One of the hardest things to do as a parent is admit that, sometimes, you simply aren’t the right person to help your child through a tough time. Sure, you want to be that person. You might have even spent years trying to be that person. Admitting that someone else might have more success to provide treatment for you child may feel like failing.
The truth, though, is that while it is one of the hardest things you can do, sometimes it is also the best thing that you can do. Asking someone else to step in and help or even take over for a while doesn’t mean that you don’t love your child. In fact, it is proof that you love your child–you’re putting your child’s need to be healthy and get ahead of your own ego and your desire to feel like Super-Mom (or Super-Dad).
One of the areas where this is especially difficult is when your child suffers from an addiction or a behavioral disorder. It would be so great if simple treatment through out-patient therapy and lots of extra (and sometimes tough) love at home could be enough to help your child overcome his or her obstacles but, particularly if the addiction or disorder is advanced, sometimes you need the pros to step in and sometimes the best thing you can do for your child and for yourself is to give everybody some space.
If your child is an older teen, your best option is in-patient rehab followed by a transitional living space. Transitional living spaces have proven quite helpful, especially for older teens who are close to being old enough to be on their own anyway. It’s like an extra buffer to help them readjust to life outside of rehab but with people their own age who have also suffered from addiction and other issues. The sense of community, as you’ll see in the infographic below, is a much better way to prevent relapse than to try to reintegrate with his or her old life right away.
Younger children, middle-school aged to about 16 or so, do better with wilderness therapy. Wilderness therapy often feels extreme but, as you can see in the infographic we’ve linked, it is often the best way to get younger teens and older kids to realize that they truly are fighting addictions and other issues.
Remember: there is no shame in asking for help, especially if your children are dealing with addictions or behavioral issues that are beyond your capacities. Sending your son or daughter to rehab or wilderness therapy doesn’t mean you don’t love them. It means you do love them and that you love them enough to do the hard things if that means they will get the help they need.
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