Now that you have sent your child to a Utah boarding school, you are wondering what to expect when he returns home. You have been involved in the program from day one and want to create the best possible environment at your residence in order to help your family rebuild upon his homecoming. The following tips can provide you with guidance when your son comes home.
Creating a Contract
A contract establishes responsibilities, privileges and consequences if your son does not follow the behavioral guidelines that you have established. Your son will be used to lots of structure after returning from a therapeutic boarding school. If you follow up with similar expectations at home, your child should respond accordingly although he might test the limits to see if you mean business.
A written contract allows you to clearly define your child’s behavior and outline a specific course of action that you will take if he does not comply. You will have fewer compliance issues because the contract is written. He cannot say that he does not understand something because you have reviewed it with him.
Your Son’s Responsibilities
At the same time, your son is learning new skills and developing communication strategies. He is also learning how to be internally motivated instead of depending on external motivations for behavior. As such, he no longer needs to be threatened by consequences but instead learns the value of discipline and hard work.
However, he will not need to figure out how to make these changes on his own. Instead, he will have a specific aftercare plan that might include personal therapy, prescriptions, vocational training, mentoring and additional support. Depending on logistics, he might even be able to meet his new therapist prior to leaving the therapeutic behavioral school. This will help him transition from the structure of school to home, where he will need to put everything that he has learned into practice.
Activities for Your Son
While at school, your son followed a structured schedule and kept busy with all types of activities. He should continue this high level of activity at home so that he does not become bored. Recommended options might include:
- Faith-based activities
- Art or creative classes
- Family time
- Hobbies and
- Any other healthy activities that interest your son.
Teens seem to find trouble when they are bored. If you and your son can develop a list of ideas, you can avoid problems before they even start.
What to Address in a Home Contract
You might cover some of the following topics as applicable:
- Home responsibilities
- School work
- Basic expectations – respect toward others, polite language, etc.
- Time with friends
- Media time – electronics, games, phones, computer or television
- Other free time
- Allowance and money-related matters
- General appearance and
- Any other issues.
If you start with strict limits, you can easily give more freedom as your son earns it. However, it is more difficult to take away freedoms after the fact.