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When a child is struggling the parents go through a range of emotions and thought processes:

"Do we let the child continue in hopes that he will come around on his own?"

"Can I trust my child?"

"Is my child using drugs or alcohol?"

"Who are my child's friends?"

"How long do we wait for therapy and medications to kick in."

"What will my extended family think?"

"Is MY child THAT bad?"

The biggest hurdle for a parent or guardian to get over is the question of WHEN to make the choice to send a child to a program or specialty school. The answer is sometimes clearer than they want to acknowledge.

When parents feel that they are at a Crossroads with their child and the family's future. Things are NOT getting better. School issues, beginnings of legal problems, choices being made with unacceptable possible outcomes, disrespect, lies, physical altercations are just some of the issues that are at hand. Consequences, punishment and counseling do not make a difference to your child. You cannot "Fix" the problem yourself but the chaos brought into the home cannot continue. The child's behaviors are affecting the whole family dynamic and tearing the very framework that you have worked so hard to create.

Parents have choices:

INTERVENE by removing the child from the situation into a structured behavioral program or specialty school. Usually the most successful option.  Long-term treatment allows for the internalization of the changes in attitude and behavior.

Let the child experience life and ride out the situations at hand - hope he survives with out major bodily harm or lifetime emotional scars. The child may fly through adolescence and one day just make a life changing decision to make better choices. Or he may not make it to that point without irreversible consequences.

Get therapy and family counseling - see how that goes, wait and see. Possible short term mental health or drug treatment. This option is usually not long enough to make any long lasting changes in the childs attitude or behaviors. The child manipulates the professionals and it becomes an expensive "Dance of Perception" between the therapist and the child.

Get police involved, possible foster care or state placement. This option often places the child with harder, more experienced adolescents in the area.

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