When troubled teenage boys are first settled into a residential treatment center, it is not usual for them to be upset with their families. These boys have been following a dangerous path but most believe their behavior is normal, even acceptable and it is the parents who are in the wrong. This can make the transition difficult and many parents are apprehensive when it comes to the first family visit.
To help you prepare for your first family visit with your son in residential treatment, we have a few things you can do to prepare your family and feel more at ease.
Read The Progress Report
If you have placed your son into a reputable therapeutic program then the program will supply you with reports regarding your son’s progress. Read these reports carefully with your spouse, sharing only what you think is necessary with your other children.
The progress reports will allow you to understand how your son is progressing through the program, what kind of behaviors he is displaying, and how he is doing academically. By seeing how he is doing while in treatment, you will have a better idea how to steer the conversation when you do visit with your son.
Follow The Therapeutic Visitation Guideline
Depending on the residential treatment center your son is enrolled in, you may encounter different therapeutic visitation guidelines. One example of the family visit guidelines at Liahona Academy is that a family therapy session is required at the start of the visit. This helps all the family members understand each other better and can help smooth out potential communication issues.
If your family cannot make it to an in-person visit, Liahona Academy uses a secure online video conferencing service. That way you can still visit with your son and still receive the benefit of family therapy. Not all residential treatment programs provide this service, so check carefully.
Take Time For Personal Preparation
There are sometimes many unpleasant events which lead up to parents placing their child into a residential treatment center. This can make visits a tumultuous time for all family members, which is why it is so important to take time to personally prepare yourself for the first visit. Some of the things you should do are:
- Focus on speaking positively of all your children
- Attend individual therapy
- Acknowledge the problems but don’t dwell on them
- Reconnect with the rest of your family
The goal of residential treatment is to help your troubled child back onto the right path. Family visits are a key part of this reintegration. Do your best to prepare for them so your teen can finally live the successful life you’ve wanted for them.