Although most troubled teens have numerous "partners in crime," few of them have real friends. One of the benefits of a therapeutic boarding school is the chance to find out how healthy friendships work. One troubled teen who has been openly critical and judgmental of virtually everything and everyone at the school, was recently asked to name his friends. He could name only one other boy. "But I judge him, too," he admitted. He also admitted that he saves his harshest judgments for himself.
One of the most helpful things we can do for this boy is to teach him acceptance. The 12 Steps are all about acceptance. So is the Serenity Prayer, recited throughout the day here. Once this judgmental teen accepts that nobody is perfect, including himself, he can end his quest for perfection and start opening himself to the possibility of real happiness and true friendships in his life.