Wilderness therapy schools are a great help to teens and parents alike. However, like many things that are designed to help teens, follow through is also very important. In fact, it's what ties the lessons learned in Wilderness camp together with everyday life. Some teens see a lot of personal improvement in their lives at wilderness therapy school only to go home and experience what could be viewed as a "relapse" because of the home environment.
Most wilderness therapy school programs run an average of 30 to 60 days, some even extending longer than that. Because of the amount of time the teen is away from home, it's important that the communication between camp staff and parents is strongly established. Being aware of what goes on in camp and learning what works and what doesn't work with your teen is very important. In some cases, it's not advisable to pull out the teen from camp after spending only a short time in it.
Depending in the seriousness of the issues your teen is experiencing, some may need to stay in camp longer than expected. As a rule of thumb, working closely with camp staff will help you determine if your teen needs more time at camp or not. If your teen needs more time, it's more advisable to let them stay longer.
Coming home is a time or reckoning for both you and your teen. This is the time that you've been preparing for, if you've worked closely with the wilderness therapy school staff. Things cannot stay unchanged at home. While in wilderness camp, the environment was closely monitored and the activities are specially designed to help your teen. It's unreasonable to think that you can replicate the exact environment at home. Indeed, the point is to help your child reintegrate to normal life and use what they had learned from camp in practical day to day living.
Its best if the responsible adults talked over how things are going to change in the household before the teen comes home. Questions like how the teen will be treated when he/she comes home, how discipline will be enforced, what changes in routine would be made, and the like should be determined. Communicating with the wilderness school staff and attending meetings designed for parents will help you answer these questions and more. It will also determine how successful your child's stay to wilderness therapy school will be.
It would be beneficial if the whole family sat down to talk about the things that need to change and those that need to be done to help the teen stick to the right path. Feeling the love and support of the family will come a long way not just for the teen but for other members of the household.