“Those who are happiest are those who do the most for others.”
-Booker T. Washington, American Educator, Author, and Speaker
When kids enter treatment programs for problematic behaviors, mental health concerns, or addiction, support is valuable for success after treatment. Often, during treatment, we think about fixing the person with the presenting issues. We might assume that once our kids come back from treatment, they will be “fixed” or “cured.” However, successful aftercare involves healing the entire family.
Kids and their family members have been through a lot. Living with a child displaying problematic behaviors can impact us as parents or any siblings in the home. No one in recovery heals alone, and those in treatment do not suffer alone. Family members go along for the ride during all the bad times, losing sleep during late-night screaming matches, witnessing violent property destruction, having police visit the home, etc. The recovery journey is successful when completed together with family members who reach out for support along the way.
Finding the Right People
Getting support during this process can be a challenge. As parents, we might feel ashamed of our child’s behaviors. Some of the people closest to us might not understand what we are going through. We might feel “terminally unique”—as if we are the only people with these unique issues in our homes.
We are not as unique as we might think! While perhaps we are the only home on our street with frequent police visits or who have had a car stolen, these situations are not as isolated as we might believe. People are out there, struggling through similar issues, wanting to get their kids back from the brink, feeling alone and afraid. Many have succeeded in returning a sense of normalcy in their homes—even learning to better themselves through the experience.
Where to Go for Help
Humans are social creatures. We learn from one another as we share our experiences and our differences. Positive and loving people in our lives can help us get through the rough times. Parents of kids who struggle can get support for their entire families to create a healthy home for everyone. Support can come from several places and resources, such as:
- Reaching out to a child’s psychiatrist, doctor, or other mental health professionals
- Asking for others in the community, such as teachers, coaches, and neighbors, to keep an extra eye out for your family
- Family members, such as your own brothers, sisters, or parents, or other family friends
While sources like these can be helpful to us in many ways, from giving us a break when overwhelmed or providing additional resources to help us through our current family crisis, we might need a little more. We might need those whose emotional experiences ring in harmony with our own.
Support for You and Your Family
Part of feeling better and less hopeless comes from finding others belonging to our tribe. We thrive when we know that we are not alone. Whether we read another person’s story online, connect with them in person, or listen to their words, knowing that we are not so alone in our problems can profoundly impact our ability to support our parenting partner, our kids, and ourselves. Some of the following resources can help parents and families:
- For parents of kids who struggle, Fire Mountain’s Aaron Huey hosts a podcast called “Beyond Risk and Back” to discuss topics and share stories of those healing.
- Aaron Huey also runs a support group on Facebook called “Parents Teens That Struggle.” In this private group, parents can freely share their experiences and resources for help. In addition, Aaron posts several videos, live chats, and Zoom calls to talk about the challenging issues.
- Fire Mountain’s director, Shari Simmons, and her mother, Jann, host “Which Way?” focused on trauma, mental health issues, gender identity, and other topics for those in need of tips and guidance.
- Other community groups, such as Al-Anon, have been helping to connect families of those struggling with addiction. Al-Anon is based on the 12-step models employed by groups like Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and Narcotics Anonymous (NA).
- Al-Anon additionally has a group for teens and kids dealing with family issues like alcoholism called “Alateen.”
You Get What You Give
When parents, families, and kids in recovery seek support from others, they can also build the recovery community. While we might seek support for ourselves, we might find that we are also lifting others up. The stories that one family tells can help another. Our own stories can bring others out of the shadows, as we both experience the catharsis of realizing that we are not alone.
Surrounding ourselves with like-minded individuals during recovery can significantly impact our success. Whether we are in recovery ourselves or seeking support from the effects of a loved one’s behaviors, we can find strength from others. Humans need to feel they belong to a tribe. We like when others validate our experiences and understand our emotions. While we might believe others cannot possibly understand our pain, when we finally cross the barriers of shame to seek support, we find that our experiences are not so unique. When we share our pain, we begin to heal, sharing our happiness and success with those who have walked alongside us on the journey. If you have a child struggling with mental health issues or problematic behaviors, Fire Mountain Residential Treatment Center is here for you and your family. We can teach your child healthy coping skills while supporting you and your family through your current family crisis. Call today at (303) 443-3343. We’re here to help your family’s fire burn brightest.