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Published on Oct 11, 2023
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Juliya Smith

Programs for Troubled Teens

The story of troubled teen programs is one of hope and heartache. Over the years, these programs have been seen as a last resort for parents of struggling teens.

There are many different types of troubled teen programs, but they all share one common goal: to help struggling teens turn their lives around.

According to a report, globally 14% of teens experience mental health issues and are unable to cope with their daily life. So, troubled teen programs are a must to rejuvenate the teen’s life in the best way possible.

These programs typically offer a variety of services, such as individual and group counseling, academic support, and life skills training. While there is no one-size-fits-all solution for troubled teens, these programs can be an important step in helping them get their life back on track.

Whether you are a parent with a troubled child or a teen who is struggling, take a look at some of these programs for troubled teens.

Who goes to programs for struggling teens?

A ‘troubled teen’ or 'struggling teen’ is a term for teens having serious problems which are provoking negative behaviors in them. The teens are severely affected by their problems and they will not be able to develop a happy adult life.

Generally, teens aged between middle school age and young adults join struggling teen programs to overcome their situations. According to a report, there are around 120,000–200,000 teens receiving help in boot camps, Residential Treatment Centers, and other facilities.

They are facing adolescent problems that are mentally disturbing them and physically draining them. They are incapable of dealing with any issues because of the kind of environment they grow in.

You can find teens who grow up in stressful environments like abusive parents, bad neighborhoods, bullied friends, family conflicts, academic difficulties, peer pressure, etc. participate in such programs.

Teens with the following issues attend struggling teens programs:

  • Depression
  • ADHD
  • OCD
  • Anxiety
  • PTSD or Trauma
  • Suicidal tendencies
  • Adoption issues
  • Anger management issues
  • Defiant behavior
  • Oppositional defiant disorder
  • Nonverbal learning disorder
  • Dyslexia

👉People also read: Scared Straight Programs for Troubled Teens

Why send your teen to a program for struggling teens?

As a parent, you want what's best for your child. But when your teen is struggling, it can be hard to know how to help. You may have heard of programs that are designed to help struggling teens, but you may be wondering if they're really worth it.

At a program for struggling teens, your child will receive the individualized attention and support they need to recover. These programs offer a variety of services, such as teen counseling, academic tutoring, behavioral therapy, and outdoor adventure activities.

If you're considering a program for your struggling teen, remember that these programs can offer your child the chance to turn their life around. By getting the help they need, your child will be able to face all the root causes of their poor mental health and physical growth.

There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question as every teen is unique and experiences different challenges. But as a parent or guardian, you can notice their changing behavior and send your teen to a struggling teen program.

Benefits of sending teens to a troubled teen program

1. Change of environment

Your child will live in a safe and supportive environment away from their stressful environment and will have the opportunity to free their mind from peer pressure.

2. Build self-confidence

Struggling teens are low in confidence to make their own decisions because of failures in life. Troubled teen programs help teens to rediscover the taste of success and understand that they are more capable of doing things than they think.

3. Learn from trained professional

Troubled teens will get vigorous training from trained professionals to tackle their mental issues and physical barriers. These professionals will constantly supervise teens’ behavior and teach them how to improve them.

4. Move forward

Troubled teens have difficulty in taking responsibility and accepting mistakes. In programs for struggling teens, they will learn to accept their mistakes, learn from them, and move forward in life like responsible kids.

5. Reconnect with family and friends

Your teenage child will start opening up to you, the whole family, and friends. He/She will start sharing their problems and start forming lasting relationships with everyone.

❓You may also like: 10 Ultimate Truths About Parenting Teen Boys

Warning signs of struggling teens

There is no specific time when your teen will show signs of their struggle. But when they do, you need to observe what type of problems they are having. If there are multiple signs over a long period of time, your teen is struggling with his life and needs to be sent to troubled teen programs. Here are some warning signs:

  • Frequent mood swings regardless of the situation.
  • Excessive anger on a regular basis.
  • Extreme sadness.
  • No interest in doing any activities.
  • Degrading grades.
  • Trying to avoid family and friends.
  • Remains secretive.
  • Doesn't care about rules and regulations.
  • Becomes an alcoholic or drug addict.
  • Bad attitude.
  • Spends most of the time alone.
  • Rebels with everyone.

