Tuesday, April 13, 2010

An Essay into Teenage Physical Environments

Much has been said about the importance of helping teens through those difficult years we refer to as adolescence. The difficulty facing our youth today, managing their way through these perilous times, surpasses the troubles that the generations of the past faced. The availability of almost anything that may be detrimental to our youth is astounding, and somewhat daunting from a parent’s perspective. The information age has made it easy for the youth of today to find tempting yet self-destructive ways to negatively affect their future by making impulsive and immature decisions that may have devastating consequences on their long-term success.

Of the many hazardous situations that face today’s teens, arguably the most difficult to control are the environmental cues, which includes a teen’s peer group. A teen’s peers are one of the strongest influences that he/she tends to struggle with. The need for peer approval often supersedes that of parental approval, which then develops into a power struggle for control of our adolescent’s attention and influence. As the social beings that we all are, we are to a degree dependent on each other to develop social skills and personal awareness to ultimately succeed in family life and a work environment.

Because of the parent’s lack of resources in controlling peer influences for their adolescent, they are often left to the mercy of the prevailing peer group that will embrace their teen’s need for social interaction. Due to the urban settings of our modern era that most teens are growing up in, the possibility of the parents controlling all of the environmental variables such as peers is, in some cases, an insurmountable task if they attend school. Many other parents have either been worn down by their own teenage children or have an overall lack of interest in setting boundaries for their own youth, and so we become the scapegoat for why they cannot do whatever they please.

From the environmental standpoint, this is one of the areas where Sorenson’s Ranch School shines. On the working ranch, we can control their environment. Because of our remote location, there is no escaping the everyday fact of chores and responsibilities that coexist with a working ranch environment. By having control over the physical environment, we can stack things in the interest of what will be good and wholesome for the youth. Also by having been removed from an environment where they have spun out of control, they can work on reestablishing what they want to become and where they ultimately want to be. Although no one can create a perfect environment, we have invested 25 years developing the most idyllic set of surroundings to foster introspection and personal growth. This can be achieved without making a boot-camp setting, but in a more therapeutic, boarding school venue. Whereas boot camps provide harsh verbal rebukes, we can provide interventions that highlight cause and effect, propagated by personal choice and the rippling effect that has on each of our lives. A therapeutic boarding school setting also fosters the rebuilding of relationships between a parent and their children in controlled setting. Sorenson’s Ranch School is one of the few therapeutic boarding schools that is also a working cattle ranch, which is what sets us apart from the others.

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