Making the call to send your teen to residential treatment is one of the most difficult decisions you may have to make when it comes to your child. As parents, you want to be your teen’s hero and help them through any trial they face. Admitting that your child needs additional help is a brave, selfless act that they will thank you for in the future, no matter how much they may fight you in the present. Even though you feel you made the right decision for your child, you may encounter new stress and anxiety in their absence.
The First Nights Away
At first, when your teen is checked into residential treatment, emotions may run high. You may begin to second guess yourself and your decision to get help for your child. Your first night home without your child may be spent missing them and wondering if you made the right choice. Then, after a few days pass, you may feel a sense of relief knowing that your child is safe and in the hands of people and professionals who are dedicated to helping them gain confidence and make powerful changes in their life. Along with these feelings may come an intense desire for your child to be back in your care, accompanied by worries about their well-being and concerns about how they’re behaving.
Here are some tips for remaining calm and maintaining trust in your decision while your teen receives residential treatment.
Put Trust in Your Teen
Your teen is much stronger and more capable than you are giving them credit for. They are your child, after all. They may be resistant to treatment at first, but residential treatment centers for teens are not simply round-the-clock therapists’ offices. There are many recreational activities provided by centers to help give your teen fun and life-altering experiences they will never forget. They will make new friendships and form deep bonds that will last far beyond treatment.
It is important to remain confident that your teen has what it takes to face their challenges head-on. Expressing your worry will only make them doubt themselves more. Exemplify the confidence that you wish to see in them, and they will achieve more than you ever expected. If you put your trust in them, they will do the same.
Focus on You
Sometimes the best way to cope with worry is through distraction. The time you and your child spend apart from each other will help heal the wounds from the battles you’ve faced with them previously. This breathing room may be necessary for progress to be made when they return. In this time, you can distract yourself by spending time doing activities you may have neglected in the past due to a full schedule. Now that you aren’t feeling the need to be in full parent mode all the time, you can indulge in yoga, hiking, taking an art or writing class, or potentially receiving therapy yourself as well. Do the things you enjoy with the extra time you have to reduce the stress of your teen being away.
Click here for advice from Fire Mountain Recovery’s Co-Founder, Aaron Huey, for parents when their child is struggling in his podcast episode titled, “Thrown to the Wolves.”
Be A Sponge
The better you learn about and understand the things your child is dealing with, the more they will trust and confide in you. Whether it is depression, substance abuse, mood instability, self-harm, isolation, or a mental diagnosis like ADHD or autism, understanding how these struggles affect your teen’s everyday life will make them feel more accepted and appreciated by you.
Once your teen returns home from residential treatment, they will be used to a certain routine that you may want to begin incorporating into your family’s lives. Preparing a game plan for your child’s return provides a good distraction from the worries of their absence and is a productive way to be prepared and eliminate worry when that time comes. Some of your worries may even be centered around what life is going to look like upon their return, so having a flexible plan can help add a little bit of predictability. If you are unsure of where to start, you can ask your child’s therapist or counselor about the best plan of action or visit the link for Fire Mountain’s webinar’s here.
Great progress takes time, even for the wisest and most mature among us. Practicing patience in this time will pay off when your teen returns home. It is important to remember that recovery is not linear and that there may be setbacks. Your child may resist treatment. Patience and understanding are two of the most important things to model for your teen. Remember that whatever trials may come, you and your child will face them as a team.
Sending your teen to residential treatment will be one of the toughest decisions you will have to make for their health. While they’re away, you may experience stress and anxiety about their well-being. In these times, it is important to model the confident and patient person you hope for your child to become. If you instill this in yourself, you will be amazed by the progress your teen makes while receiving residential treatment for their behavioral issues or addiction. Fire Mountain Residential Treatment Center in Estes Park, Colorado believes that you cannot heal the child without healing the parent. We offer treatment to teens ages 12 through 17 for depression, anxiety, addictions, ADHD, family conflict, and more, but we also provide parent recovery along with it. Call us today to explore treatment options at (303) 443-3343. We will help you to find a sense of calm while we work with your child.