Articles

What Is a ‘Locus of Control’ and How Does it Affect My Teen’s Behavior?
In psychological terms, peoples’ locus of control refers to their perceptions about who or what is ultimately responsible for the course of their lives and the positive and negative experiences they have.

Remote Control Parenting: Understanding the Benefits and Limitations of Technology
Parents often have a love-hate relationship with technology. For most parents, it comes down to picking and choosing the technologies that will genuinely improve the lives of you and your loved ones, while maintaining close interpersonal bonds and plenty of time enjoying active, outdoor activities.

Winter in the Field: A Holiday Your Teen Will Never Forget
As the winter holidays approach, parents of troubled teens across the country are hoping “things will be different this year.” Instead of worrying about how the holidays will go, if their son or daughter will create discord among family members, or if this holiday season will be as tumultuous as the last one, many parents of adolescents who are barely getting by in school or at home are taking advantage of the upcoming holiday break to enroll their teens in wilderness therapy.

Saying “NO” to Your Teen
One of the first things we notice as parents is that teens don’t respond well to the word “no.” Our once perfect, sweet little children turn into complete monsters at the mere mention of the “no” word. It’s almost as if the teen years are a horrifying repeat of the terrible twos, but without the relief of naptime.

Coping with Holiday Stress
During the holiday season, stress and pressure are as inevitable as tacky storefront displays and repetitive music on the radio. But that doesn’t mean that any of this has to ruin one of the best times of the year for you and your friends and family.

SUWS Students Inspired by Quiet Peace, Silent Power of Wilderness
When Jerrie Dee Harvey leads a group of struggling adolescents into the Idaho desert, she introduces them to a new experience that has the powerful potential to change their lives: Silence.

Ford’s ‘MyKey’ System Gives Parents Greater Control Over Teen Drivers
Ford Motor Co. has announced a technological innovation that the company is promoting as a way to improve the safety of teen drivers and enhance the peace of mind of moms and dads across the country. The “MyKey” system will give parents the power to limit what their teens can and cannot do while driving vehicles that feature the new technology.

On the Outside Looking In: School-Phobic Students Incapable of Attending Class
First identified in the early 1940s, school phobia – the fear so extreme and so debilitating that it renders students incapable of leaving the house and entering the classroom – presents with symptoms similar to those of agoraphobia, panic disorder, and separation anxiety.

Dogs Enhance Copper Canyon’s Animal-Assisted Therapy Program
Copper Canyon Academy has been widely recognized and commended for its innovative and successful equine therapy program. But horses aren’t the only four-legged therapists on the Copper Canyon campus: A small-but-growing program that partners students with dogs is also meeting with considerable success.

Dying to Fit In: When School Stresses Trigger Eating Disorders
As young people across the country return to the classroom, many high school and college students may experience back-to-school stressors that lead to unhealthy, and in some cases life-threatening, weight losses.

Parents Can Help Ease Students’ Back-to-School Stress
For too many of today’s youth, returning to the classroom also means descending into a stress-fueled depression that can lead to a series of self-destructive behaviors.

A Matter of Maturity: Is Your Teen Ready to Get Behind the Wheel?
Getting a driver’s license remains one of the most eagerly anticipated milestones of teen life. But years of disheartening statistics have inspired legislators and safety advocates across the country to question whether 16-year-olds are really ready to get behind the wheel.

Five Steps to Rebuilding Trust Between Parents and Teens
Trust is a fundamental building block of parent-child relationships, especially as children develop into teenagers. Trust is a two-way street. In order to gain their parents’ trust, teens have to demonstrate a pattern of trustworthy behavior.

Intriguing and Intelligent: Three Ways to Nurture the Introverted Teenager
New brain research shows that the differences between introverted and extroverted temperaments are rooted deeply in the brain, and are strongly influenced by genetics. While extroverts are about three times as common as introverts, and many parents feel their children would fit in better if they could become more extroverted, there are benefits of introverted children, and parents can appreciate and nurture these children through the teenage years.

Summer Vacation Is Almost Here – Do You Know Where Your Teen Will Be?
With less structure and adult supervision, the summer is ripe with opportunities for teens to fall into a bad crowd, experiment with drugs or alcohol, or get into other forms of mischief. If your teen has been struggling during the school year, more trouble may be awaiting you in summer.

