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Troubled Teens: Making the Difficult Decisions of Residential Treatment Centers

TroubledTeen5When it comes to sending your child to residential therapy it is probably one of the hardest decisions a parent can make.  It just doesn’t seem normal to send your teenager to a behavioral modification program.  Let’s face it – we all know that sending them to college is part of the circle of life, but no one prepares us for the potholes that some families face – residential treatment centers.

As the holidays approach a teenager’s behavior can sometimes escalate and this can leave a parent with a decision that they don’t want to make.  How can they send their child into a teen help program during this time of the year?

As a Parent Advocate and Parent Consultant, I share with parents that you have many years ahead of you to have many wonderful holidays together – however in some cases, it can mean saving your child’s life by removing them from not-so-safe situations – especially if they are involved in drug use or hanging out with unsavory groups of what they consider friends.  With the extra time off from school -it sometimes can add up to more time for trouble.

Are you struggling with your teenager?  Confused about what school or program is best for their needs?  I founded Parent’s Universal Resource Experts, Inc over a decade ago for parents that are at their wit’s end – after I was duped and my daughter abused at a program that mislead us.  Our experiences are only to help educate parents – there are more good programs than there are not so good one.  It is up to you to do your due diligence.

Remember, family is a priority – your child’s welfare comes first.  There will always be more holidays – let’s be sure your child’s safety and security are first and foremost.

Join me on Facebook  and follow me on Twitter for more information and educational articles on parenting today’s teenagers.

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Helping Struggling Teens

After 12 years, my organization has been recognized for helping literally thousands of parents and families with their tweens, teens and young adults.

Recently I was interviewed by Career Thoughts.

Parents’ Universal Resource Experts, Inc was created after I was duped online by trying to get my own daughter help.  I was a parent at my wit’s end.  I was vulnerable – I was scammed – and my daughter suffered the consequences.

Many people have asked about her, and she is now a grown woman, successful in her career and has two children of her own.  We have overcome the hurdles – not because of the horrific program she went to, but in spite of it – and because of the fantastic help we found after it to help de-programize her from the damage they did to her.

I always share with parents to learn from my mistake and gain from my knowledge.  That is the biggest gift I can give.

Read the article -click here.

Residential Therapy: Are you ready to made the leap?

You have finally reached your wit’s end.  It has come to a point where you have exhausted all your local resources.  The one on one therapy is no longer working, if it ever did.  The fact is, it is a fight to even get your teen to attend a session.  If you do get them to attend – how many times to they actually manipulate the therapist to actually believe there isn’t an issue at all…… in some instances the blame can come right back to the parent!

Yes, manipulation of a teen is priceless.  They are the best at what they do.  However now is the time for the parent to be the best at what they are – a parent.

You decided it is time for residential therapy and you jump on the Internet and you start with Google by typing in key words.  Teen help, struggling teens, defiant teens, teen help programs, military schools, reform schools, troubled teens, rebellious teens, etc.

What you will find is a list of marketing arms that are very quick to “sell you a group of programs” rather than discuss what is best for your individual teenager.  I always caution parents to beware of these toll free numbers and marketing arms that you have no clue where you are calling and who is connected to what.

I once was at my wit’s end – my story is what prompted me to created an organization to help educate parents about the big business of “teen help”.  Take a few minutes to read – “A Parent’s True Story” and you will realize that although you absolutely need to get your son or daughter help, you also need to take the time to do your research.

I have listed some “Do’s and Don’ts” when searching –  these are some great helpful hints for parents.  This is such a major emotional and financial decision that I encourage to read through my website and learn as much as you can before making a decision.  I firmly believe in residential programs – I just also believe you need to select the right one for your child’s needs.

Visit www.helpyourteens.com for more information.

Medicine Cabinets: Your Teens Drug Dealer – Be AWARE

It isn’t street drugs you have to worry about – your kids, teens and tweens can find drugs in your home or a friends home – even more prevalent if a grandparents home.

