Friday, December 17, 2010

Sorensons Ranch

On December 15, Jody Brand and Marlene Hatch took 13 girls to Snow College South for a tour of the cosmetology department. They were able to see the classroom where the students do all their bookwork. They also saw the different rooms where the students practice cutting hair on mannequins, practice doing nails on each other, both acrylic and gel, and of course where they do manicures for each other. We went to a huge room where our girls watched the students at the college practice cutting hair on real people. The college students were all laughing, and having a great time. They made going to school there look like so much fun.
Chad Price our tour guide and head of the cosmetology department, told the girls that there is 1 hour of bookwork for every 5 hours of practical work.
Our girls were each assigned one of the students going to cosmetology school to give them a manicure. They were able to talk to them one on one and ask them all the questions that they had about the cosmetology program. The main thing that seemed to make a big impression on our girls was that you can get a great job that is fun, and pays well, while you continue your education.
It was great for our students to be introduced to new ideas and see some of the opportunities available to them.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Troubled Teens and Consequences

The problem with a lot of troubled teens is that they haven’t made the connection between their behavior and the outcomes of their behavior. Why is this so? For many it is because they have been rescued by their parents and not allowed to experience the consequences of their actions. This is usually not because their parents are over-indulgent, but because of their deep concern and care for their children. If a child does not learn to put the two together, though, when they are young, then they are heading for trouble by the time they reach adolescence.
There are two types of consequences that parents need to be aware of, natural and logical. In years past, when children grew up on farms natural consequences were an integral part of their lives. If a child was given the chore of feeding the chickens each morning before going to school and didn’t, the natural consequence would have been that the chickens would suffer and their egg production would dwindle, affecting the whole family. The child learned that their actions had consequences beyond just that of being disciplined for not doing a job.
Logical consequences are consequences that have been set in place by the parent or person in authority, such as, “If you don’t eat your dinner, you can’t have dessert.” Here at Sorenson’s Ranch School we have a program in place to teach troubled teens that their actions have consequences. The program is based on a point system. The students learn that certain behaviors lose points and certain behaviors gain points. Based on the number of points a student has, they can be on level one, two, three, four, or five. Each level, going up, has additional privileges for the students.
Initially, teens arriving at Sorenson’s Ranch School with little or no prior experience of connecting their actions to consequences struggle for a while. As they gain experience in managing their own behavior, they are able to gain privileges by moving up the levels. They are able to see the results of their good behavior as well as their bad behavior. Teaching a struggling teen that their actions have consequences not only for them but also for those who are concerned for their welfare is a process that takes some time and is not something that can be changed overnight.
Sorenson’s Ranch School augments its behavioral modification program with a quality education, excellent therapeutic services, and experiential learning opportunities that one can only get on a working cattle ranch. Troubled teens find a place away from the hustle and bustle of modern life where they can concentrate on learning and changing maladaptive behaviors.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

The Holiday Season for Those with Troubled Teens

The holiday season is a time of excitement and anticipation as families plan for get-togethers, holiday meals, and gift-giving. It is a time of year that families usually look forward to with happiness and joy in their hearts. However, for some families there is a shadow hanging over them as they anticipate the coming holidays. For families who are struggling with a troubled teen that is out of control there is the hope that the holidays will go well and as expected, but also the fear that everything may come apart at the seams. Will their adolescent join in on the family functions and be congenial with family and friends? Or will their teen be surly, flippant, or even obnoxious to those around him, ruining the festivities for everyone present?
Many parents of troubled teens hope that if the holiday season goes well, it will mean that their teen has made a turn for the better, and that what they feared most will not have to come to pass. No parent wants to have to send their child away, even if they know it may save their life. We all want to think that we can do this ourselves. We are good, capable, and loving parents. And yet, for some of us, all the love, care, and concern that we have been giving to our troubled teen just gets thrown back into our faces. Rules are ignored and scoffed at. Behavior is beyond unacceptable. There is a feeling of a loss of what to do in order to stop the downward spiral.
Sorenson’s Ranch School has helped parents faced with the agonizing decision of what to do for their troubled teen for over 25 years as a residential treatment center for troubled youth. Before that we were a seasonal camp for troubled inner-city kids to get away for the summer. Over the years we have grown into a fully staffed and JCAHO-accredited residential treatment center for troubled youth as well as an accredited high school, grade 7 through 12. We have licensed therapists trained in dealing with the most difficult problems, such as RAD, BPD, and addiction issues.
If you are a parent with a troubled, out-of-control teen this holiday season, let us give you some hope with some words from other parents who also faced the difficult decision of what to do for their troubled teen:
“While we are fully aware that we must be diligent in our efforts to remain drug free, we feel the people at Sorenson’s Ranch have helped tremendously by developing our daughter’s love for animals…We are in awe of the changes she is making daily.”
“When our son came here, his future was dim and small. Now, thanks to you, it’s bright and big.”
“Last year at this time was very lonely for me and for my husband. Our son was with you for just over two months and we were trying to adjust to his being in someone else’s care. It was so hard and uncertain as to the outcome. Today I am relieved and loving every bit of being a mom. My husband and I are both so thankful for your love and care of him.”