When Going Away Is the Only Way
Most experts advise that the best way for teens to deal with negative peer pressure is to walk away. But how can a child walk away if he still goes to the same school or lives in the same neighborhood as the bad influence? If you are worried about the impact of a negative peer group, sometimes getting your child in a safe educational environment away from home offers the best chance for change.

Staying Connected While Your Child Is Away at Wilderness Camp
The skills teens learn in the wilderness must be practiced, reinforced, and tested in real-life situations at home. A quality wilderness program won’t make families do all of this work on their own. If you’re considering a wilderness program for your troubled teen, take a close look at the family services each program offers before making a final choice.

On Track for Graduation: Boarding Schools and Wilderness Camps Help Troubled Teens Catch up in School
While many parents are reluctant to take their child out of school during the school year, if your teen is in a downward spiral at public school, the problem will only get worse if you wait.

In With the “In” Crowd – Warning Signs Your Teen Is in a Negative Peer Group
Many aspects of teenage life influence your children’s behavior – parents, teachers, friends, and the media are just a few. But a teenager’s peer group has the power to dramatically change your child, in both positive and negative ways. If your child has befriended a trouble-maker, here are a few warning signs and tips on what to do, and what not to do, to get your child back on track.

Technology Takes its Toll on Teen Sleep
With many teens occupying bedrooms equipped to the rafters with technology, kids are getting less sleep than ever, according to the results of a 2006 poll by the National Sleep Foundation. The poll found that only 20% of adolescents get the recommended nine hours of sleep on school nights, and 45% sleep less than eight hours on school nights. What’s a Parent to Do?

Cyberbullying Can Have Deadly Consequences
Parents need to know about a relatively recent (and quite deadly) phenomenon called “cyberbullying”. Taking steps now to determine whether your child is susceptible to this disturbing trend may help you and your family avoid problems later on.

Festive Follies – Alcohol and Holiday Parties
The holiday season is supposed to be a happy, jolly time of year, but for many families it is a time of stress and depression. Perhaps this is why alcohol figures so prominently at holiday parties. For parents, it’s important to realize what message is being sent when alcohol becomes the focus of the festivities.

Will My Child Succeed in School This Year?
If your child’s grades were slipping last year, you may be concerned the same problems will occur this school year as well. Chances are that unless you have taken some steps to intervene, the child will stay on the same path.

Rescuing Your Child for $450 a Month
Private secondary education can be quite affordable as banks make low-interest student loans available for boarding schools and other residential programs for children and teens.

How Can I Send My Child Away?
Parents often feel guilty about making the choice to send their child to a residential program or boarding school. However, if your child is struggling at home and school, this can be the most loving choice and can put you child on the path to success.

Text Your Teen 4 Better Communication
Have no fear, moms and dads, text messaging is here to save the day, or at least make it a little less stressful, and it’s easier than you think. Texting, text messaging, instant messaging and IM’ing are all the same thing, although instant messaging or, IM’ing for short, are usually used for computer conversations, not cell phones.

Caught up in the California Wildfires? Don’t Forget Teens Are Hurting Too
Residential fires can be particularly difficult situations for children and teenagers because they threaten two areas of basic security, according to Dr. Robert Butterworth, a Los Angeles psychologist. He said that for any dependent child, the predictability of the physical environment and the security of one’s parents are the basis of security. Young people will naturally react whenever their basic security is threatened.

Sibling Aggression: Why Can’t My Kids Just Get Along?
Many parents have experienced what scientists call relational aggression among their offspring. Parents are responsible for controlling sibling aggression so that it does not escalate into sibling abuse or severe physical or emotional exploitation.

Can Your Teen Have Too Much Self-Esteem?
The so-called “self-esteem movement” of the 1970s has proved to be ill conceived; recent findings show high self-esteem for the sake of personal validation, meaning self-esteem that is not based on actual personal achievement or positive behavior, is not necessarily a healthy thing; rather phony self-esteem can be a very self-destructive thing.

Teens Discover Cheap New Hallucinogenic Drug
Salvia divinorum, sometimes called “the new LSD,” comes from a cultigen or a plant created by man. While LSD “trips” can last eight to ten hours, Salvia divinorum generally works in the first minute or so and only lasts about five to fifteen minutes.

How to Be a Great Student: Suggestions from Two Professors
Changing the study habits of children and teenagers, and even college students, is not complicated or impossible and will help your child become a better student.