You know how easy it is to forget about a prescription that you never finished and stored in your medicine cabinet. Proper drug disposal protects your loved ones from misuse. Prescription drugs are the most commonly abused drugs among 12-13 year olds. Many of these pills can be found in your medicine cabinet and around your house. The National Association of Boards of Pharmacy Foundation and their AWARxEConsumer Protection Program are helping to stop this growing!

 April 28 is theDEA National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day.  If you have any unused prescription drugs in your home, you can drop them off at the designated collection site in your community on April 28. The DEA coordinates with the local law enforcement and community partners to provide thousands of sites across the country, many of them at police departments, so that the unwanted drugs are disposed of safely and legally. Sites will accept pills, both prescription and nonprescription, for disposal.

I had the opportunity to interview the Executive Director of the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy, Dr. Catizone on the dangers of Prescription Drug Abuse.  Dr. Catizone is the Executive Director of the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy (NABP) and a licensed pharmacist. He currently serves as a Governor of the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB) Board of Directors and Chair of the PTCB Certification Council. Dr. Catizone is regularly called to serve as an expert witness for the US Government in the areas of pharmacy practice and regulation on both the state and national level issues.

Check out my interview with Dr. Catizone below and visit www.AWARERX.ORG for more information on prevention and the April 28 DEA Take-Back Day. Also, don’t forget to like AWARxE on Facebook! www.facebook.com/AWARxE

A)      What are the dangers associated with taking prescription drugs that are not prescribed to you.

Dr. Catizone:   Taking a medication not prescribed for you can lead to serious health consequences, permanent injuries, or death. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that in 2009, 1.2 million emergency department visits were related to the misuse or abuse of prescription drugs. Controlled substance medications have the potential for abuse, and taking these medications if they are not prescribed to you could lead to addiction. Every year, 15,000 people die from an overdose of prescription painkillers, according to the CDC.

B)       What is the best way to prevent teenagers from abusing prescription drugs?

Dr. Catizone:   An important step is to talk with teens about the serious dangers of prescription drug abuse. A video recommended by AWARxE, called The Road to Nowhere, tells the story of a teen who experimented with prescription drugs at a party and became addicted to the drugs. A link to the video is available on the AWARxE Get Local Oklahoma page. Teens can visit AWARErx.org for many other resources.

C)      Are there any other ways to dispose of unused prescription drugs besides DEA prescription drug take-back days?

Dr. Catizone:  Many cities and counties across the country provide permanent medication disposal programs. Many programs provide a drop-box at a police department—these programs can take controlled substance medications for disposal. Other programs are run by hazardous waste disposal agencies or other entities that cannot accept controlled substance medications, but can take all other unused drugs for safe disposal.

Many of the AWARxE Get Local pages have links to local disposal programs, and we are actively expanding these resources. We are happy to take information about local programs and post it on our Web site. Anyone who has information on a disposal program can e-mail the information they have to AWARErx@nabp.net – we will review for inclusion on the respective state’s Get Local page.

If there are no drug disposal sites near you, there are options for disposing of drugs at home. The information that comes with your prescription may provide instructions on home disposal. Only some medications should be flushed down the toilet and the US Food and Drug Administration has a list of these drugs on its Web site. If there are no instructions for disposal you can throw the drugs in your home garbage. But first, take them out of the container and mix them with an undesirable substance like coffee grounds or cat litter.

More details about drug disposal programs are available on the AWARxE Medication Disposal page.

D)      How can you tell if someone is abusing prescription drugs and how can you help them stop?

Dr. Catizone: Side effects associated with prescription drug abuse include dizziness, loss of appetite, unconsciousness, impaired memory, mood swings, loss of motor coordination, trouble breathing and rapid or irregular heartbeat.

Seeking advice and assistance from your family health care provider, such as your doctor is recommended. Your doctor can provide information and/or referrals to local programs that help identify abuse and treat addiction.

If teens are in need of help, a school’s guidance counselor can also be an excellent resource for local information.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration provides an online substance abuse treatment locator and links to resources about addiction and treatment on its Web site.

E )      What can parents do to make sure the prescription drugs they do have in their homes will not be abused by their teenagers?

