There is so much that is positive about our family program visit to PQ that it could require a really long writeup to capture it all. Rather than tell you what is likely already known (great staff, wonderful caring parents, fascinating approach to deal with adolescent problems), I’ll limit my general comments to just a hearty “well done!” for the entire experience. There’s so much to like about PQ and the Family Program specifically.
During our visit, we saw a responsible, thoughtful, communicative kid who was honest and forthright. She tackled tough topics (discipline, her role in the family, her future boarding school options) and was loving and really fun to be with. She started out with a long, firm hug and lots of tears when she saw us. She then took us on a tour of the garden, and proceeded to give detailed descriptions of every fruit and vegetable, including a lengthy discussion on raising pineapples. She seemed to want to demonstrate what she had learned, and her pride was obvious.
Prior to Theresa’s family therapy session on the afternoon of the first day, we sat in our daughter’s hale and had a long talk about why we picked PQ, how she was getting along, why some stages had taken longer than expected, and lots about the future. She was thoughtful, and took complete responsibility for how things got to that point. She spoke openly about how we were her parents, and how she had re-assessed her “story” about time spent with her biological father. It was pretty unbelievable.
When Theresa joined us, we continued our open, honest conversation. I am sort of mixed up as to what conversations happened when, but there was very little that wasn’t “grown-up” and pleasant. Her ability to describe why she wants something in terms of how it impacts her and makes her feel (rather than just “I want to go to a co-ed school, dammit!”) is a major breakthrough. She said things like “I can see why you’d want X, but I’d like you to consider Y.” Very mature.
Our last workshop was run by Maureen, and it involved creating a family statue that illustrated the family dynamic. The three families we were grouped with did an A+ job of illustrating their issues, and the entire exercise was wonderful. Our daughter immediately came up with the idea of showing how she lags behind the rest of the family when going on outings, hikes, vacations, sitting in trains etc. It was her idea to create our “family sculpture” to reflect our dynamic- with her standing about 10′ away from the two of us, while we looked impatient and exasperated. She sculpted herself to look defiant, and shielded her face from us. We were overwhelmed by her honesty and creativity, even if there was a tiny bit of victimization (my legs are shorter!) The other families totally “got” the statue, and it led to a good discussion.
She asked a good deal about her future, not surprisingly, and she was working out the mental calendar of when she would make it to the “elder” stage at PQ, which she knows corresponds to our HI vacation. It was really hard to not encourage her, but we are concerned that this could be a pretty bitter pill to swallow. She expressed her desire to see her family, and not so much her desire to get out of PQ.