Monday, January 25, 2010

An Encouraging Story: Turning a Teen's Life Around

I met a man at a professional meeting: let’s call him “Jeff”. When I talked with him about my book, he said he could have used it a few years ago. He and his wife would have liked the reassurance of knowing things would work out.

Jeff’s daughter “Beth” was a wild teen: drinking, smoking cigarettes and pot, hanging out with much older boys although she was repeatedly told she wasn’t allowed to see them. She’d react with anger, screaming and yelling, cursing her parents and bullying them.

By the time she was 15, Jeff and his wife had endured enough. They were terrified for her, afraid of her, and had finally reached a decision. They needed help and relief and had to do something. They found an educational consultant who tested Beth and had many forms for the parents and teachers to complete. She was bright but angry with no respect for her parents. The consultant recommended three different boarding schools and helped Jeff and his wife through the process of selecting a school and sending their child away.

They sent her to a boarding school for troubled teens in another state, not providing a real explanation to family and friends other than to say she wanted to go to a boarding school. They didn’t tell the truth: it would have been humiliating to share how horrible it had been in their home.

Once Beth had received a lot of therapy and started to mature, they started to repair their relationship. While she was away, the parents went in for counseling each day to cope with their situation, not blame each other, and learn how to be parents.

Beth was away until she turned 18. Having earned her high school degree she was ready for college. Jeff and his wife had used her college savings to pay for boarding school, so she went to community college while working full-time, earning her associates degree last year. She’s off at college now and on-track in her family relationships.

Jeff said just a few years ago they didn’t know if she’d make it to age 18 but now her future is bright.

It’s an encouraging story, isn’t it?

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