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How to find help for your troubled teen

How to Help Your Teen Get the Help They Need

“But do I REALLY need professional help?”

When a friend or a family member is struggling, it can be heart-wrenching to watch and it often hurts more the closer you are to the person who is struggling. Rarely can anyone solve mental health, trauma-driven, or deep emotional issues alone or without resources! Often, the best way to help them is to guide them towards professional assistance, such as an adventure learning school for troubled teens. These schools offer specialized programs designed to address the unique challenges faced by adolescents.

What is an adventure learning school for troubled teens?

An adventure learning school for troubled teens combines academic education with experiential learning, often in outdoor settings. These schools focus on helping teens develop essential life skills, build self-esteem, and overcome personal challenges. By engaging in physical and mental challenges, students learn resilience, teamwork, and self-discipline.

When to seek extra help:

Recognizing the signs that a you and your teen might need help is the first step. Here are some indicators:

  • Sudden changes in behavior or mood
  • Withdrawal from friends and activities
  • Decline in academic performance
  • Substance abuse
  • Talk of self-harm or hopelessness
  • Inability to change behaviors through willpower or even external discipline

How to have that first conversation… 

Approaching anyone about their struggles can be difficult, especially if the topic has come up before and the conversation has imploded or become volatile and hurtful. Health and well-being are crucial, though, especially to developing teenage brains and bodies! Here are some tips:

  • Practice your “I’m not shocked to hear that” face beforehand so as not to display strong reactions to anything that surprises you in this conversation.
  • Choose a private, comfortable setting for the conversation. 
    • This could possibly include an innocuous activity – over a meal, a card game, pulling weeds in the back yard, etc. However, avoid activities and settings that have been difficult or divisive in the past. 
  • Make sure everyone involved has had a substantial meal beforehand so hunger and thirst are eliminated.
  • Express your concerns with compassion and without judgment.
  • Listen actively and validate their feelings by repeating their answers and responses back to them so they feel heard (without expressing judgment) 
  • Avoid offering solutions right away; focus on understanding their perspective.
    • This might require more and more questions. 
  • Prepare for possibly a very long conversation. 

Common questions about seeking help: 

“How can I convince a teen to accept professional help?”troubled teen boarding school hope success advice resources

Convincing anyone to seek professional help can be challenging, no matter your relationship with the individual. Emphasize that seeking help is a sign of strength, not weakness. Offer some hopeful ideas of how this person might change and be different after they receive the help. Remind them that no matter how they feel now, change is possible and a different future than the one they can envision now is available. Share information about how Wolf Creek Academy provides a supportive environment tailored to their needs. Offer to accompany them to appointments or help them research options and the Wolf Creek Academy program.

“What if they refuse to go or get help?”

If your friend refuses to get help, continue to offer your support. Sometimes, it takes time for someone to accept they need assistance. Sometimes it takes extra time for a teen to consider a program or opportunity as their choice or their best option and diversify it from their parent or guardian or whoever suggested it initially so that the idea to seek help feel as if its coming from the teen’s own internal matrix of choice. Encourage them to talk to trusted adults or other friends. In urgent cases, don’t hesitate to seek help from professionals or emergency services.

Exploring treatment options

There are various treatment options available for troubled teens. These include:

Wolf Creek Academy offers a comprehensive program that integrates academic learning with therapeutic activities, creating a holistic approach to healing and personal growth. They focus on adventure learning which enables an internal locust of control and self-confidence in their students providing extremely transformative outcomes. 

Steps to take to get someone into a support program:

1. Research and Identify Suitable Facilities

Start by researching various facilities that specialize in treating troubled teens. Look for programs that align with your needs and interests and values. Wolf Creek Academy is a faith-based program for teens 13-17 years old that provides therapy, academic support, outdoor learning, etc. They are known for their adventure learning and supportive environment.

2. Discuss the Options

Once you have gathered information, discuss these options with your teen. Be honest about the benefits and timeline and what they can expect from the program. Highlight the positive changes that can come from participating in an adventure learning school. You know your teen better than anyone and you’re ready to fight for their health more than anyone, so if they appreciate details, allow them access to the website so they can seek out any and all information they like. If they just want to change but don’t know how, discuss the transformation they hope to achieve and the hard work it will take along the way. 

3. Involve Their Family and Community

Involving your family is crucial. Often, though, in the life of a teenager, friends feel closer than family as they begin to engage with the world and learn to trust and doubt more and more. Those relationships, if they are healthy and supportive, and be key to persuading your teen that this is a good idea. A common fear is that if they go away and leave the friends they have now, they will be forgotten and never reconnect with their old friends. This may be a good transition depending on the influence of those current relationships, but it may also be a deal-breaker for your teen. Tread with caution here and use your best judgement on which parts of your community can be supportive to your teen before entering and during the treatment.  If you choose to, make others aware of the situation and gain their support for the decision to seek professional help. Provide them with the information you’ve gathered and encourage open communication.

4. Contact the Facility

Reach out to the facility to learn more about their admissions process. Facilities like Wolf Creek Academy often have admissions counselors who can guide you through the steps and answer any and all questions you may have. This step costs nothing but time and you’ll find admissions teams eager to address concerns and present the entirety of their program for your discernment. 

5. Prepare for the Transition

Preparing for the transition into a facility can be challenging. Help your teen pack if they will accept the help and ensure they have all the necessary documents and items. Offer emotional support and reassure them that this step is for their well-being. Don’t make promises you can’t keep at this point. For instance, if daily/weekly/etc. communication is not allowed by the program your teen is entering, set reasonable expectations with your teen and focus on the growth and change that will happen soon.

Always remind them this is a good step, you love them, you want the best for them, and that you’re proud of their decision to commit to a hard but good thing. 

The Benefits of an Adventure Learning School

Adventure learning schools like Wolf Creek Academy offer numerous benefits, including:

  • Improved self-esteem and confidence
  • Enhanced social skills and teamwork
  • Better academic performance
  • Development of coping strategies
  • Opportunities for personal growth and resilience
  • Emotional development

These programs provide a structured environment where teens can thrive and build a brighter future through progressive challenge and support. 

Conclusion: Taking the First Step

Helping someone in need is a noble and compassionate act. When it’s your teen or a friend of the family, it gets very personal very quickly and therefore exponentially more difficult and emotionally risky. By guiding them towards professional help, such as an adventure learning school for troubled teens, you are supporting their journey towards recovery and personal growth. Remember, facilities like Wolf Creek Academy are designed to provide the necessary support and resources to help troubled teens succeed. Take the first step today and make a positive difference in your teen’s life.

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“I can’t say enough positive things about Wolf Creek Academy! They have helped my son in so many ways. He was angry, anxious, withdrawn and slowly going down the wrong path in life. The staff at Wolf Creek Academy helped me through one of the toughest and agonizing decisions of my life and has provided the love, therapy and guidance that my son needs during one of the most trying times of my family’s life and his. They have given both my son and I the hope that I thought was lost. Thank you, Wolf Creek Academy for the great life skills during his 10 month stay.”

 – Teri 


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