For parents of kids struggling with mental health challenges and addiction, finding hope can be difficult. We might feel buried in negative thoughts, guilt, or shame. Recovering a feeling of optimism about a bright future ahead can be a struggle as we help our kids pull their lives back together following active treatment.
For parents of Fire Mountain Residential Treatment Center, hope can be challenging to cultivate. Following treatment, alumni and their parents move forward with new skills, yet they might fear, “Will this work?”
Dr. Charles Fay of “Love and Logic” outlined what he calls the “Triad of Hope” while speaking with Fire Mountain’s Aaron Huey on “Beyond Risk and Back.” Dr. Fay’s “Triad of Hope” creates concrete steps to building hope for families and those in treatment. Rather than viewing “hope” as an abstract concept, we can foster hope by working on the three concepts discussed by Dr. Fay.
What Is in the “Triad of Hope”?
Dr. Fay outlines three key points that encompass the “Triad of Hope.” By focusing on these three points, parents can foster hope and influence remarkable outcomes in recovery.
- Healthy Relationships
- Healthy relationships are essential to success in recovery.
- Support means that we allow our kids to “experience their experiences” while offering caring, loving, and powerful empathy.
- After exiting treatment, relationships create a feeling of support and understanding for the person in recovery.
- For parents to best care for their kids, we take care of ourselves first, our parenting partner second, and then we can be complete for our kids.
- Parents can also support one another to foster hopeful feelings.
- Healthy Boundaries
- When a teenager arrives home from treatment, we have to set boundaries and limits.
- After leaving Fire Mountain, parents and kids should have a contract that will set the ground rules and expectations.
- Boundaries show that we care about our kids enough to set limits that keep them safe and healthy.
- By having a contract, parents and kids can create a plan moving forward to guide them following treatment.
- Success Experiences
- Both kids and parents need to experience success to build hope.
- We might not see the results or positive growth right away, yet we need to remember to trust the process!
- Hope will develop following the experience of success.
- Look for the small wins to build the momentum of hope.
The Smalls Wins Add Up
Hope will build momentum as kids continue along the right path. We might be looking for the “big breakthroughs” or apparent signs of growth. Sometimes, we have to remember that not every victory will “jump out” at us. Small wins add up over time, leading to more and more “success experiences.” Look for subtle positive signs, like:
- Spending time on school work
- Getting along with siblings
- Helping out around the house
- Engaging in a healthy hobby or exercise
- Choosing a healthy snack over junk food
- Going to bed on time without being asked
- Spending less time on social media, video games, or the internet
Sometimes, we might have expectations that our teenager will be “cured” following treatment. Treatment is just one part of recovery; however, the journey lasts a lifetime. Daily healthy habits add up over time with consistency. As our teenagers move forward, we can look for these subtle changes indicating that something is working. Once we notice the positive changes, however small they may be, we can see that recovery is occurring.
Reflecting on Changes
When looking for success, keep both the “small wins” and the “bigger picture” in mind. Look back on where your child was before treatment. How are they today? In six months, look back again—do you notice improvements? Are grades getting better? Is your kid making healthier choices? Do you get into arguments as frequently? Often, change develops gradually. We have to look back now and then to notice the more significant improvements.
Know What You Can and Cannot Control
By focusing on healthy relationships, healthy boundaries, and looking for “success experiences,” you and your child can foster a sense of hope in recovery. The “Triad of Hope” outlines actionable steps you can make to achieve what is often viewed in the abstract or relegated to “wishful thinking.” However, remember that you cannot control everything, and you may experience temporary setbacks along the way.
Keep yourself focused on what you can control. Will your child always make the right decisions? Will they be “relapse-resistant” following treatment? Will you never experience conflicts in your home again? You cannot control what happens, yet that does not mean “hope” is out of bounds. Continue to learn from the experiences, deal with the conflicts that arise, and continue moving forward to brighter days.
“Hope” does not need to be an abstract concept built upon wishful thinking. While we cannot control everything that happens, we can foster a sense of hope by following Dr. Charles Fay’s “Triad of Hope.” The three key points of building healthy relationships, setting boundaries, and looking for “success experiences” can help us feel hopeful about our child’s recovery progress. We might not notice significant changes overnight. Remember to look at the daily victories and reflect on the “bigger” changes down the road. As time goes on, we can look back to where our child was before treatment and notice significant improvements. If your child has stayed at Fire Mountain Residential Treatment Center in the past, remember that we are still here to support you and your kid. Reconnect with us today by calling (303) 443-3343. For additional tips and guidance, listen to our podcast “Beyond Risk and Back” with co-founder Aaron Huey.