Making the decision to enroll your troubled teen in a program that provides long-term solutions can be difficult for any parent or family member to make. Many families struggle with deciding what the best treatment option is for their teen. Oftentimes, short-term treatment options are unable to provide the structure and support needed to eliminate negative habits and behaviors. There are several questions that you can ask yourself to help you in this decision making process.

Key Questions

  • Do you have major concerns about your son’s motivation, drive, or confidence for the future?
  • Do you fear that his current relationships, choices, and environment are putting him on the wrong path?
  • Are you concerned for your teens physical safety
  • Are you concerned for the safety of others or even yourself?
  • Do you know where your son is, in order to be certain of his and other’s safety?
  • Are your teen’s actions resulting in having disciplinary troubles at school or run-in’s with law enforcement?
  • Are your teens actions negatively affecting other members of the family?
  • Have you exhausted all of your personal resources and feel like your personal ability to cope and function is being compromised?

If you can answer, “yes,” to any of these questions, it may be time to consider a treatment program, that focuses on facilitating long-term change. Our Admissions Coordinator is available to discuss how we may be able to help your family. Please, do not hesitate to call, we are here to help!  If you would like to request more information about Ozarks Teen Challenge: Inquire Today!

Tips from an Ozarks Teen Challenge Parent on When to Enroll Your Son

Don’t second guess yourself. 
“We know our sons need help. We’ve all heard, “it’s just a phase he’s going through”, “he’ll grow out of it” or “they’re all doing it”.  If you are considering a program, you know he needs it.”
Your son won’t hate you. 
“At least not anymore than he already does. Chances are he’ll end up thanking you.”
You’re not a failure as a parent by asking for help.
“You didn’t cause it, you can’t control it, and you can’t cure it. But, you can contribute to it by continuing to bail him out or making excuses for him.”
Time is of the essence.
“There is such a thing as “loving them to death”. Do everything you can to get your son the help he needs before he does something to himself or others or he does something that would be on his record permanently.”
You are not alone.
“There are many, many parents going through the same thing you are. Ask the OTC staff for contacts.”

Warning Signs of Drug & Alcohol Abuse

When a youth starts using drugs, they usually exhibit many different signs which parents need to watch out for. Unfortunately, many parents often write-off these signs as normal adolescent behavior and as a result they don’t realize that their teen suffers from addiction and needs help. So how can you as a parent know for sure whether or not your teen is in danger of falling into drugs? Simple … by understanding that every child is in danger of this. The parent who says “not my kid” is the same parent who will miss all the signs of addiction. A state of denial only make helping them later more difficult. So here are some signs of addiction that you, as parents, can look out for:

Dramatic changes in style of clothes, hair, music

  • Can serve as warning signs to you that your child is in danger of falling into the same kind of peer pressure when it comes to drugs.

Hanging out with a bad crowd

  • Your teen’s friends are like a mirror for your son or daughter — they look at themselves in that mirror and try to conform to what they see there.

Tardiness and/or truancies

  • Stay in touch with your teen’s school.  Don’t assume that their school will let you know about this kind of behavior.

Isolating from family

  • Children are smart – they know that the easiest lie to tell is the one they can avoid having to tell.

Changes in attitude and personality

  • Often parents just see this as normal teenage behavior and write it off. Don’t make this mistake.

Changes in sleep patterns

  • Does your teen sleep way too much or way too little. If your child isn’t sleeping much, there’s a good chance he/she is using. This is a frequent effect of stimulants.

Eating way too much or way too little

  • If your child is smoking pot with his/her friends, it wouldn’t be unusual for your child to eat a bit more food than normal. Skipping quite a few consecutive meals can be a sign of using speed.

Paranoia – everyone is out to get me

  • This is one of the most common signs of drug abuse.

Dilated eyes – red eyes – glazed eyes

  • A person’s eyes show the effects of the drugs their on. If you think your child is experimenting with drugs, watch his or her eyes.

Sudden bursts of anger

  • This doesn’t have to mean physical violence (though that is often the case).


  • If your teen is experimenting with drugs, he/she will be telling lots of lies to cover this up. Be persistent and learn what it is that they are trying to cover up.

Dramatic mood swings

  • This is often confused with ‘normal’ teenage behavior, but it can also be an obvious sign of drug abuse. Don’t simply write it off.

Excessive money spending or money disappearing

  • Drugs cost money. If your child keeps coming to you needing money, or if money keeps coming up missing from your purse or your wallet, you need to have a serious talk with your child. Especially if they always seem to need 20 dollars or 50 dollars — round amounts — since that is often the price drugs cost.

Learning these signs of addiction can mean the difference between life and death for your teen. The effects of such destructive behaviors can be devastating to students, families, and marriages.  If you or someone you know is currently experiencing any of these issues, contact our Admissions Coordinator for additional information on how we can help.