Monday, April 28, 2014

X is for Xtreme

X is for Xtreme
Is it extreme to send your son or daughter away? How do you know whether or not they will outgrow their childish behaviors?  Honestly, it’s pretty hard to tell. The good news being, anyone is capable of benefiting from what we learn here at Cedar Ridge Academy Private International Therapeutic Boarding School. The staff is trained to deal with anything from anxiety to promiscuous behaviors. The program is set up so that regardless of what your child is struggling with, being here will allow them to improve tremendously in life. If nothing else, the boy or girl is given the opportunity to get ahead or get credit recovery because we are a blended learning model allowing each student to work at their own pace. The concerns most parents have when they are feeling like they need to send their child away are called presenting problems here. They are defined as the behaviors that are showing up that usually are covering up a vulnerable fear or feeling. The director, Rob Nielson, created the fears chart that basically sums up all the irrational fears we (as human beings) tend to have. He created it so that when you come to Cedar Ridge you can learn to identify what it is you are scared of, what you would do at home to avoid feeling the “uncomfortable feelings” (avoiding behaviors are usually what gets students sent here) and how you can approach the uncomfortable feelings so that the intensity of the fear is lowered immensely.  The major fears include fear of abandonment, not being good enough, failing, being successful, not being in control, having responsibility, being rejected, trusting others, and getting close to people.

A boy works on his therapy packet. Down time and alone time
help the students figure out their own fears
We are taught that there are many layers to the fears that cover up what is really going on. A good example to illustrate how we learn is this: a young boy is told by his father to mow the lawn and get an allowance. He mows the lawn and is extremely excited to run in and tell his father that he did it, expecting approval. Instead, his father unintentionally crushes his spirit by telling him he needs to do it again because it is not good enough (or up to his standards). The boy takes this as he is not good enough for his father and begins to avoid. He tells his father he can’t mow it again and makes up excuses. His father thinks he is just being lazy and yells at him. The boy then starts hanging out with his friends more often and getting involved in the wrong crowd. He sees them doing drugs and they tell him it helps to calm the nerves. The boy is nerve driven because he feels like he is incapable. He starts to do drugs to calm down and avoid feeling uncomfortable and unhappy. His dad and mom then think he is being oppositional and send him away for his drug use when really he is just a scared, hurt boy that feels incapable of being good enough. Here at Cedar Ridge, the staff works with the students to get to the fears beneath all the presenting problems.

So to answer my own question, we all have fears, so no, no case needs to be extreme because everyone can benefit from being here.

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