Question - I'm a parent from Alaska... when should I seek a program for troubled teens?
As your teen is working on their identity they are progressing through a normal stage of adolescene. Naturally, they want to be their friends. Parents should not be alarmed with the amount of time their child wants to spend with their friends, especially if the peer group they are involved with is a solid group of kids. If your child is spending all their free time with friends, but still getting good grades, holding a job, and is respectful - then most likely there is no problem. However, peer groups can change. Good kids can become "bad kids". Meaning, the peer group can shift and change all at once, together. Together, they can start drinking, drugging, and participate in other negative activities (without notice). The entire group can change all at once. If this is the case with your child the answer is to remove him or her from the group of peers. One way to do this effectively is to look for a program for troubled teens. The chances are that your child will not leave this negative peer group on their own accord. The entire group can sink together. Our recommendation to parents is to act early, before the damage involves his or her education.
Your troubled teen may be seeking independence (which is normal), but are they ready to make decisions on their own? If your child was given the choice to go to school or to quit, what decision would he or she make? Would their decision be based on what is best for his or her future? Or, would it be based on "what I feel like doing today"? If your child hates accountability, is allergic to responsibility, and only wants to have fun (chillin with friends) and party, then they can't handle life on life's terms. Meaning, they are not able to make decisions on their own. If your child is rebelling against your authority, and defiant toward other adult authority, then you have a tiger by the tail. If your child is using drugs, hanging out with a bad peer group, staying out all night (or sneaking out), skipping school, etc... then our recommendation is to look into a program for troubled teens.
Why does a teen need a treatment program from Alaska?
Factors like sex, race, family status, and social-economic status can be foundational "causes" that lead teens into trouble. However, there are some professionals that believe that the number one reason teens end up needing a treatment program is due to "emotional immaturity" combined with a culture of "entitlement". Meaning, emotional immaturity is the foundational reason, and all the problems arise out of the poor personal decisions and choices made by an immature teen. Our recommendation to parents is to look at programs for troubled teens as early intervention options - before the entitlement problems cause permanent damage.
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