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Thoughts on Paris Hilton’s Message

Mary Warren
Mary Warren

Independent Educational Consultant
and Parenting Coach

I commend Paris Hilton for sharing what she experienced as a teenager attending several troubled teen programs in her new documentary. It saddens me to hear how she was treated and the trauma that resulted from the draconian practices at that school. 

It is good to see that she’s accomplished so much despite having had this horrible experience. But, I am grateful that she can use her fame to shine a light on the troubled teen industry’s dark history. 

I am unique because I am a parent of two children whose lives were forever changed for the better after attending a therapeutic program. And that experience is the reason I became an Independent Educational Consultant and Parenting Coach. 

Over the last twenty years, I’ve witnessed boarding schools and other troubled teen programs that have failed or were shut down, either by regulators or by scandal. I’ve seen firsthand the therapeutic youth programs that follow clinical guidelines and are focused on the kid’s well-being impact many lives for the better.

I’ve been an advocate for change in the industry and higher transparency and regulation. I’ve steered families away from boot camps and programs that follow draconian practices that cause PTSD and harm your relationship with your children.

And, today I encourage you to:

  1. Work with a therapist, work with a parenting coach, evaluate all of your options before making this difficult decision. 
  2. Do your research and get the facts, work with schools and troubled teen therapeutic programs regulated by state and accredited.  
  3. Choose a treatment program that is clinically sound and under the supervision of medical personnel. 
  4. Speak to families whose children have graduated from the treatment program and excelled. 
  5. Avoid youth treatment programs that are not forthcoming with information and excludes your family from the process. 
  6. Partner with an independent consultant who knows the industry and can help you navigate beyond the marketing brochures. 
  7. When in doubt, trust your instincts. 



Not all at-risk youth programs are as good as they appear in a marketing brochure. Deciding to send your child to a residential treatment facility or a therapeutic program is the most difficult decision any parent can make for their beloved child. Please make sure you choose the right fit and most therapeutic treatment model where they will thrive and be safe.

Image Credit:  Eva Rinaldi CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

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