When your teen has spent weeks or months away from home getting help for an addiction, having them return home can feel almost as scary as it was leaving them at the rehab facility. The teen’s addiction was affecting everyone in the household before he/she left, and now that they are home again, there will be necessary adjustments once again.
Parents want to support the progress made in rehab, but they aren’t sure how and they are painfully aware that their own inexpertness affects their child. Here are some steps parents can take to maintain the positive growth in their teen after rehab.
Keep Up Teen Rehab Counseling
Most teen rehab involves some form of family therapy. The teen’s addiction did not affect only them – it affected siblings and parents too. Moms and dads usually need to wade through a mound of feelings when a child enters rehab. Guilt over letting their child down, anger that their child could do this, shame over what others are whispering about them and deep sadness over the consequences their child must face are just a few of the negative emotions parents need to process.
The teen will receive counseling to help with emotional recognition and processing and the parents need help too. The teen and the parents should maintain counseling once formal treatment has ended. There will be new emotions and expectations and everyone will benefit from help nurturing positive attitudes
Make Changes In The Home For Recovering Teens
Every family and every home could use improving. It is not assigning blame to the parents to suggest that changes might make home a better place. There probably needs to be some changes made in how the family resolves conflict. Teens have worked on conflict resolution and communication skills during rehab and they need a supportive environment to make those new skills stick.
Concrete changes that might help include removing alcohol from the home if it was a problem for your teen. Putting away video games or limiting their use may need to happen. Sitting down together at meals or planning one-on-one time for parent and child are all positive changes that could improve the home front. The point is that minor changes can make significant differences.
Avoid Hovering Your Recovering Teen
When something happens to your child, your natural tendency is to run in and affect a rescue. Now that your teen is home from rehab, you will need to re-evaluate that tendency. Parents need to find the middle ground between being aware and attentive, and being smothering. Suffocating the teen sends the message that you don’t trust them to handle things. The teen may feel stressed by your constant watching and this can have the opposite effect of what the parent desires.
Learn All You Can About The Addiction
Being informed about your child’s addiction is important. The more you know about how addictions form, what is involved in recovery and what happened during treatment, the better prepared you are to support your teen.
Grant Forgiveness During Teen Recovery
Part of supporting your teen in recovery will include granting forgiveness to everyone concerned. You do need to forgive your teenager. You may also need to forgive the friends who contributed to your child’s addiction problems. You will need to forgive yourself too for any mistakes that you realize you made along the way.
There is no way to change the past. Withholding forgiveness keeps us trapped by the past. Since you can’t alter the past and you can’t control the future, the only control left to you is how you handle the situation before you today. Learn what you can from the past, be grateful for the lesson and move on.
Hopefully, your teen made some positive strides toward healthier thinking and decision-making. You want to support those changes. It will take some effort, but by intelligently supporting your teen through recovery, the suffering of the past doesn’t have to be wasted.