Dr. Catizone:  Parents should securely store all medications in the household. For example, you may want to lock your medications in a secure cabinet or a medicine safe. In particular, you should securely store controlled substance prescription drugs, such as certain pain medications and ADHD medications.

You may also wish to keep track of the number of pills left in the bottle.

Remember that sometimes prescription drugs are taken out of medicine cabinets by visitors to the home, such as a teen’s guests.

If you have pills or medication that is no longer needed or has expired, dispose of it at an authorized DEA Take-Back location, or a local medication disposal program. The next DEA Take-Back Day is April 28, 2012 and collection sites will be located across the country.

More information about these events, as well as an alternate method for safely disposing of unneeded drugs in the home garbage, is available on the AWARxE Medication Disposal page.

Links for cited Web pages:

·         The Road to Nowhere video: http://www.awarerx.org/State_OK.php

·         Medication Disposal: http://www.awarerx.org/medDisposal.php

·         Get Local: http://www.awarerx.org/getLocal.php

·         FDA Drug Disposal Information: http://www.fda.gov/Drugs/ResourcesForYou/Consumers/BuyingUsingMedicineSafely/EnsuringSafeUseofMedicine/SafeDisposalofMedicines/ucm186187.htm#MEDICINES

·         SAMHSA online substance abuse treatment locator: http://www.samhsa.gov/treatment/index.aspx

·         SAMHSA links to resources about addiction and treatment: http://www.samhsa.gov/treatment/index.aspx.

Is your teenager the problem?

Hmmm, well, this is a bold and common statement I hear quite frequently so when a new friend/colleague mentioned she has a book coming out this spring with this title, I was intrigued.  After all, as a parent that struggled with a teen that was less than perfect, and liked to convince me that “I” was the problem, this book just may go flying off the shelves.

My Teenager Is The Problem” is written by Ronae Jull, the Hope Coach.

A bit about this new book…..

Do you struggle with that one family member who constantly challenges your serenity, twists your stomach into knots and keeps you up at night, questioning your sanity? If that family member is your teenager, you’re not alone.

Teenagers can cause feelings of anger, incompetence, and helplessness in even the most confident parents. Regardless of how successful your professional life, your home keeping skills, or your other relationships,parenting a teen can challenge your resolve to remain calm and mindful when dealing with him or her.

Maybe you’ve come to feel that you shouldn’t have become a parent, you can’t do anything right, and that your teen may not make it to his or her adult years in one piece.

You don’t have to feel this way.

Order My Teenager IS the Problem! today and recapture peace and sanity for you and your family. The book — authored by The HOPE Coach, Ronae Jull — provides specific step-by-step strategies, guaranteed to save your teen and renew your peace-of-mind.

Read just a few of the proven solutions offered in this amazing book below:

Creating and enforcing boundaries

  • Dealing with bad attitudes
  • Substance abuse
  • Dealing with and stopping rage
  • Helping your depressed teen
  • Coping with bullying behavior
  • Helping your mentally ill teen
  • …and much more…

For more information on Ronae Jull and her services, visit her website at www.RonaeJull.com.  You can follow Ronae Jull on Twitter and join her on Facebook!

As a Parent Advocate and Author of a parenting book on residential therapy, Parent Coaching can be an avenue a family can use prior taking the step into residential therapy.

Specialty Boarding Schools – Horizon Academy, Red River Academy – What are they?

Hold on, you will find the RIGHT help, just don't panic....

HELP – Who do I trust!!! What website is really telling me the truth?  Where are these toll free numbers really going to?  How do I know these people really care about my teenager?

Scary huh?  Yes, I was there over a decade ago – and unfortunately – today the same organization that harmed my daughter has moved on (though re-named themselves) are still practicing from what I have heard.  This is, of course, my experiences.

Troubled teens, teen help, struggling teens, at-risk teens, problem teens, difficult teens, boot camps, military schools, behavior modification, specialty schools, specialty programs, teen help programs, boarding schools, residential treatment centers, residential therapy, emotional growth programs, therapeutic boarding schools, wilderness programs, defiant teens, manipulative teens, disengaged from the family, family conflict, hopelessness, WIT’S END….

