Maia Szalavitz On The Epidemic Abuses Of The Teen-Help Industry
The research is very clear: In the vast majority of cases, keeping children within the family and community is far more effective than sending them away. The exception would be a teen with a genuine acute addiction or psychiatric problem — which is not the same as a “behavior problem.” For psychiatric disorders and true addictions, there are professional, licensed treatment centers. Are they accessible to everybody? No. They are expensive, and insurance often won’t cover them. But the same is true of tough-love programs, and if you’re going to spend thousands of dollars on treatment for your child, I recommend you spend it on a program that has demonstrable evidence of its effectiveness, as opposed to one that probably won’t help and may harm.
Sitting in the center of the concert floor, we sang and clapped, but, as much fun as we were having, we were still waiting for proof of Steve’s story. As it turned out, we didn’t have to wait long. Midway through the concert, Springsteen leaned into the microphone and dedicated the next song to his new friend Steve.
She nodded a greeting to my husband and me, and then her gaze landed on the baby in my lap. Her hands came together in a loud clap that silenced our polite chatter, and she began to chant to my son in rhyming Spanish. He froze, his eyes widening to the size of quarters as she swept him from my arms.
My father thought men who talked about being “saved” were weak, even feminine. Religion was the domain of women; he was too busy farming and working at the ceiling-tile factory to concern himself with salvation. My mother prayed and talked to me about God behind his back.
The ultimate consequence of my time in the Seed was an overwhelming self-disgust that lingered for years. Everything seemed a mockery of itself. I fundamentally doubted the authenticity of any conviction — my own or someone else’s. I had acquiesced and adopted the Seed’s judgment for a time, and I could not easily disown it.