Your teenaged daughter transformed during treatment in a therapeutic boarding school, and now she is coming home. As parents, you may be eager to believe she completely transformed while away, and none of the old problems will create tension in your relationship. On the other hand, you may remain skeptical and believe she was only acting transformed to make it through the program. The truth, of course, lies somewhere in the middle. Her return home will be an opportunity for you, as her loving parents, to reinforce the positive behaviors she learned in the program and to engage in wholesome, relationship-building experiences.
The road of recovery may at times seem surprisingly easy, but at others may be horrifyingly difficult. It is important to follow the suggestions of her therapeutic boarding school. Their suggestions will play a role in helping to develop meaningful relationships and the solid social infrastructure your daughter needs during recovery.
Research shows the family plays a very important role in recovery, but it can be difficult to know what to do. Here are 5 things not to do, and 5 things to do during post-treatment.
Don’t pressure her.
Don’t pressure her to do more than she can or recover faster than she is able. These things take time. The first three months, in particular, are usually the most difficult. Allow her sufficient time to solidify and build upon her recovery.
Don’t dwell on the past.
The post-treatment recovery period is an opportunity to offer a new life to your loved one. She has taken steps towards a new beginning and her parents should allow her to continue taking those steps. Consider this beautiful tale of reconciliation.
To speak honestly is to love. It is alright to express feelings of uncertainty or misunderstanding to your daughter. Sometimes it is easier to lie, however, it will be better in the long run to tell the truth. Telling your daughter “I don’t know what to do” or “I don’t understand” is actually better than lying or saying nothing at all.
Don’t blame yourself.
Your daughter’s addiction is not your fault. Dealing out blame rarely helps resolve a situation anyways. Instead of focusing on fault or blame, focus on the power available to each party to develop the relationship into something beautiful. When we seek forgiveness from another, instead of blaming them or ourselves, sometimes we find how close we already were. Consider this story of redemption.
Don’t fail to plan.
To fail to plan is to plan to fail. This brings us to our next section of helpful Do’s. To fail to plan is to allow you and your loved one to become subject to whatever undesirable circumstances will come your way. To make a plan is to plot your course through troubled waters and safely make it to the other side.
A successful recovery plan includes five parts:
Making goals increases success. Writing down those goals increases success even more. Stephen Covey, the renowned expert on goal settings, advises creating goals in line with your deep desires and principles. To do this, he suggests creating a life mission statement, and then creating specific goals that will help you realize that mission. Work together with your daughter to generate ideas for a joint mission statement, or work separately to create your own. You may set goals that will help become a more loving parent.
Make a plan.
Once goals and missions are better contemplated, now is the time to write those down and turn them into a plan with measurable steps. It may seem tedious, but writing down your plan is a form of creation that will make easier the path to their realization. Once your mission statement, goals, and plan are written down, the hardest part is to follow through on the those recognized desires. To do this, it may be best to review them at least once a day in a positive way and to remember that doing so will enable you to help your daughter.
With the increase in smartphone technology has also come an increase in addiction recovery technology. This can come in the form of apps or even simple text messaging. Dr. Rachel Gonzales at UCLA recently created a pilot program to study the effectiveness of text messaging technology in recovery. She called it ESQYIR. ESQYIR selected 80 volunteers with various drug-addicted backgrounds and followed them during their recovery period after treatment. The volunteers were split into two groups; half received the mobile texting ESQYIR program, and the other half received standard care through a 12-step program. The half in the ESQYIR program would receive consistent daily text messages full of positive reinforcement content. The results were striking. The group in the ESQYIR program showed only half the odds of relapse. Find out if your daughter’s boarding school does a post-treatment texting program, or enroll her in one from another source. You may also try apps such as Jane McGonigal’s breakthrough gamified app, SuperBetter.
Many boarding schools employ what is called a recreational therapist. They know firsthand the power that playful recreation can have on youth and families. After your daughter has spent a year or longer in treatment, the last thing she will want is to still be seen as a troubled teen. She has worked hard to make a transformation. Having fun together can change the way people interrelate and perceive themselves and others. When an activity offers the appropriate balance of fun and challenge, each person has the chance to rise to the occasion and that’s when magic happens.
Often times, that which is focused on will increase. Focus on the bad, and it will increase. Focus instead on the good, and the good will increase. Milestones big and small should be celebrated during recovery and beyond. Find meaningful ways to celebrate significant occurrences such as reconciling with a loved one, consider career options, or overcoming a fear. Some celebrate by engaging in a favorite sober activity.
Help Your Teen Now helps parents find the right solution for them
Help Your Teen Now can help you find the right therapeutic boarding school for your daughter, and help you welcome her back home. Help Your Teen Now is a powerful resource for parents struggling to determine how to help their troubled daughter. We can help you provide the proper environment for your teen daughter to develop the positive habits she learned while away. Contact Help Your Teen Now for a free consultation and learn more about how we can help. Just call 1-800-901-7347 and speak to an experienced parent today.