Writing Well: The Key to Success
Writing well will help your child in almost every school subject, and in reaching major goals in his or her life.

Taking Tests with More Success
Many students get caught up in the self-fulfilling prophecy: I am bad at taking tests. However, taking tests is a skill that can be learned like any other skill.

Natural Consequences, Compassionate Logic: Turning Behavior Modification Inside-Out
Behavior modification, traditionally defined as altering human behavior through operant reward and punishment, works well in many Instances. Yet it can work even better when we let the real world modify our children’s behavior by not standing in the way of their experiences. This approach is particularly important with teenagers, who will soon transition to independent lives as adults.

Dad’s Role in Teen Drug Use
Few parents fully understand the power that they wield in keeping their children alcohol and drug free. Dads, in particular, tend to “disengage” themselves from the family picture, absorbing themselves in work and leaving family dinners, school functions and outings largely to Mom.

Enabling Teen Drinking
We’ve all heard the rationale that some parents use for allowing their teens to drink, however the reasons for not allowing your child to drink are more persuasive than any rationale for allowing your teen to consume alcoholic beverages.

Is Early Childhood Behavior Predictive of Teen Substance Use?
Are behavior patterns in kindergarten-aged children predictive of substance abuse in their teen years? According to several research studies that have followed groups of children into adolescence and beyond, the answer is yes.

Desperate Parents with Out-of-Control Teens Seek Help From Summer Wilderness Camps
Counselors who work at therapeutic summer camps say that parents are often at the end of their ropes by the time they turn to them for help.

Dual Diagnosis Teens: When Drinking and Drugging Is Really Something Else
Teens often self-medicate themselves with street drugs or alcohol when an underlying diagnosis is overlooked.

A Generation Tethered to their Helicopter Parents: Over-Protective Child-Rearing Ruining Kids’ Lives
Helicopter Parents refers to parents who constantly hover over their child in search of dangers. If anything, no matter how trivial, upsets their ward, they swoop down to fix it.

I Was Sure I Had More Pills Left – Is Your Teen Stealing Your Prescription Drugs?
Part Two: Protecting You Family from Teen Pharmaceutical Swap-Meet

The culture growing between young people who abuse prescription drugs is poignantly different from that around other narcotics. Not only can young people often afford to take them every day, the primary means of trafficking prescription drugs is through social networks – friends and classmates.

I Was Sure I Had More Pills Left – Is Your Teen Stealing Your Prescription Drugs?
Part one: Understanding the Threat and Why it is Growing

Young people are abusing prescription drugs in rapidly increasing numbers. Just as with other narcotics, the risks to our youth are tremendous, not only as an immediate hazard to their health, but also because it sets teens on a proven path to other criminal behavior.

Narcissistic and Entitled to Everything! Does Gen Y Have Too Much Self-Esteem?
In the 1980′s world of child rearing, the catchword was self-esteem. Unconditional love and being valued was the prevailing philosophy. The result of these child-rearing practices has been a measurable increase in narcissism and a generation that has a deeply embedded sense of entitlement.

Equine Therapy for Autistic and Asperger’s Syndrome Kids
Specially trained physical therapists, occupational therapists, and speech-language therapists use equine therapy with autistic children and teenagers with a wide range of other types of disabilities.

Choosing a Summer Camp for Your Child
Choosing the best summer camp for your child is important. The right camp setting will not only increase social skills through interactions with other children, some of whom may be very different from your child, but it will also offer enriching and exciting activities and help to foster self reliance and self esteem. A successful camp experience may also promote your child’s acceptance of new situations in the future.

Senioritis: Saving the Last Year of High School
Many teens slack off during their last year of high school. Once they get their college acceptance letters, they take fewer classes, drop out of extracurricular activities and let their grades slide. Those who aren’t going on to college feel free to “zone out” in class. After all, they believe they’ll never use facts about Shakespeare or the Civil War once they graduate.

How Horses Help Kids with Emotional & Behavioral Issues
Equine-Assisted Therapy is an experiential therapy that is particularly effective with children and troubled teens. Horses are naturally social animals with personalities, attitudes, fears, and moods, and they are very sensitive to the energy around them. They will respond appropriately to human interaction, allowing teens to experience a sense of connection and participation without the negative feelings sometimes associated with traditional therapy.

