20

Thursday

You were a troubled teen—you, with your marijuana cigarette and your backtalk. But unless you were unlucky, your frightened, frustrated parents didn’t send you to a reprogramming center complete with sleep and food deprivation, physical restraints, and endless demands for confession and denunciation that could have been lifted straight from a Solzhenitsyn novel. In Help at Any Cost: How the Troubled Teen Industry Cons Parents and Hurts Kids, Maia Szalavitz examines scientifically specious “tough-love” programs, including boot camps and wilderness treks, which have broken up families, left thousands of kids with post-traumatic stress disorder, and killed dozens. Without the legal right to challenge their parents’ wishes—or the standards of admission and discharge—kids are forced to endure these “treatments” for years. What cured your teen troubles is what cures almost everyone’s: time. But how would that get viewers to tune in to Montel Williams? Szalavitz reads at noon at the Cato Institute, 1000 Massachusetts Ave. NW. Free. Reservations required. (202) 789-5229. (Janet Hopf)