In a recent conversation with a parent in crisis we were discussing the logistics for the upcoming transport when the parent said to me, “Is it okay if I pack a bag of comfort food; some of his favorites like sports drinks and Pop Tarts to let him know that its all going to be fine?”

I told the parent that I understood the thought behind the bag of favorite snacks, “…but the thing that will make your son know that everything will be fine is that once you have told him that you have provided a new opportunity for him to change his life and get back on track and you have introduced the people that will take care of him and safely see him to the program, you allow him to trust what you have said.”

I went on to explain to the parent that immediately following your directive the Team will establish boundaries for the duration of the transport. Within these boundaries your son will be told that they will not lie to him and if they something will happen, it will. This means food too. When your son sees that the boundaries set are kept, the trust begins.

Dependency on the Transport Team for his very basic needs is where the trust-bond begins. Allowing your son to rely upon the Team to supply his food establishes trust. Once the trust is established your son will more readily accept the directive you gave and from that moment your son begins to have acceptance for the opportunity you have provided.

So when you are packing for your at-risk teenagers transport to the therapeutic boarding school or wilderness program you have selected, remember no Pop Tarts, please.