Planning for the Prom
The night of Prom is second only to high school graduation for teen drinking, drug use, and the crimes and accidents that come with these preventable behaviors. It can feel like Prom is such a large-scale event spanning your teen’s social scene that there is little that can be done to affect it. Taking a few steps back from Prom night, however, options begin to appear.

Connection between Bullying and ADHD
Bullying affects both victim and offender. Many different scientific studies indicate that most children have been victims of bullying in school, and that the children who tend to be bullies also tend to have a diagnosis of ADHD, and/or anxiety and depressive disorders.

Ouch! What a Report Card!
What to do when your child brings home a poor report card. First, calm down. Then consider some important questions.

Working Ranches: A Positive Environment for Troubled Teens
A working ranch is rustic and reminiscent of the way our ancestors lived. Crops in the field, cattle and horses in the pasture – such a setting creates a quiet and serene environment. Over the last hundred years not much has changed about life on a working ranch. The work on a ranch is not just about having fun and building character; it is a necessary part of keeping the ranch running from day to day.

Valentines and Cupids, Not Just Birds and the Bees
It’s Valentine’s Day, the red-letter day for love and romance. In your teen’s world of hip hop, hook-ups and ‘ho’s, is there still room for Romeo and Juliet? For big mushy Valentine cards with lace? The answer is yes. Not only do teenagers want to find true love and romance, they want parents and “sex educators” to talk about it.

The End of Fat Camp
For decades, parents frustrated with their children’s weight have sent them for a summer away to “fat camp” to melt off the pounds with other children with weight issues.  Many parents see these fat camps as an avenue to help their children lose weight and gain self esteem. The problem is, many of these kids just regain their weight when they return home.

Tips for Raising Healthy, Drug-Free Teenagers
For many kids, drug and alcohol use is a fact of life in their teen years. It is one of the ways they express their individuality, daring, curiosity, and rebellion. The most effective and most important skill parents can have to help their teenagers steer clear of drug and alcohol abuse is communication.

New Year, New School?
Making a mid-year transition isn’t as tough as you think, and it could be just what your child needs.

Determining Your Teen’s Curfew
Working with your teen to establish an effective curfew can go a long way toward keeping them healthy, safe, and focused on their responsibilities. A successful curfew not only gets your children home on time, but keeps a daily conversation going to let you know what their plans are and where they go when plans change.

University of Wisconsin Scientists Link Autism to Brain’s “Fear Center”
Scientists have discovered that a region of the brain is smaller in autistic boys. The amygdala is the size of an almond and known as the brain’s “fear center” and it’s function is to organize memories around emotions. The differences could explain why autistic people have trouble developing social skills and “reading” other people’s faces for emotions.

Even Experts Have Difficulty Diagnosing A Child’s Problems
Years ago, such children were just considered “discipline problems” for their parents and teachers.  Today’s approach is to recognize physical differences in brain chemistry and structure and to use medications and therapy.

How to Avoid a Family Disaster at Thanksgiving: Plan for a Holiday that’s Just So-So
There

: that harmonious American family happily sitting around the turkey-laden table. See them on the covers of women’s magazines. See them in ads for tablecloths and centerpieces. See them on television and at the movies. Doesn’t that family just make you crazy? Actually, that image of that perfect family can make you crazy, according to many leading family psychologists.

My Child Is Out of Control – How Can Aspen Help Me?
If you are in a crisis, we have a wide variety of options that can help you get your child on the path to success.

CyberBully and CyberGossip: A New Threat to Your Teen?
Most parents worry about their child becoming a victim of online sexual predators. A much more common and underreported problem is cyberbullying and cybergossip. Cyberbullying takes many forms, but the most common is by using email or instant messaging. The bully sends a constant stream of vicious messages, often anonymously, to ridicule or threaten the victim. They are sent not only to the victim but also to everyone he or she knows.

Boomers Tell Kids: Do As I Say, Not As I Did
You want your kids to say no to drugs, even though years ago you said yes. You want to “have the talk” but you feel like a hypocrite every time the subject comes up. The uncomfortable feelings make you avoid the subject, yet you feel guilty because you want to be a good parent and warn your children about the dangers of drug use.

Protect Your College Student From Binge Drinking
How can you protect your child against the dangers of heavy college drinking? You should be aware of your child’s drinking habits, understand the atmosphere at your child’s college, evaluate your child’s risk factors, and keep the lines of communication open.

