Troubled Youth Today

Topics: Residential treatment center, Childhood, Child Pages: 8 (3128 words) Published: May 9, 2011
Youth today are dramatically different than the youth just fifteen years ago. Styles, schooling, resistance, and especially consequences have changed a lot. Children can no longer come home after school with a note from the teacher and receive a lashing with dad’s belt. No longer can they wear the dunce hat in class when misbehaving. Though this is a good thing, it has become much harder for parents to control and maintain their children. In “Children Should Be Seen Not Heard” by Gill Valentine, a single mother states, “I think children are allowed to get away with more because we’re so frightened of Social Services…they know there’s nothing you can do to stop it.” Without consequence children’s behaviors are going much farther down the “wrong” road then parents know how to handle. In light of this, now more than ever, drastic measures have been taken to help children. There are youth help centers where parents can send their children to receive the help they need to return to a more level headed state of being. In an article written by Bruce R Schackmann, it was stated that, “only one in ten adolescents who need treatment actually receives help.” Some of these programs are not as strict, and the child only goes in a few times a week for sessions. Other residential treatment centers are for a month or two, while the most extreme residential centers for youth are over one year long. Since this has become quite a popular trend for parents to do, there is more and more research showing the outcomes of these children and if it actually helped. For parent’s to really understand what their child needs they need to know if strict institutes or more loose help centers are more productive with enhancing and helping the youth’s individual and family life.

There are pros and cons to each type of center. A residential treatment center, also known as an RTC is similar to Therapeutic Boarding Schools (TBS) with the exception of how long the program lasts, the intensity of the therapy, and the educational component involved. (At Risk Teen-Residential Treatment Centers website). The RTC’s provide much more verbal contact with the family and physical family involvement. Usually in these types of facilities there are less rules, which helps the students to build closer friendship-like relationships with the staff, which can overall help the outcome of the student. The child is learning new things during every session and gets to practice his or her new knowledge within just a few weeks sometimes even hours. This gives the student the ability to test what they have learned and come back to the program to share how it went and work on how to make it better. There tends not to be as much resistance at these shorter, sometimes non-residential centers, which leads to less resentment being built up against the institute. Students at these types of programs have the ability to think for themselves. They are given a type of structure to follow, usually in the form of a certain amount of steps, however it is up to them how to succeed and progress through these steps to the end. Chris Conner from The Spot said, “discipline may not always be helpful because then the student cannot develop who they are by themselves and they won’t be able to really take their life into their own hands and create their own structure.” Another perk of these programs is that they tend to be less expensive. This allows students of lower class to be able to participate in the RTC services. “Positive outcomes for youth in RTC’s are [mainly] associated with stays that are relatively shorter, include family involvement, and involve aftercare.” (Brenda D. Smith) Though there seem to be many pros, there are also a few cons. Because the students are there for such a short time period it is easier for them to skim by, or fake what they are doing. Also they might not hold onto the information they have learned as deeply as a longer program. This can...
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