The Family’s Role in Teen Recovery
To a teen, recovery from depression, behavioral issues, an eating disorder or substance abuse can be a frightening and daunting experience. Whenever a young woman takes the brave path of battling these demons, she needs all the help she can find.
The most successful recoveries include family participation and help. When parents and other family members get involved with a teen’s treatment program, they can help reinforce positive new behaviors while providing hope, love and support. When families take an active role in a teen’s recovery, it improves her chances of successfully overcoming her problems.
Understanding Family Relationships
In order for teens to fully recover from crisis, addiction or mental illness, parents and other family members may need to make changes themselves. Teens are influenced by the behaviors, attitudes and habits of their parents, siblings and others close to them. Parents must recognize this and, if necessary, seek out treatment for their own mood disorders, addictions, relationship problems or other health issues.
Some parents may have problems with their own codependent or enabling behaviors, which can work against their child’s recovery, affecting her mental health and well-being, and reinforcing addictive or negative behaviors. A qualified therapist can help parents understand how they affect their teens, and they can work with families on establishing positive patterns of behavior.
Involving Family in Teen Recovery Plans
The most effective treatment plan for any condition or issue is one that is individualized. Teens, of course, are encouraged to assist in the development of their own treatment, as this can be the best way to determine their needs and find ways to address them.
Parents, however, often know their teens better than anyone, understanding how they learn and think. It is essential for parents to share their insights with the therapy team, as this input can help make sure that teens receive the most appropriate course of treatment.
Participating in family therapy is just as crucial, because it can help teens and parents build strong bonds, develop good communication skills and learn how to support each other.
Providing a Supportive Environment
The behaviors and skills learned in treatment can be difficult for some teens to employ, once they return home to the environment that fed the problem. Without adequate support, teens often return to their old patterns and habits.
Successful recovery almost always requires that changes be made at home. Triggers, which are situations or events that can lead to relapse, must be identified and managed.
For example, an event like shopping for clothes could be a trigger for certain eating disorder behaviors, while stress, fear or frustration could lead to a relapse for an addict who is used to taking drugs as a coping mechanism. Teens coming home from a residential treatment program will need a great deal of support, and parents must be available to talk, provide ongoing support, and help them work through any issues.
Help Is Available
The professional treatment team at Havenwood Academy is committed to working with girls and their families to provide effective treatment.
We understand that behavioral problems don’t develop in a vacuum; they affect and are affected by each member of the family. For that reason, our treatment programs involve the family in a variety of critical ways, helping young women learn new coping skills in a loving environment that’s built on trust.
When family members participate in the healing process and take steps to provide support at home, teen recovery can be achieved.