You’ve heard the phrase “It takes a village to raise a teen,” and I believe that’s true. When I work with teens and their families, I emphasize the importance of building a “home team.” This is a group of individuals who can offer support during and after a teen’s residential treatment.
Many parents come to me worried that they won’t be able to find enough people to be on their team. I assure you there are many worthy and willing individuals in your life who can contribute to your journey in some way.
Today, I’m going to discuss the different roles home team members can play so that you can start identifying them in your life.
Companionship. Team members who provide companionship are all about quality time. Maybe it’s a friend you have dinner with once a week. Maybe they’re a family member that your teen enjoys spending time with. Companionship team members are simply there to enjoy a good time with you or your young adult.
Emotional Support. These team members have a listening ear and a shoulder to cry on. They have the talent of providing you with their full attention and being an active listener. Emotional support team members are also accepting and supportive of your goals. They can reassure you or your teen that the changes happening are worth it. In addition, they may share their thoughts or advice but only when it is appropriate and in line with the goals already laid out.
Instrumental Support. While the other two types of team members are very important, instrumental support team members are vital to the journey. These individuals can provide assistance, opportunities, or material resources; they can be either natural mentors (religious leaders, coworkers, extended family, neighbors, etc.) or professionals (counselors, teachers, therapists, etc.).
Once teens return home from treatment, I recommend they regularly go to group counseling or see a therapist. I also encourage parents to find a support group that they can either meet with in person or converse with online. These are great outlets for sharing experiences and building a support network.
While professionals and established support groups are great for checking the boxes of team member roles, don’t forget to seek out natural mentors for you and your teen as well. You’ll be surprised what the people who are already in your life have to offer on your journey.
Take comfort in knowing that you are not expected to do any of this alone. Building a strong home team will ensure that you have someone to turn to in any situation that arises along the way.