There’s no place like home, right? But when home is a battleground centered on a teen who’s got behavioral issues brought on by a mood or emotional disorder, learning disability, addiction, or other difficulties, it no longer feels like a safe haven for anyone in the family. And it doesn’t do a thing for the teen who’s in the middle of it all.
You might have tried other kinds of programs during the school year or during summer vacation, but sometimes a complete change of environment is what’s needed. Academy ranches could be the answer. It’s a safe environment with a fresh, new vista that gives a troubled teen time with peers facing the same challenges as they work through them with counseling and personalized instruction in a setting of natural beauty and away from everything that triggers old behavior patterns.
Part of the ranch academy experience is learning the skills and gaining the confidence to become an independent adult, ready to realize his or her full potential. Teens need guidance, but they’ve got to be given the chance to try things on their own and also occasionally to fail at them. Spending time out of their familiar home environments provides them with the opportunities to do this safely as they learn to be adaptable and overcome obstacles.
While a ranch academy’s focus is to provide individualized and group counseling along with high-quality academics, these are some of the other things that a teen learns in a ranch academy setting that clear the way to becoming a successful adult:
Getting Along With Other People
Compassion and empathy for other people, along with knowing how to cooperate, collaborate, and compromise… those are the easy things, right? Well, maybe it’s true that they’re easy for some people. But others need coaching and practice at them.
Learning school subjects is important, but developing interpersonal skills is important in other ways as a teen participates in activities with peers and matures to go out into the workplace and the greater community. Experiences at a ranch academy teach good manners and communication skills so that a teen gains confidence when meeting new people and learns how to treat others with respect, no matter who they are.
As your teen gets older, you’re not going to be available every time he or she runs into a difficult situation that requires quick thinking and strategic problem solving. At a ranch academy without you in the next room, teens learn how to keep a cool head and confront things as they happen instead of looking for a parent to make everything all right.
They learn what to do on their own if something isn’t where it should be or doesn’t go as planned. Perhaps most importantly, they learn that not everything is a crisis or an emergency, and gain the confidence to know that there are always ways to work through things that happen and that they are smart enough and strong enough to do it themselves.
Even little kids have calendars that take a strategist to manage. By the time they’re teenagers, their days and nights are full to brimming and it sometimes it seems as if it’s a circus act to keep all the balls in the air. Life at an academy ranch teaches good habits of time management, prioritizing, and decision-making so that they’re not doing five things at once and leaving chaos everywhere they go. Teens at a ranch learn that their own lack of organization affects everyone around them, and they learn to take responsibility for their own actions.
Earning and Managing money
As long as you’re the family treasurer, your teen probably doesn’t take money too seriously. You have it, they want it, and, in many cases, they get it. An academy ranch gives teens the challenge of working for what they want, and teaches the elements of budgeting, the importance of saving, and the value of every hard-earned dollar or ranch credit. What’s even better is the sense of accomplishment a teen gains in the process.
Doing the Stuff of Daily Life
Slacking off isn’t an option when it comes to doing dorm and ranch chores. Teens at an academy ranch quickly learn that they are responsible for taking care of themselves and their surroundings, and see how their actions impact the others they live with. Knowing the state of his or her room at home, it may be a surprise to know how much more amenably a teen will take on a responsibility if you’re not the one telling him or her to do it.
Even if your teen is staying at home with you, here are some good suggestions on how to manage these issues and more.