Successful teen recovery starts with an understanding of the things parents can do to help. The foremost of support groups, parental aid revolves around recognizing not only the things that cause trouble for teens, but identifying what parents themselves can improve on, and various paths we can take to help our teens recover. Below are five often overlooked tips that may illuminate the proper course of action.
- Don’t be a Secret Monger
Parents tend to have a proclivity for maintaining an overbearing presence. Somewhere between monitoring social streams and doling out repercussions for misbehavior, the sense of appropriate discipline is lost. By preparing every step of the way, teens lose the ability to learn from their mistakes; to think independently. Parents want transparency, but helicopter parenting is becoming the prominent cultural phenomenon, rather than the alternative, a reinforcement of independence.
Teens need to be able to keep some secrets. Privacy given to teens can be empowering, because the responsibility and integrity involved is crucial in development of character. Without trust, defiance and rebellion occur more naturally, and the process of opening up in times of turmoil becomes difficult. By jumping into the breach for them, parents stunt cognitive functional growth and confidence.
>>> For more information on the overparenting trap, click here.
- Participate in Therapy
Family involvement in the therapeutic model, including therapeutic wilderness programs for teens, provides a foundation for recovery. Struggles found in a teen are often mirrored in the strain faced by the family system at home. It goes without saying that parental participation in the recovery process is essential. At Pacific Quest, family involvement is an integral part of the program. Incorporating weekly counselor discussions through phone calls, and what we refer to as “meaningful communication,” students progress from letter-writing to phone and Skype calls, learning all-the-while the weight of therapeutic interaction. When the time comes, and a teen is ready to talk about more important subjects: listen attentively and offer input, but avoid unnecessary admonishment.
- Stop Walking on Eggshells
Contrary to common action, pampering teens in their defiance does not correlate with genuine good behavior. “It’s just a phase” is no longer acceptable in the vernacular of a responsible parent. In reality, challenging the teen’s poor decisions often leads to a self-reflective questioning of behavioral choices, and encourages them to take a step back. Therapists use this tactic frequently.
Alas, teens can’t always take this kind of advice directly from their parents. The discipline associated with parent-child relationship removes the ability for some adults to be an unconditionally receptive audience. Instead, teens need to hear these challenges from someone on an even keel, such as a peer or counselor—someone who sees the error in their action, has the ability to express it without reservation and does not invoke disdain due to a difference in opinion.
- Consider a Change in Environment
Parents tend to fall victim to ingratiating behavior mentioned above when dealing with defiant teens and, gone unnoticed, the relationship can border on sycophantic. When tactics used at home fail to constructively address poor conduct on multiple occasions, one of the most important options to consider is a new environment.
The same repetitive consequences and benign atmosphere will not cater to a positive recovery. Either the stimuli or the people must change. One effective approach is to consider a complete overhaul, and to change locale. What better place than Hawaii?
- Find the Proper Support
Direct one-on-one counseling may not be the best option, if a teen’s issues get out of hand. Consider the alternative in wilderness therapy, a holistic approach to health and wellness that combines the calming effect of natural surroundings with the support of individualized therapy. Pacific Quest offers an all-encompassing take on wellness and recovery by offering therapeutic wilderness programs for teens that redefine behavioral therapy and motivates change.
As a Pacific Quest alumni parent once said, “Our family is extremely grateful for Pacific Quest! Our son has returned to his true self. There really are no words to say what we want to say, ya’ll are amazing!”
The peaceful environment perpetuated at Pacific Quest supports positive peer culture, and allows students to gain a greater understanding of self and their own place in the world. This outlook is intended to influence them throughout their lifetime in significant ways. If you are interested in finding out more about our programs, please feel free to call us at 808.937.5806