📛You may find this helpful: 10 Things Toxic Parents Say To Their Children

Different Types of Troubled Teen Programs

There are a variety of different types of troubled teen programs, each designed to address the specific needs of troubled teens.

Choosing the right program for your teen can be a difficult task. But it's important to remember that all programs are not created equal.

Some programs may be more effective than others, depending on the needs of your teen. If you're not sure which program is right for your teen, check out the different types of troubled teen programs described below.

1. Behavior Boot Camps

Behavior boot camps are a type of training that is designed to help teens change their behavior. These camps are often used to help them with addictions or other problems that cause them to act in a way that is harmful to themselves or others.


These camps take a similar approach that the military takes to correct one's behavior. They adopt the military or warrior aspect to run the camp on strict schedules and use harsh punishment measures to help troubled teens.

Boot camps are not for everyone, but they can be a helpful tool for those who are struggling to change their behavior. If you or someone you know is struggling with a problem that is causing them to act in a way that is harmful, a behavior boot camp may be worth considering.

2. Residential Treatment Centers

Residential treatment centers (RTCs) are specialized facilities that provide therapeutic programs for troubled teens to deal with serious emotional and behavioral problems. They create a safe environment for teens and provide teens many opportunities to work, socialize and take classes.


RTCs are typically geared toward helping teens in the short-term or long-term and they can offer a variety of treatment options, including individual and group therapy, academic counseling, and life skills training.

Many residential treatment centers provide teens with medical and clinical aid for different kinds of issues such as substance abuse, eating disorders, bipolar disorder, and many more.

If you're considering residential treatment for your teen, it's important to choose a facility that is accredited and has a good reputation. You'll also want to make sure that the residential treatment center you choose offers the specific services that your teen needs.

3. Wilderness Camps

Wilderness camps provide a unique experience that can help young people turn their lives around in a few weeks or months. At a wilderness camp, teens are removed from the comforts of modern life and are challenged to survive in the wilderness.


Troubled teens do different activities like hiking, boating, rock climbing, camping, fishing, etc. to relax their minds and start facing their problems. These wilderness programs help teens to redirect their negative emotional energy to form positive constructive habits.

If you are considering wilderness therapy programs for your teen, it is important to do your research and choose a reputable camp with authorized mental health professionals. With the right camp, your teen can benefit greatly from the experience and come out of the camp a better person. It doesn’t include an academic component.

4. Therapeutic Boarding Schools

Therapeutic boarding schools are specialized facilities that provide a structured and supportive environment for troubled teens. These schools are designed to help teens struggling with emotional, behavioral, and academic issues.


A therapeutic boarding school provides a highly structured environment that includes daily therapeutic activities, individual and group therapy, academic classes, and other activities. The goal of these schools is to help teens develop the skills and knowledge they need to succeed in life.

These therapeutic boarding schools with licensed teachers can be very expensive, so it is important to do your research and choose a school that is right for your child's needs and offers the right type of treatment for your child.

🏫Also read: How To Motivate Your Teenager To Do Better In School

5. Court-ordered troubled teens programs

Court-ordered troubled teen programs are designed to help teens who are facing legal issues. These programs are structured under the court system and support teens to get their lives back on track.

The most notable court-ordered troubled teen program is the juvenile prison. Underaged children are sent to juvenile prison to face their criminal charges and resolve their issues.


Also, Courts can send the teens to boot camps, rehabilitation programs, and therapeutic sessions. These programs fall under the court system excluding the penal system to assist the teens in a disciplined environment.

💑Check out: How To Be A Good Parent


Programs for troubled teens can be very beneficial as these programs can help teens get their lives back on track by providing support, structure, and guidance. These programs are designed to help struggling teens learn life skills, cope with their emotions, and make better choices.

If you want to know about your child’s mental health and help them in their struggle, start paying attention to their behavior in both offline and online scenarios.

As a parent, it is important to observe your kid's online and offline activities on your own. So, if you feel your child is struggling, consider using parental monitoring apps like for better supervision.

With, you can monitor their calls, SMS, locations, and social media to find out what’s going on in your child’s life.

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