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Finding an Alternative School for Troubled Teens


Updated on July 20, 2023

There is no doubt about it, the years between elementary and high school graduation can be challenging for many children. When a teen reaches their adolescent years, they can be facing a lot of new pressures at home, with peers, and in life in general. 

Boys can be more prone to certain mental, behavioral, and developmental disorders from an early age already, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. For some troubled teen boys, the teen years bring out more challenges than they are equipped to handle, especially when those challenges are paired with other underlying issues. 

A troubled teen male may start failing at school, drastically change their usual behavior, and give their parents or caregivers a lot of heartache and worry. An alternative school for troubled teen boys may be the one choice that veers the troubled teen back onto the path to a promising future.  

Behavioral Signs that Indicate a Troubled Teen Boy Needs Help  

Parents can struggle with taking action when they know their teen is on the wrong path. Many make efforts to reprimand the teen or to try to control the situation on their own to no avail. Getting familiar with the true signs it is time to take a drastic step can help guide you as a parent to make the best decisions before something irreversible takes place.  

Boys do not always show the same behavioral signs as girls when they are struggling. Boys may be more prone to getting involved in violent acts, showing aggression, or acting out in deviant ways. There are behavioral signs that may mean it is time to look into alternative school options.

Common signs a troubled youth may exhibit include:

  • Lack of commitment to important responsibilities in spite of obvious consequences
  • Manipulating parents and other people of authority
  • Severe outbursts, aggressive tendencies, and mood swings
  • Failing academic performance or lack of interest in academics
  • Withdrawing from family and friends or avoiding activities they once enjoyed
  • Changes in physical appearance or grooming habits
  • Using drugs or alcohol
  • Participating in dangerous activities with no regard for their safety

For some parents, the cue comes from realizing there is nothing they can do to control their teen’s behavior. For example, if you’ve made every effort to keep your son away from drugs but he continues to use, or if your son continuously gets into legal trouble no matter how much you step in, it may be time to look at options.  

Alternative School Options Available for Troubled Teen Boys  

  1. Therapeutic Boarding Schools for Boys
  2. Therapeutic boarding school places your child in a private school environment where they are free from some of the behavioral triggers that can be in the everyday world and associated with general public school systems, such as female students, usual peers or circles of friends, and familiar authority figures. Instead, students are in controlled environments where education, intellectual honing, and therapy are the primary focus.

    According to research published by the Journal of Education and Practice, boarding schools can yield several advantages for any student. Some of the advantages mentioned in this particular published research include:

        • Students have more supervisory support
        • Students have more time available for their studies
        • Students have more satisfactory learning environment

    While boarding schools can be an exceptional choice for alternative education in a more controlled environment, therapeutic programs at boarding schools for boys provide both education and therapy. Your teenager will have direct access to therapeutic activities, counseling, correctional therapy focused on dangerous teen behavior, and more. Several types of boarding school for boys exist, including faith-based Christian boarding schools and boarding schools for troubled teens who may need special education.  

  3. Residential Treatment Centers for Boys  
  4. A residential treatment center for boys tends to offer more intensive programs for individuals who may need more one-on-one therapy and supervision. While all troubled teen boys can potentially benefit from these programs, most often, these programs are best for those who:

    • Have issues with drugs or alcohol abuse or addiction
    • Have specific mental health concerns that need to be addressed, such as ADHD, depression, or anxiety disorders
    • Have behavioral issues that may be a major risk to the boy’s safety, such as self-harming or suicide attempts
    • Have portrayed behavioral issues that could be a threat to others, such as deviant sexual behaviors

    Residential treatment should become the go-to option for an alternative school for troubled teen boys who need direct, around-the-clock monitoring. Many students who enter these residential programs have faced or will face severe life consequences because of some of the choices they have been making. For example, a teen boy who is constantly getting into violent altercations with his peers could eventually end up facing legal woes or even jail time.  

    In a residential program, teen boys are granted a highly structured setting, a routine schedule, and a litany of qualified professionals who are equipped to handle teens with behavioral issues. Most residential programs do provide academic counseling and specialized education as well.

  5. Educational Wilderness Therapy Programs for Boys
  6. Wilderness therapy is perhaps one of the most unique types of an alternative school for troubled teen boys. These programs pull the teen from their everyday atmosphere and immerse them almost 24/7 in a natural environment. According to the American Psychological Association, nature acts as a sort of catalyst in therapeutic programs for several reasons, including:  

        • Outdoor activity encourages physical health, which can support better mental health
        • Outdoor settings offer the ability for boys to learn how to be more self-reliant, which can build self-confidence
        • Outdoor environments allow for alternative forms of therapy that don’t necessarily feel like therapy

    While many of the wilderness programs for troubled teens focus on therapeutic attention and not so much formal education, many do offer alternative educational opportunities as well.

    Making a Change to Save the Future of a Troubled Teen

    Teens often lack the forethought to see just how much damage they can be doing to their own lives. Sometimes, parents have to step in and make some difficult and drastic but highly advantageous decisions about alternative school, boarding school, or another therapeutic program. If you believe it is time for you to make some serious choices for your troubled teen’s future, reach out to us at Troubled Teens for guidance.


Speak to an expert about Finding an Alternative School for Troubled Teens and your teenager.

Connect with an Admissions Counselor who specializes in "comorbidity, mental health treatment" to help your teen begin their recovery today.

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