I am the mother of a 16 year old son. We are in the midst of trying to discern if Shelterwood would be the best place for our son right now. We have reached a point at home that we feel unable to help him. He is failing school (He is very bright), angry at God, angry at his family, and has been stealing money from us. He has become verbally abusive to our whole family. We have been through numerous counselors, a psychologist, his pediatrician, pastor, etc. and no one has been able to help. He has been accepted to Shelterwood, but as a mom, I am so torn with sending him away. I was hoping to be in touch with a few parents to see how they dealt with this decision, what behaviors in their child led them to this decision, how the child felt about being sent to Shelterwood, and ultimately the result. How long has your son been home? Were you able to get the family counseling from Shelterwood that helped restore the relationship between you and your son? Was coming home difficult for your son, and have the changes he made there at Shelterwood continued as he has remained home? Anything that you could tell me, pros or cons regarding your experience would be so helpful. I know your heart has been where mine is now, and I think it would help if I could hear from another parent who has been there.
Thanks, Concerned mom
Hi Concerned Mom
You are in such a tough place and I ache for you because I’m sure every day for your family is a roller coaster ride from what you described. Yes, we were in a similar condition and made the decision around thanksgiving time, but I couldn’t let go of our “holiday”. Our son told us he wouldn’t go there and we’d need to have him taken by cops (escorts), so we did just that and it worked much smoother than I could have ever imagined. We did exactly what the service said to do and it worked. Our son was surprisingly calm by the time they got him there and cordial to us until the counselor let us alone for just a minute or two and then he lashed out in hate. Didn’t know if he’d ever speak to us again, but we had to pursue this for our other child and for our marriage…
Ten months later and a lot of emotional work, a few bumps and he came home. It has been working and I would do exactly the same thing again. He graduated recently. It isn’t perfect, but we grow and work through things much better and he is scheduled to graduate high school in May and go on a mission trip to Nepal in July!!!
You have done so much for your son, if you can possibly give him the gift of a chance to go to Shelterwood, follow their system and heal, God will bless you in a mighty way. If you do decide to send him, DO NOT PULL him at any cost or problem. Please work through the bumps and commit to see it through. I watched too many do the opposite and so did our son. He even said in his parting speech, “stop asking your patents to pull you and succeed in this.”
I’ve probably left a lot out, but will pray for you and would definitely appreciate a call from you even if we cry together. It shows what a great parent you are because you are even investigating this!
God bless you!