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Why Your Child Isn’t Going To Be “Fixed” By a Residential Program

“Fix” is a funny word, with all kinds of appropriate uses and meanings:

You can fix (fasten) the ladder to the side of the house before you climb upto clean the gutters.  

Maybe you’re still lamenting your own post-adolescent realization that WWF matches were fixed (predetermined) fights.   You can get your new puppy fixed (spayed or neutered).   You may wish that you’d signed a fixed (unchanging) mortgage on your house back in 2007. Most of us enjoy it when someone fixes (prepares) us breakfast in bed.   You can have your brakes fixed (repaired) when they’re squealing. And if you grew up where I did, you know that “fixin’ to go somewhere” means that you’re in the process of getting ready to depart.  

And yet with all of the uses of fix, even with all of its fixin’s (those are the side dishes, condiments, and accoutrements associated with foods that would make your cardiologist have a heart attack), “fix” just doesn’t apply to your child.  


The biggest reason residential treatment program can’t fix (repair) your child is because your child is not broken.  They may be struggling, they may be making poor choices, and they may have therapeutically complex clinical needs, but they are not broken.  They are humans being, and people are never broken.  You might not be thrilled with the path your struggling teen is currently headed down, but rest assured, it is anything but fixed (predetermined). What a therapeutic program can do is intervene.  A residential treatment program can be a place of healing, of hope, of growth, and of change.  It can be a place where children, and parents, learn new skills, build a new vocabulary, and begin to re-write the narrative of their family’s story.  As you go down the path of looking for help for your child remember that although they may need help, they don’t need fixing.


About the Author

headshot of Jake WeldJake Weld holds a masters degree in education and has over twenty years of experience in traditional, LD, and therapeutic schools, adolescent and young adult programs, and conventional, wilderness, and residential settings. He has served as the Executive Director of a therapeutic boarding school, the Assistant Headmaster of a specialized LD boarding school, and as the Academic and Program Director of various schools and programs.  He is currently the Director of Admissions and Business Development for Mansfield Hall, a specialized college support program in Burlington, VT, and Madison, WI.