Julie and Darren Maxwell knew they needed help for their son, Benjamin. His anger and outbursts were affecting his relationships with his parents and his three siblings. The Maxwells wanted to find Benjamin help before the problems got worse.
What brought you to the Ranch?
Darren: We were having challenges at home with the family in general, but Benjamin was just having a hard time. As life got harder and school got harder, as things got more demanding of his time, he sort of started to pull away. He started to have some troubles in school – not terrible, but the teachers were starting to let us know, and we were having issues at home. There was a lot of emotion, sadness, anger, and he was pretty much only happy if he was doing what he wanted. We realized the house was getting unruly and we needed some help.
How learn about Eagle Ranch?
Julie: I’ve taken Benjamin to a number of different doctors, therapists psychiatrists. A couple of years ago one of them suggested the Ranch. My immediate response was, “No! He’s not ready to be sent away,” and she basically told us she couldn’t help us anymore. We just kind of put it to the side.
When did you come back to the idea of Eagle Ranch?
Julie: I knew we had to do something. I was spending time at work Googling where to go. It was pretty bad at home.
Darren: We had a couple of instances – one of which he called 911. In each of these instances, he had emotional breakdowns. Then there was a real painful sadness and fear afterwards. I think the way he was acting was devastating to him, he was depressed.
What was appealing about the Ranch?
Julie: Once we came and saw how it was run, we were more comfortable. We loved the idea of it being faith-based and a place of love versus a harsh, strict place.
Darren: It’s beautiful, and there’s a lot to do. There’s an on-campus school. I liked the homes, the houseparents, the counseling. I liked the fact that Benjamin could come home regularly.
Julie: I also liked that it involved the whole family too, because we knew that was a big part.
What changes have you seen in Benjamin? Has it affected rest of family?
Julie: I definitely think Benjamin is able to stop and think a little more before he gets angry, and he’s able to verbalize what’s going on with him and what’s upsetting him much better. He’s more flexible. The main thing is he’s not having the extreme blow ups anymore. It doesn’t mean that he doesn’t get mad, but he seems to be able to control it better.
What components of the program or people at the Ranch were most helpful?
Julie: The counseling, for us, was helpful. I think we learned a lot. That was one of the biggest helps for the family.
Darren: I agree with that. I thought our houseparents were good. I liked the way they communicate. And I didn’t spend a lot of time with him, but I really respect Mr. DeWaal at the school. I think he’s got a character, an integrity and a very direct way in which he communicates.
What would you tell others about Eagle Ranch?
Julie: I love the Ranch. I tell everyone I can think of about it.
Darren: The thing that struck me the most is the counseling you get as a family, and the fact that it’s Christ centered. It shows up all throughout. Whether we’re talking with someone at school or in a parent group or in a one on one setting, it doesn’t matter. In any engagement we had, it was always clear they’re giving you a really good instruction for learning to deal with things, learning the tools to better understand how to deal with things and doing that from a Christ-centered place.