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Question:  I have a sixteen year old son who is out totally of control. I'm a single Mom.  I can sell my house and cash my retirement to pay for a six to eight week wilderness program for my son.  I would do anything to turn his life around. Will that give me the results I want? 

Answer:  Unfortunately, you can't count on it. There are actually two problems with what you propose.  First, wilderness programs are good at getting a good assessment and to jump-start motivation but not at turning a difficult kid around in a short time.  Real therapeutic progress on other issues is not only possible but probable if the program you are considering has excellent clinical resources (some do, so do not). But having a complete turn-around internalized in that period of time is not really likely. My other concern here is that families are not wise not to use up all assets in a therapy attempt with an unmotivated son or daughter.  You don't want to be totally helpless if somewhere down the line he asks for help and you can't give it.  When parents raise this kind of question to me, I consistently suggest they obtain and read a children's book with an adult message or perhaps an adult question left unanswered.   The book is The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein.  Best wishes.  Tom Croke

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Disclaimer: No  program review, no matter how positive, is a blanket endorsement. No criticism is a blanket condemnation.  When we express our level of confidence in a school or program, that is our subjective opinion with which others might reasonably disagree.  When we assert something as fact, we have done our best to be accurate, but we cannot guarantee that all of our information is accurate and up to date. When we address compliance with our guidelines, you need to remember that these are only OUR guidelines -- not guidelines from an official source.  We have also set the bar very high, and do not expect any school or program to be in total compliance.  It is not appropriate to draw a conclusion of impropriety (or even failure to live up to conventional wisdom) from our lack of confidence in a school or program or from less than perfect conformity to our guidelines.  Some will say we expect too much. Readers are responsible for verifying accuracy of information supplied here prior to acting upon it. We are not responsible for inaccuracies.

Last updated August 25, 2008

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