Helping teenagers through hard times is a tricky business, but those in the adolescent treatment industry have worked hard to unlock the secrets to success. Here are three big-picture techniques that can help your family through a difficult stage in life.
1. Parent Involvement. Now, I know you might be thinking, “Of course I’m involved in my teen’s life. They live in my house!” But, that’s not the kind of involvement I’m talking about. When a young person is in a residential treatment program, they are more likely to succeed if their parents are involved in the entire process, not just the part when the teen gets to come home.
This means parents are healing and improving alongside their teenager. They are doing exactly what they are asking of their son or daughter, and during this process, a family can heal as a whole. Just because it seems like your teenager is the source of the chaos in the house does NOT mean it’s true. Each member of the family has their own flaws they bring to the table.
So, when you ask for improvement of your teen, get involved. Show them that you are all in, just like you’re asking them to be. This lets them know that they aren’t in it alone and communicates that they are NOT solely responsible for the challenges your family is facing.
2. Structure and Stability. Creating an environment and routine that gives your high schooler structure and stability helps them to succeed. Structure means having established daily routines, attainable goals, and consistent relationship dynamics. Stability refers to having a home that is both emotionally and physically stable, as well as having open lines of communication and clearly stated expectations.
Whether we like it or not, we are greatly affected by the environment we live in. A positive environment promotes positive change. Take stock of the atmosphere that you’ve created in your household. Was it by design? Do you think it makes your son or daughter feel safe and supported? If not, it’s time to rethink some things.
3. Leadership and Ownership. As you’ve probably noticed all of these secrets to success have to do with the family unit and this one is no different. With its drastic changes, adolescence is a sort of crisis in a teen’s life and crises call for strong leaders. When working through hard times with your young adult, you must display strong leadership and decision-making skills. This includes collaborating with those you parent with to ensure you’re all on the same page.
A great leader can also admit to their mistakes. If you feel that you’ve handled a situation poorly, it’s important to own up to that. Your teen will respond better to your honesty than a facade of perfection. This vulnerability can help build trust between you and your teenager as well.
By applying these tips, you can help change your family dynamic for the better. Take it from the experts, it’s well worth the effort.