You have about reached your wit’s end when you are searching the web and typing in about every keyword you believe describes what you think you are looking for.  Glorified websites appear – maybe some not so beautiful, maybe you want a Christian setting, maybe you think a good boot camp or have that traditional thinking of an old fashioned military school…. however you will soon realize this isn’t 50 years ago.  There are legitimate residential therapeutic schools today and it is a parent job to do their research to be sure they find a safe and quality program that fits their individual needs.

After hours – days – even weeks (I have actually spoken to parents that have spent months) on the Internet, sometimes the confusion can deepen, which is why I did create Parents’ Universal Resource Experts.

With this – I am only sharing my own experiences…. and it has to do with the affiliated programs with the title of this Blog….

Are you confused yet? Looking for teen help and realizing this is a BIG BUSINESS?

So, your teen is driving your crazy.  You are at your wit’s end. You have finally decided you need outside help. You have exhausted all your local resources.  Local therapy doesn’t help, heck, you can’t even get your teen to attend.  Your teen is failing in school, he/she is very smart yet doesn’t want to attend school and believe they know it all.  Many say, “typical teen“, but as a parent, we know it is more than that.

Where did our good kid go?  Good kids making bad choices – and they don’t need to be placed in an environment that will make them worse in my opinion – learn from what happened to me!

As a victim of the WWASPS organization – I am often called or receive many emails about our (my daughter and I) experiences with them.  Obviously not pleasant.  Though I am happy to say the program she was at, Carolina Springs Academy, which attempted to go through a name change to Magnolia Christian Academy (or School) depending on the day you Googled it, is finally closed – it has been rumored some of the staff is now at their affiliate program – Red River Academy.

Let me be clear for legal purposes – these are rumors – but if I were placing my child in program, I personally wouldn’t take any chances – and furthermore, Red River Academy is clearly named in the current lawsuit which is extremely disturbing with allegations of fraud, abuse, neglect and much more – (click here) that is current.

Then we come to Horizon Academy.  Another alleged WWASPS facility.  Why say alleged?  Maybe they will deny they are affiliated – yet look at their staff, again, you will see they were once employed at other WWASPS programs.  Jade Robinson was at the program in Mexico (named in that lawsuit with alleged abuse and neglect) Casa By the Sea, then went on to Bell Academy, which didn’t last long, and I assume is trying to continue at Horizon Academy.

So when the “sales rep” tells you that “Sue Scheff” is a disgruntled parent – I say – YES, I was – you put my daughter in a box for 17 hours, she was mentally and emotionally abused – food and sleep deprived – I was complete defrauded – and she also missed out on 6 months of education.  None of which I had signed up for.  Grant it, this was 10 years ago – a lot has changed – but those original owners haven’t – so in my humble opinion – I wouldn’t trust any of their programs with my pets….. BTW: I am the only parent to have defeated WWASPS in a jury trial.  

Most of the other (many) lawsuits have settled out of court with silence agreements.  I don’t have one, which is why I can still share my story – which is why I get slimed online – which is why their sales reps have all sorts of stories about me – including “the jury made a mistake” – neglecting to tell you I won the appellate court too.  No one condones child abuse – period.

I have been called a crusader (and not in a flattering way) though I take it that way.  I have made it my mission to find the better programs and schools, since I do know what it is like to be at your wit’s end.  I know what parents need help. I am not against residential therapy, which brings us to many  of my stalkers that were formally abused in programs that believe all programs should be closed down.  That is being extreme – they are not a parent trying to save their child’s life and future.

I will share with you that there are more safe and quality programs than there are bad ones – it is just about doing your homework and research.  Today you are more fortunate than I was – you have more access to information and you can learn from my mistakes and  my knowledge.

Please – take 10 minutes to read my story and see the list of programs that are and were once affiliated with Carolina Springs Academy – and from there, you make your own choices for your child.

I had one parent that almost went to Red River Academy that actually said the sales rep said they could have their teen “extracted” within a few hours?  Extracted?  Really – is your child a tooth?  Please don’t get rushed into a quick decision – this is a major emotional and financial decision.

