Should Troubled Teens go to Private School or Public School?

When you’re living with a troubled teen, it can be a stressful situation for everyone in the house. You may not know where to turn to to get your teen help. He may be struggling at school, skipping school, getting into fights, or simply not fitting in well. Even with an intensive outpatient treatment option, teens may not always be able to heal and recover if negative influences and distractions are constantly bombarding them at school.

At this point, you may begin to consider another option for his education. Many parents wonder if there are any benefits to considering a private school versus a public school option for troubled teens.

While there are several benefits to a troubled teen getting a fresh start in a new school, it may not be the right choice if the chosen private school doesn’t help address other struggles he may face.

The benefits of a private school for a troubled teen

You know that the opportunity for your teen to get a fresh start in a new school can be one of the significant benefits of considering a private education option. There are other benefits for you to consider.

  • A private school may offer smaller class sizes. Smaller class sizes offer your teen the chance to get more one-on-one time as he focuses on his education.
  • In a private setting, your teen may be able to catch up better and keep up with his classes.
  • Your teen may find it more of a possibility to consider college and his career with a positive focus on his education.
  • There is a much better chance of your teen making friends who share his common goals and interests.
  • A private education facility, such as a therapeutic boarding school, will offer your teen the chance to work on his mental wellness. If his mental wellness is not addressed in a public school setting, your teen will likely continue to struggle to move forward.
  • Many schools will encourage teens to participate in sports and other activities that will allow them to expand their horizons, expend energy, and learn more about themselves and others.
  • The smaller ratio of students to teachers also allows for firmer enforcement of the guidelines and boundaries to help your teen better focus on his education.

It can certainly be easy to focus on the fact that many private schools mean your troubled teen will no longer live at home with you. If your teen has been disruptive, aggressive, and even abusive, it’s going to be a better situation for everyone in your home if he can go to a private school that will allow him to recover and heal.

What to look for in a private school

It’s important to note that there are key differences between what you may consider a typical private school and a therapeutic boarding school. Both can offer your teen many of the same benefits, but a typical private school won’t give your teen a chance to focus on his mental wellness and may not necessarily help him to learn how to be the leader he can be.

As you start to consider your private education options for your teen, there are a few things to keep in mind.

  • Does the school have all the licenses and credentials you’d expect from an organization tasked with helping your teen with his education and future?
  • What kind of extracurricular activities does the school offer?
  • Is community involvement important to the school?
  • Are outdoor activities and adventures offered to teens?
  • Is the facility secured, with a focus on keeping your teen safe when he’s there?
  • What kind of mental health support and therapeutic programs are offered? Are they individualized to meet the needs of each student?
  • Is parental and family involvement encouraged?

Be sure to look for red flags that may include the private school’s unwillingness to share certain information with you. If they are not open to tours or open to you speaking to other parents of their students, this may be a potential red flag. Consider this a red flag if they don’t allow students to call home or communicate with parents.

Is this the right choice for your troubled teen?

You are the one who knows your teen better than anyone else. Even though he may be struggling and sometimes be unrecognizable to you. You know where his strengths are, and you know what could provide benefit him. If you feel like you’ve explored and exhausted all of your other options with your teen, considering a private facility that will help him to reset, recover, and learn healthy coping mechanisms might be the next step on your journey to getting him focused on his future.

It’s a personal decision only you can make for your teen. If you’re struggling to make a decision, there are a few things that you can do.

  • It can be helpful to speak with your teen’s therapist, teacher, family, and friends. You’ll need the support of your circle as you move forward with healing, but you may find that they also have valuable insight into the situation you find yourself in.
  • Consider whether the steps you’ve taken so far have helped your teen make any progress. Even the best therapeutic solutions aren’t effective if your teen is in an environment that doesn’t encourage healing.
  • Speak with your teen. He may be resistant to the idea of going to a new school, particularly if it’s a boarding school, but he may also surprise. Sometimes teens simply don’t know how to reverse a situation they find themselves in. A new school would allow him to start over.

Once you’ve decided that this might be the best option for your teen and your family, what is your next step? At HelpYourTeenNow we can connect parents of troubled teens with the resources needed to get the correct type of help, whether that help includes a rehabilitation program, a therapeutic boarding school, or other treatment options.

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