schools for troubled teens

17 Best Schools For Troubled Teens

Adolescents who are having difficulties can benefit from programs at schools for troubled teens. 

These schools offer students and their parents the professional care they need at a school to get through the challenging time. 

Most of these schools are boarding schools so these teenagers are isolated from the setting which contributed to their negative thinking and behavioral habits.

Who is a troubled teenager?

The term “troubled teen” refers to a young person who is experiencing issues that are leading to harmful behaviors. If these issues persist, the teen will not grow up to be a contented, successful adult as the challenges go beyond the typical difficulties that kids have.

Related: 10 Best Schools For Kindergarten In The US

A troubled teen

How do I know my teen is troubled?

You will see the signs in their behavior. A lot of emotional and behavioral difficulties arise at this time.

Some of these signs include:


  • Underperforming in school
  • School refusal
  • Loss of interest in school or extra-curricular activities
  • Learning differences or disabilities
  • Behavioral


  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Trauma (or PTSD)
  • Obsessive thoughts


  • Self-harm
  • Impulsive or risk-taking behaviors
  • Substance use or abuse
  • Compulsive behaviors

Many of these problems fall under more than one category. A good example is a depression, which can manifest as a downcast demeanor at home, a lack of interest in class, and social and behavioral isolation.

What are the best schools for troubled teens?

There are many private boarding schools for troubled teens. These schools provide housing, a therapeutic setting, and specialized services.

Excellent boarding schools for problematic teens can be found in the US, Canada (particularly Toronto and Ontario), and other countries.

Some of these schools include:

1. Applewood Academy  

This is a therapeutic boarding school for students in grades 1 through 12 who need tailored academic, clinical, and behavior-management solutions in intimate classroom settings.

2. Alpine Academy 

Alpine Academy offers young women a life-preparation experience. In addition to academics, students learn how to interact with their families, communities, and coworkers.

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3. Robert Land Academy

Robert Land Academy is a private boarding school with military influence that aids boys in feeling validated, realizing their potential, and obtaining admission to post-secondary programs.

4. Brush Creek Academy

Brush Creek Academy helps once troubled teenage boys begin living a more fulfilling and intentional life

5. Re-Creation Retreat

Re-Creation Retreat is a private therapeutic boarding school and residential treatment facility for troubled females ages 13 to 17. It is renowned for its dedication to giving struggling girls customized attention.

6. New Lifehouse Academy

New Lifehouse Academy helps once troubled teenage girls begin living a more fulfilling and intentional life. They learn to become happy, confident, self-reliant, and successful adults.

7. Trinity Teen Solutions

Trinity Teen Solutions is a short-term, all-girl, Christian/Catholic residential treatment facility that focuses on treating co-occurring illnesses and mental illnesses in adolescent females aged 12 to 17.

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8. Ozark Trails Academy

Ozark Trails Academy offers a haven of rehabilitation, hope, and purpose for troubled teens. The residential treatment program at Ozark Trails Academy offers exceptional clinical counseling, fantastic academic instruction, and spectacular outdoors.

9. Gateway Boys Academy

Gateway Boys Academy helps teenage boys who have gotten off track in life to regain discipline in their life and renewed respect for authority.

10. Kansas City Girls Academy

The Kansas City Girls Academy is a program for young women who are having emotional or academic difficulties. It is intended to assist females in recognizing problematic behavior and cultivating inner strength.

11. Timothy Hill Academy

Timothy Hill Academy is a non-profit, therapeutic boarding school designed to help troubled boys between the ages of 13-17. Each campus thrives in an equestrian, adventure-based environment with the goal.

12. Master’s Ranch

Master’s Ranch and Christian Academy is a low-cost Christian boarding school exclusively for troubled and at-risk boys between the ages of 12 and 17.

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13. Thrive Girls Ranch & Home

Thrive Girls Ranch & Home is a year-round, low-cost Christian boarding school for difficult and misbehaving girls, ages 12-17.

14. River View Christian Academy

River View Christian Academy helps girls, ages 12-17, who are struggling academically due to negative influences or behavior.

15. Safe Harbor

Safe Harbor admits boys aged 15-17 who are experiencing behavior problems in the home and at school and need an alternative home setting.

16. Red Hawk Girls Academy – RTC

Red Hawk Behavioral Health Center is an inpatient residential treatment facility in Northern Arizona for girls, ages 13 to 17, who are having relationship or emotional problems that could have an impact on their future.

17. Columbus Girls Academy (Alabama)

CGA provides troubled teenage girls with a lovely campus and a structured Christian boarding school environment. The Christian therapeutic school strongly emphasizes conduct, character development, spirituality, and personal accountability.

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Why should I choose a boarding school for my troubled teen?

One advantage of a boarding school for troubled kids over the day school is that it gives a consistent approach, which enhances good outcomes. Even though a day school can offer that amount of assistance throughout the regular school day, the evenings and weekends are unstructured. 

Boarding schools for troubled kids can offer a lot of individual, group, and family therapy, even though someday schools might also offer therapeutic support.

Although day schools offer well-rounded curricula, they are unable to offer a student the amount of residential engagement amongst all the providers that they require. This interdisciplinary treatment team is normally composed of therapists, educators, psychiatrists, and residential and nursing staff.

Finding an environment that can properly satisfy your child’s requirements is ultimately what’s important. Boarding schools provide extra resources for troubled teens to accomplish their therapeutic, emotional, academic, family, and social objectives.

How do I choose the best schools for troubled teens?

Making the decision about your child’s school is not easy because you will need to decide which boarding school is the best fit for them. 

These simple steps will help:

1. Make a list of the best schools:

First, make a list of the features you believe a boarding school should have first. This will depend on how much you are willing to pay for tuition. The annual tuition for most boarding schools is from $30,000 to $60,000 so think within that range.

Other factors may include the school’s dress code, size, acceptance rate, number of students enrolled, and availability of particular sports or other extracurricular activities. Just make a list of all the other things you think are significant.

Consider your options and make your choice

The list is then used to determine which boarding schools fall within the desired range of requirements. You should now consider colleges that meet all of your requirements. 

The final stages of the procedure include applying to and paying for the boarding school of choice, taking the admissions test, and so forth. 

Your list should have been reduced to two or three schools by the time you are prepared to submit an application. Also, look into scholarships to determine if any might apply to your child before making payment arrangements.

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Does every troubled teen need to go to a special teen school? It depends on your child and how badly he or she is doing.

Ultimately, you can always make your choice from the schools we listed above.

Frequently asked questions about schools for troubled teens

How do you discipline a teenager who doesn’t care about consequences?

Always apply natural consequences. Children have a better likelihood of changing their behavior when the penalty is appropriate for the offense and reasonable. 

Also, honor the righteous deeds: Don’t only punish inappropriate behavior. Make it a habit to acknowledge wise choices.

Can you lock your teenager out of the house?

Without the child being emancipated, forcing an underage child out of the house is sometimes regarded as child abandonment, which is illegal.

Are there free boarding schools in the US?

Yes, The SEED School of Washington D.C is free. Students must check in on Sunday evenings and check out on Friday afternoons to participate in their five-day boarding program.

Where can I send my troubled child for free in California?

You can send your child to any of the following schools:
Heartland Boys Academy.
Master’s Ranch.
Pine Mountain Academy.
Vision Boys Academy.

Is there a military school for 10-year-olds?

Yes, St. Catherine’s Academy is a Catholic institution having a history in the military.


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