WWASPS can try to discredit me to parents, but I have been vindicated by many included legally and the media.

My organization is Parents’ Universal Resource Experts – and no matter what those “sales reps” or the Internet fiction – I don’t own, operate or manage any schools or programs!  We are about educating parents when they are looking for help for their at risk teen…. Don’t get scammed when you are at your wit’s end.

Oh – and when these “sales reps” send out these defamatory links about me – another FACT they neglect to tell you is I won the landmark case for Internet Defamation that awarded me $11.3M in damages for what was said about me online!  Lies and twisted facts!  Here is my recent appearance on Anderson Cooper.

This is strictly my opinion on my own experiences – you are free to make your choices…

Wilderness Programs: Are They for Your Teen?

What is a “Wilderness Program?”  If you are a parent that is struggling with a teenager that is out-of-control, you will surf the Internet and attempt to find help.  Many parents first think of boot camps as a resolution – a way to teach our teen a lesson.  Then you realize that maybe that is not the best avenue and you are somehow directed to wilderness programs.  Not always, but especially if you have hired an Educational Consultant, their first recommendation is commonly Wilderness programs.

There are many very good Wilderness Programs in our country, however the question remains, are they necessary or should you go directly to where most teens eventually end up:  Residential Therapy program.

Wilderness programs are mainly designed to break a teen down.  Although they are not punitive, in comparison to a boot camp, they are primitive, forcing your teen to appreciate the luxuries he had at home.

However, a residential therapy program can do the same thing, since many are not designed by Hilton (TM).  Have you also thought about this:  Your teen is already broken down, why do we need to continue to break him/her down?

Let’s look at the pro’s and cons. 

  • Wilderness programs can cost you up to $500.00 a day. Yes, a day.  Some start as little as $250.00 a day (Yes, as little as).  Now multiply that by 30 days or actually 6 weeks, since the average stay in Wilderness is 6-9 weeks.  At the low end: A month in the mountains will cost you $7500.00.  That is questionable to many, as well as out of the financial means of many more.
  • Wilderness program rarely have academics.  Fact is your teen is probably not focused on academics and could care less about them.  Working on their emotional stability is the goal here, however it shouldn’t be an excuse to delay education.  Although your child may not care about their education, you do.
  • Wilderness programs are short term.  Short term program, short term results and a lot of money.  In most cases they go on to residential programs which will run you about another $5000.00 a month and up for another 10-12 months.  Wouldn’t it make sense to start and finish at the same place with the same therapist and the consistency of recovery?
  • Wilderness programs are sadly where we hear of the most deaths or accidents in teen help programs.  It is true, accidents can happen in any program, however when listening to speakers in congress while attempting to pass a bill to stop abuse in residential programs, it seemed the parents that lost a child in a program were mainly in Wilderness programs.

Some positives:

  • If your teen has not escalated to a point of serious concern, and is just starting to make some poor choices, maybe a 6-9 week wake-up call is all that is needed.  As long as you can afford it, and remember, if they decide he/she needs more than the 6-9 weeks, you need to be prepared to go the next step.
  • The teen is removed from their home environment.  They are put in a place of isolation and maybe this is just what they need to reflect on their current negative behavior.
  • There are some excellent Wilderness programs with very good and caring staff in our country.  Many teens that had a wilderness experience really feel it was very good.  Many parents also believe that the Wilderness program helped their child get ready for the next step, residential therapy.
  • Wilderness programs offer a great opportunity for your teen to live outdoors and experience outdoor therapy.  With some teens this is very beneficial.

This is a personal decision, and although I am not an advocate of Wilderness programs I can appreciate and respect parents that believe they need this extra step and it has worked for them.  It is my philosohy that starting and finishing at the program is part of the consistency of healing.  Having to switch programs and therapists (especially) and starting over, can feel like you have fallen back to ground zero. However, each family is different with different needs, so this is an individual decision.

Is Wilderness right for your teen?  Only you can answer that.

Visit www.HelpYourTeens.com.