to help troubled teens.
While military schools can help teens with mild problems or who need more discipline and structure, they are not designed to provide help with serious problems. In fact, attending military school is often considered a privilege, and students are usually required to have good grades and references before they will be admitted. Even if a troubled teen is admitted, they typically fail to give him or her useful tools for change and emotional growth.
Therapeutic boarding schools and treatment programs are recommended for troubled teens who are considered extreme cases where therapy is needed. These schools can cost more, but because they provided structure with a therapeutic component, including group sessions, individual therapy sessions, or a combination of both, the results are usually better over time.