Does the program build children and young adults up, not break them down?
Some people believe that children and young adults with behavioral problems need tough love. Research shows that the best therapies and types of care focus on building kids up, not breaking them down. High quality programs focus on children’s positive qualities, not on getting them to accept stigmatizing labels. They do not force kids to open up when they are not ready to do so. Research shows that empathetic and caring relationships between children and their therapists and other staff are most likely to be helpful and that confrontational or humiliating approaches are harmful. Other questions to ask:
- How does the program view bullying, harassment, name calling, and confrontation?
- What does the program do when a child or young adult does not feel safe sharing personal information?
- How are conflicts between children and staff handled?
- Who is at the program to mediate conflicts?