Therapeutic boarding schools can set a child up for success after years of hard work and sacrifice. The stability and growth teens experience can truly reinvent them, and give them a new outlook on life. However, as parents, you haven’t reached the end of the road when your teen finishes boarding school. In fact, your child has just begun his or her journey after establishing a new foundation.
After the foundation is set, work on the house must begin. Your child’s “house” might include vocational training, higher education, a career and new relationships. It also might include continued care for substance abuse and behavioral health concerns.
Mental Health and Substance Abuse Treatment
Free 12-step groups, such as Nar-Anon and Alcoholics Anonymous, offer on-going support. For more serious addictions, consider using medical coverage and investigating further inpatient treatment. Your child needs to continue with counseling and the proper use of prescription medications as directed. The key here is to not have a gap in coverage during the transition childhood to adulthood. Each situation is different, so talking about health coverage early is the smartest route.
Going to College
The perception that a child cannot go to college after graduating from a therapeutic boarding school is a myth. In fact, your child might write about overcoming obstacles in a courageous, confident manner, showing responsibility, self-awareness and a drive to succeed.
College can not only prepare your child for a career, but also create a new social network for him or her. Most colleges teach a variety of mandatory courses beside the chosen major, producing well-rounded adults. Combine higher education with internships as discussed earlier, and your child should have more opportunities, opening future doors to success.
The Job Market
Your child will need to learn to navigate the challenges of a job market so that he or she can lead a successful life. They might consider opportunities that aren’t immediately lucrative but that have a high payoff in the future. Consider resume builders that set your child up for success. Internships, apprenticeships and subsidized employment opportunities can provide them with excellent learning opportunities, helping them build necessary experience.
Communicating with Your Child
Your child will undoubtedly undergo emotional responses as he or she makes his way in the world, navigating higher education, work, and new relationships, while balancing any mental health or substance abuse issues. Communicating with your child about their feelings will help them during the process. A few keys to success when engaging in conversation with your child include:
- Talk with them about your own feelings.
- Address their fears and motives for those fears.
- Discuss behavioral issues, ask questions.
- Look for emotions that seem out of character.
- Stay sensitive to your child.
- Never minimize your child’s feelings.
- Model strength and compassion.
- Seek forgiveness when you make mistakes.
Talk to your child about their goals, and help them accomplish what they set out to do. Solid planning will minimize risk and maximize the success that began with boarding school and continues into adulthood.