The other day I received a letter from the parents of a teenage girl I placed in a residential treatment center. Kevin and Brenda 13 year old daughter was an angry, defiant, out of control teenage girl.
She expressed her anger by resisting authority. She was defiant and making suicidal threats. Her behavior caused the family absolute chaos for many years.
Haley was in juvenile detention and probation. When her parents called me they knew the only choice to help their daughter was drastic measures. They believed that beneath all the anger, there was a wonderful person and they desperately needed help.
After listening to Haley’s story I wanted to help her parents rebuild their family.
I recently received a letter from Haley’s parents with an update. I am so happy for them and the progress Haley has made. Her parents know without a doubt that their decision was the best thing they could do for their daughter. Their daughter is happier today than she ever was and thankful that her parents made this difficult choice for her.
Haley made great strides towards improvement. Her parents tell me that after seeing their child hit rock bottom, they are now feeling immense gladness that comes from watching her transform into the kind of person they always knew she could be.
During the last 13 months, she completed the 7th and 8th grades and lost 54 pounds by practicing healthy eating and exercise habits. And, her attitude and mindset have undergone a full transformation. It is stories like Haley’s that inspire me every day to do what I do. I love this job and helping families.
If you are struggling with this decision and fearing the worst, read the excerpt from Haley’s parents. Over the last twenty years, I’ve seen so many parents fear their child will hate them, or their family and friends will think the worst of them. Parent’s feel like they’ve failed. The reality is that making this difficult crazy decision could be the difference between your child’s having a productive future or not.
I do not advocate for therapeutic schools, I advocate for families. I work with extreme cases, teenagers that are defiant, angry, abusing drugs or alcohol, addicted to video games, failing or refusing to go to school. If you’ve lost control of what happens with your teen and your child is ruling your home, your teenage son or daughter no longer listens, respects you or themselves and refuses to follow the rules and boundaries you’ve set. Take the necessary steps to save your child and enroll them in a therapeutic boarding school or residential treatment center.
Below is an excerpt from her parents letter to me:
Haley was a 13-year-old teen with a lot of issues, and not just the typical problems every adolescent girl experiences. Her anger and defiance, a total resistance to authority meant that we dealt with endless yelling, fighting, cursing, disrespect, suicidal threats, and absolute chaos within our family for many years. The conflict peaked when she turned 13.
Her path of destruction led to her getting expelled from school, going to juvenile detention three times one-year and one-year probation. As parents, we felt completely powerless and utterly hopeless. We knew that only drastic measures could help our daughter whom we loved more than anything.
Finally, we enrolled Haley in a therapeutic boarding school for troubled teens on April 1, 2016. Dropping our daughter off and leaving her with strangers over a thousand miles away was the hardest thing we have ever done as parents.
However, now we see that it was also the best decision we have ever made. Every visit, every report, and even physical signs showed huge growth in maturity, respect, kindness, self-worth and joy. If you’re not a parent that has seen your teenage child hit rock bottom, you can’t imagine the immense gladness that comes from watching her transform into the kind of person you always knew she could be.
Needless to say, it was a long road. As remarkable as Haley’s improvement was, she needed a lot of time to fully “get it” and heal enough to be ready to come home. More time, in fact, than most other teens: it took her 13 months to finish the therapeutic program instead of the usual 10.
We will always be thankful that we took that leap, reached out, and got help when it looked like our family was falling apart. You can’t always do it on your own, and admitting that is the first step on a journey that you will not regret.