Boarding School vs. Private School – Or neither?

For troubled teens both boarding schools and programs at private schools that specialize in particular behaviors have proven to be highly effective. The reason most behavioral counselors will recommend a boarding school over a program in a private school is if the adolescent needs to be removed from a negative environment that may involve drugs or violence or if the student has already tried and failed at a daily private school. Now that is not to say that boarding school is only recommended for kids involved in substance abuse or needing to get away from the influence of a negative peer group.

There are residential treatment programs that are designed to help teens and their parents cope with some specific disorders such as ADHD or Oppositional Disorder. Similarly, some kids dealing with some of these specific conditions, and even substance abuse, will only thrive in a private school and actually do worse in a boarding school. What it comes down to is that fact that each case involves a very individual decision based on the very specific needs of your child. Therefore any such decision should be discussed with your child’s professional counselor. Most professionals tend to agree that unless the child or other family members are immediately at risk, it is best to consider boarding school or residential treatment only after other methods such as individual or group therapy, or possibly a curriculum at a private school have already been tried.

According to Dr. Jared Balmer, a teen behavioral specialist who has designed both daily care and boarding school treatment programs, “Clinical placement decisions should take place from core plan considerations, and not as a result of the attractiveness of [certain aspects of the program]. The core of a program must meet the child’s fundamental needs. Referring professionals can be invaluable – in providing thorough matching of a student’s clinical, emotional, and academic needs with a program’s core offerings.” Based on this information, it is urged that you give many techniques a try before deciding on a boarding school or private school.

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