The Parent-Teacher Conference
The Parent-Teacher Conference is a valuable tool to obtain an objective description of your teen outside the home and in an academic, social environment. In order to make the most of the conference, you should be prepared with a list of questions.

Knowledge Is Power: Educate Yourself About Your Teen’s Experiences
Adolescence is a time of profound changes in your teen. By education yourself and remembering how tough this period of their lives can be, you can help them transition to adulthood successfully.

Building Momentum: How to Keep Your Child on Track after the Start of School
Now that the dust has settled from the annual start-of-school chaos, it’s a good idea to have a game plan for keeping your child focused.

Halloween for Teens
Teens are always in either a state of limbo, veering manically from one personality to the next, trying them on for size. What better holiday for them than Halloween, when they can put on a costume and become someone completely different without long-lasting repercussions. Here are some ideas and tips to make Halloween safe and sane for you and your teen.

Teen Addictions and Other Mental Health Issues
In the past, adolescent, teen, and young adult addictions focused on eliminating the drug or chemical use and dependency. However, nearly all teen addictions have various mental health issues underlying the addiction that needs to be treated.

Parents Rediscover the Power of Rites of Passage
Wilderness therapy programs are outdoor experiences that allow teens to once again take part in their own heroic journey, often as reluctantly as the heroes of ancient lore, but also often with equally profound transformational results.

The Impact of Trauma On Teenage Addiction
Traumas in childhood often create a predilection to addictions later in life. Trauma causes changes in the brain and body, impacts emotions and behaviors, and can lead to addiction.

Rolling Admissions Get Teens on Track through the Summer
Therapeutic schools and wilderness therapy programs with rolling admissions offer you and your teen the distinct advantage of being able get your teen the help he needs sooner than waiting for the next school year.

What Can You Do Now to Ensure Your Teen’s Success?

For many teens whose previous school year did not go well, the approach of September can be a source of anxiety. Parents whose teens struggled during the past school year still have time to use this critical window of opportunity to help their teen prepare for the next year.

My Teen Isn’t that Bad!
If you have noticed changes in your teen’s behavior but don’t feel he or she needs an intensely therapeutic environment, there are boarding schools that offer a strong structure and college preparatory academics that can keep your teen from skidding off track any further. These “on the line” kids benefit greatly from the boarding school environment.

Don’t Fall Into That Parenting Trap
Everyone who has ever parented has made mistakes. That is part of the training of becoming a good parent. There is no exact right or wrong way on how to parent but we all follow some guidelines that we have learned along the way to help us be the best parents we can be. There are actually some identifiable parenting traps, that when identified, can help you avoid making some of those mistakes.

Five Ways Teens Can Find Trouble This Summer

Summer should be a period of freedom for teenagers to enjoy having fun and hanging out with friends. But for many teens, it’s an open invitation to experiment – with danger. Find out what to watch for and ways to keep your teen safe this summer.

Smart Summer Alternatives for Teens

Teens who have struggled with behavioral, academic or emotional challenges during the academic year have some additional options. Learn about the most effective options today.

Help Your Teen Make MySpace a Safe Space Online

Learn what you can do to make your teen’s cyber networking as safe as possible.

Weathering Spring Break: Six Simple Solutions

Read our spring break guidelines to help your teen avoid temptations
and spend their time as constructively as possible whether they’re
at home or away.

Progress Report Time, Part I: Where Does Your Child Stand?
With mid-term grades and progress reports upon us, for most teens, the moment of truth has arrived. How is your teen doing?

Progress Report Time, Part II: When It’s Time to Face the Facts
If your teen’s first progress report confirms the concerns you had at the end of the last school year and over the summer, now is the time to take action.

Stepping In When You’re a Step Parent
As a step parent, you may face additional challenges when dealing with a teen with emotional or behavioral problems. This article offers tips on handling what can be a very emotional situation.

Benefits of All-Girls’ Boarding Schools
Why girls who attend girls-only boarding schools tend to do better than their peers in co-educational settings.

Don’t Delay: Five Reasons to Make a Change Now to Help Your Teen
With the school year fast approaching, many parents hesitate, believing “school will fix it.” However, if everything is the same as last year, this will rarely be the case.

Single-Sex Education
More on how girls thrive in the single-sex classroom.

Safety in Wilderness Programs
An interview with Dr. Gil Hallows, Executive Director of Aspen Achievement Academy

 

Be sure to check out our Fact Sheets, which cover topics from ADHD to Substance Abuse.