While not necessary or even appropriate for all troubled teens, for some the benefits of boarding school counseling are countless. However, according to experts with the National Association of Therapeutic Schools and Programs (NATSAP) what one gets out of boarding school counseling or residential therapy has a lot to do with what you the parent puts in. You may be feeling guilty about having had to “send your child away” to a boarding school program, but the sooner you put those feelings behind you and join hands with the boarding school counseling program 100%, the better it will be for you and ultimately your child.
The greatest thing you can do to help your child get the most out of boarding school counseling is lead by example. If your child sees you actively involved in the boarding school it will be much easier for them to accept the need of the program setting them on the path to effective counseling.
One of the best things that you can do is support the staff involved in the boarding school counseling in every way possible. Your child probably became a master manipulator at home, which is likely part of the reason for enrollment in a boarding school in the first place – do not let him carry that through at the school.
Do not interfere with the counseling, or ask to make changes in the program based on your child’s complaints. You must support you child, but he must learn to take responsibility and be held accountable for his behaviors if he is to benefit from the boarding school counseling.
Finally, the key to effective counseling and a successful outcome at a boarding school is patience. You must be willing to endure the roller-coaster ride, knowing that the ride can last until real change can and does take place.
Too often parents are so anxious to see results, or just want to get there kids home that they pull them from boarding school counseling too soon, being enticed by the first signs of positive change. Although tempting, boarding school counselors agree that the most successful outcomes are achieved by those who can persevere and follow through with the program until the teen can sustain the changes they have learned, and go home a truly happier and healthier young man or woman. If handled properly, boarding school counseling can have your child or teen leaving with their past behind them, and a bright future ahead.