Someone has said that the only thing to fear is fear itself. Parents and kids when faced with a stay in a residential youth treatment center may be afraid. What’s it like? What will happen to me? What will happen to my child? Well, relax because this article will allay any fears you may have. Knowing what happens when in residence can make all the difference.
Your child is not suddenly plucked from their home and deposited at the center. A lot of work goes on beforehand so the staff members know the background of the new arrivals before the kids arrive. And parents are sent information which explains the programs on offer, the eating and sleeping details and most things which happen. Everyone is kept fully informed. Almost always the parents and staff will meet separately at the facility and talk things through and parents are welcome to tour the centre beforehand.
Of course some kids will be nervous when they first arrive. Will I fit in? Will I be able to overcome my problem? Will I make new friends?
These treatment centers are often so successful because the staff is experienced. They are trained to handle all eventualities and know how kids react. There are basically three areas for each teenager – their academic studies, their behavior and their attitude. Kids are constantly monitored and their progress noted in these three fields. If necessary, extra therapy or other sessions are given if the resident is falling behind or displaying an unsatisfactory attitude.
It doesn’t take long for the residents to learn that the center has a number of rules. They are designed to help the teens. If a teen works hard and follows instructions, they pretty soon find the rules for them are relaxed. In fact there are privileges to be gained for those who do well. Rewards have to be earned but the rewards certainly exist. Trust is an important part of the program and when teens do well, they win the trust of the staff members and benefit accordingly. Having achieved this success has the added benefit of seeing the self-esteem of the teen rise as well.
The basic aim of the program is to help the teen and so it is rare to announce beforehand when the teen’s stay will end. It may be that some kids will simply switch off if they know they are going home at the end of the week or the month. It’s in everyone’s interest to have the residents work hard for a sustained period of time. They need to learn the skills to [a] overcome their problem and [b] to help make them independent and responsible when they leave the center.
So both the parents and the troubled teens should put their mind at ease. The treatment center exists to help. It is frequently friendly and positive although it is only a step in the development of a healthy and happy young person. These centers often work wonders and if your teen needs assistance, this type of treatment could be ideal.