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Troubled Daughter

by Dore Frances, IEC, founder of Horizon Family Solutions, LLC
In May a family called me to see how I could assist them with a plan for their troubled daughter.

She was angry at everyone, was having daily emotional outbursts, not motivated, unhappy with everyone, spent way to much time on the computer playing games and being in chat rooms and had no interest in school or her art class; a story not unfamiliar to many parents.

After much discussion we decided to enroll Tami in a licensed wilderness program. Seven weeks later Tami invited me to attend her graduation ceremony with her family. There were a lot of hugs and tears of joy as Tami and her parents had found a new respect for each other and perhaps most importantly Tami had found respect for herself.

After the celebration, as I was getting ready to leave, I thanked Tami for the invitation to be there, congratulated her on completing the wilderness course with such insight and asked her what one thing in particular she learned that I might share on her behalf with other parents and students.

"Tell-em" she said, "that we create our own reality".

I smiled and thought to myself, so true. As I thought about what she said I asked myself, why it took seven weeks in the outdoors for her to realize this and what now? What role do I now play in delivering Tami's message?

The question is - How much do we protect our adolescents from the reality they create? It is in our adolescent's best interest to learn this lesson while the stakes are low. For example the morning alarm clock lesson. How often do we wake and reawake our teen in order for them to be on time for school?

When they are late for school or for what ever, do we allow them to solve the problem or do we solve it for them? When they miss the bus what do we do?

Do we take them to school or allow them to walk or call a taxi to be paid for by them? Do we make room in our lives for our adolescents to experience their own reality? As we get older the risk of reality gets greater and more expensive: getting expelled or suspended from school, trouble with the law, turning to alcohol or drugs to deaden the emotional pain, not being able to live on our own as an adult. When is it best to learn Tami's lesson? When it is about the alarm clock or something much more serious?

Think of Tami's wilderness program experience.

Wildernesses is a short term experiential program where in an accelerated environment one learns the true value of living with their own reality. When we can teach this lesson at home we are all better off.

When an adolescent is already defiant and out of control, this is an option that works. Finding the best wilderness program to match the adolescent's specific needs for long term results is something Horizon Family Solutions has great success in achieving for many families all across the United States and Canada. Licensed Wilderness Therapy Programs for Pre-Teens, Teens and Young Adults

Dore Frances, IEC, is an educcational consultant, childs right advocate, parent coach, specializing in working with troubled teens and their families in the United States, Canda, and abroad. See her site at: or contact her by phone at:(541) 312-4422, or email
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Disclaimer: Internet Special Education Resources (ISER) provides this information in an effort to help parents find local special education professionals and resources. ISER does not recommend or endorse any particular special education referral source, special educational methodological bias, type of special education professional, or specific special education professional.


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