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Troubled Teens and Holidays

For parents who've had troubled teens living at home, the holidays are usually filled with mixed emotions.  As the holidays approach, parents hope the seasons and celebrations will bring out the best in their troubled teen like in the days past when as children they wanted to be their best selves for Santa, but often they holidays only amplify the problems the family faces.  On “normal” days or in “normal” months, most families are already stretched to the limit with things to be done, problems to be solved, and needs to be met.  Holidays add another layer of expectations, commitments, chaos, and business.  Financial stresses are magnified and at times it feels like every family member is at their breaking point.

Even with all of this going on, we can choose to change our expectations, make our own choices of what is important and necessary, and look at it all from the perspective of “it is what we make of it.”

Keeping things simple, realistic, and positive, especially when balancing the needs of little children, troubled teens and other family members is important.

Dr. Mayer talks about troubled teens and the holidays, offering a unique approach to making things work for everyone.


Originally from :

In this lively, sharing and yet highly instructive broadcast Dr. Mayer calls for us to change our approach to the Holidays. They don’t have to be the HollerDays like they have deteriorated to become in most families. We seem to brace ourselves for the worst in families as we approach the holidays and the media loves to jump in on sensationalizing the holidays as full of stress and tension and all the bad about families. Let’s be positive about the holidays again. We can do this if we follow the overriding principle of Dr. Mayer’s: If it is not Fun you’re Done! Don’t force you and your family into negative situations and events.

The holidays only make it tougher when seeking treatment for troubled teens.

When I realized that I needed to find help outside my home for my son, I dreaded the upcoming holidays on one hand, but had hope that somehow he would change on the other.

As Thanksgiving drew closer and I was still researching residential treatment centers in Utah, making calls, and scheduling visits, I dreaded the idea that maybe my research would be complete and my decision made before the holidays were here.  I knew he need help that I couldn't provide, but also hoped the magic of the season would be enough to make it all go away.  I hated the idea of having him live away from home during the holidays.  I worried that he would hate me for not waiting.  It was a tough decision, but I knew that treatment needed to be the priority over my feelings, and I also knew from past experience that he didn't want to be at home or with family anyway.  His new “friends” were all that mattered and the dangerous “fun” they were having.

These concerns were added to the list of questions and concerns I would address with the residential programs I would be soon visiting.  As I visited the programs I was able to ask about what they did for the holidays, what Thanksgiving would be like, a typical Christmas day, and birthday.

Every program is different in the way they approach the holidays with their students, so it's important to ask about these special days and ask the students themselves when visiting what they thought and how they felt spending the holidays in residential programs.  The students I talked to in each program said that of course they would rather have been home, but their experience away from home only made them more appreciative of the importance of family and loved ones.

Parents Fight For The Right to Choose Care for Their Teen

I don't know of any parent that doesn't want the best for his or her child.  Unfortunately our society has degraded to the point that radical elitists and activists want a say in what you do with your children's care.  Of course there are situations where authorities should take action in cases of abuse, endangerment, etc.  But when parents try and get help for their troubled teenagers it seems that the loudest criers are those with the least amount of credibility or credentials – and are often completely anonymous as to their identities.  But somehow they are treated as if they are authorities in the subject matter beyond the known, licensed, and accomplished professionals in medicine, psychology and therapy.  In fact, they (the activists) ridicule these professionals when the diagnosis of the troubled teen conflicts with the political views of the activists.

Activists love to ridicule the professionals employed in health care for troubled teens, attacking the credibility of a psychologists, medical doctors or therapists as quacks only working for money, while at the same time attacking schools, programs, and residential treatment centers for troubled teens by picking apart their employee list saying “this person has no license” – referring to the non-professional staff such in departments such as admissions, groundskeeping, athletics, etc.  demanding that everyone be licensed while ignoring the fact that everyone that needs a license has one.  This includes doctors, therapists, psychologists, school teachers, nurses, substance abuse counselors, nutritionists, etc.

This kind of “I know better for your child than you do” attitude doesn't just stop at anonymous activist and do-gooders, its creeping into the mainstream system of healthcare in general.  Recently stories in the news have surfaced where parents have actually lost custody of their children because medical professionals determined their diagnosis of the child to be superior to the diagnosis of other medical professionals.  In one case parents lost custody of their child simply by wanting to take the child to another doctor for a second opinion.

Even more recently in Connecticut, parents of a 15 year old teenager lost custody after taking her to a hospital to be treated for the flu.  When the doctors found out she had a preexisting condition, they made an additional diagnosis and determined that the families medical specialist for the condition was wrong and contacted DCF to intervene with the parents and take custody because the “Parents were too active in pursuing medical care” for their daughter.

Here's the story…

After a long history of medical problems, a West Hartford teenager is now “trapped” inside a hospital with seemingly no way out. Fox CT spent the past few.  “It is kidnapping,” says Lou Pelletier. Boston Children's Hospital 

via Hospital Holds West Hartford Girl For 9 Months After Parents Argue 

Teen Suicide and Self-Harm: Glorified in Troubled Teen Chat Rooms

While I was researching a program for troubled teens, I came upon various internet chat rooms, Facebook groups, and twitter threads that were supposedly places for troubled teens to go to for help with their problems.  I was shocked at what the organizer and contributors considered “help.”

Each group or chat room was filled with filthy, vulgar, and outright obscene commentary about their lives, their peers, their families and the world.  The common thread through it all was that “everyone else is stupid, and I alone have it all figured out.”  This mindset was especially directed towards parents, who apparently are at the root of every teenagers woes.

Sadly, each time a new “troubled teen” would join the group each participant would welcome her (or him) assuring her that she's in the right place for help among all of her “friends” who “love and support” her, then evolving into week after week tirades of the group members about her parents stupidity of sending her to a therapist to help her with the aftermath of her teen suicide attempt.  ”WE know how to help you”, they say “because we've been there.  Again degrading into even more vulgarity filled rants about the “unqualified” therapist and how it is all a sham and fraud.

Each night as the new troubled teens checked in, and steeped some more in group hate and misery, they all ended their chat in their own sign off.. “we love you..” “we're all in this together” “I'm glad I have real friends here” and so on.  The ironic thing is that other than Facebook, all of the participants are anonymous.  They could all be 40 year old men trying to groom teenagers they think are real.  fWith everyone being anonymous, how is it possible that (if most of the participants are real teenagers) that they could actually feel “loved” by the group enough to be persuaded to ignore the help of family, parents, and professional caregivers?

The darker side of the troubled teen chat rooms are when they glorify all of the misery they are going through, encouraging and instructing each other on self-harm and even teen suicide.

Unfortunately many teen feel a connection with the imagination of what their “friends” are like and what their motives are rather than the real relationships of their close friends and family members.


Dark Side of ‘Chat Rooms’ for Troubled Teens: Talk of Self-Harm Thu, 31 Oct 2013 18:10:15 GMT

THURSDAY Oct. 31, 2013 — While social media can help vulnerable teenagers seeking support, Internet use can do more harm than good for young people at risk of self-harm or teen suicide, a new study suggests.

Researchers from Oxford University in England found conflicting evidence on whether online activity poses a positive or negative influence for vulnerable teens, but observed a strong link between the use of Internet forums or “chat rooms” and an increased risk of suicide.

Read more …


Hopefully parents of teenagers with or without serious problems will monitor their internet usage, especially in chat rooms or groups where harmful behavior and teen suicide is glorified.