Having your teen come home after a stay in therapeutic treatment can be both exciting and nerve-wracking. Most residential treatment programs for troubled teens require at least a six-month stay, which means your teen has been away from home for a good amount of time.
Yet, as exciting as it can be to have your child come home, you may be dreading that your teen will revert to who they were prior to treatment. Even with all the progress you have seen from your teen while they were in therapeutic treatment, the fear can still linger.
Luckily, there is a lot you can do to ensure that your teen is successful once they return home. In fact, the amount of family participation in a teen’s post-treatment transition is a major predictor in how well a teen can reintegrate into society.
Hold To Your Teen’s Discharge Plan
When it comes time for your teen to leave residential treatment and rejoin their family, they aren’t just sent home without any help. At therapeutic treatment facilities like Sundance Canyon Academy, programs will coordinate with you to help transition your teen home and provide an aftercare plan.
This plan is designed to make your teen’s discharge back into your care as smooth as possible and help you prepare to transition your teenager back into their original surroundings. Recommendations concerning school, continuing therapeutic treatment, and activities that can help your teen successfully rejoin the family are just a few of the things outlined in your teen’s aftercare plan.
Also, if it is recommended that your teen continue to attend therapy, take medication, or other continuing treatments, it is best if you stick to these recommendations. That way, your teen will have the proper support as they are exposed to past stressors.
Not only will you have the help of your teen’s therapeutic treatment program, but if you worked with troubled teen program advisors concerning your teen’s placement, you could receive further discharge plan support.
Consider The Next Step Academically
Some teens who return home will need to re-enter secondary education. However, academics in residential treatment are able to be tailored to your teen’s learning needs. The public school system can have a difficult time providing for teens who have difficulty with the approved teaching styles, while residential treatment has the flexibility to accommodate the needs of their students.
A private school may be an option you want to consider, as they often have the resources to accommodate other learning styles. If that isn’t in the cards, consider talking to your teen’s school administration and teachers and see what accommodations can be made for your teen.
Depending on your teen’s needs, you may be able to get them an Individual Educational Plan (IEP). With an IEP, your teen’s school will need to legally provide your teen with the outlined accommodations.
If your teen has graduated with a high school diploma from their residential treatment center, then you may want to help them consider their next step academically. Junior college and vocational education can be great ways to help your teen transition into higher learning. Also, the structure that academics provide can assist your teenager in feeling less adrift as they come home.
Expect That Your Teen Will Have Some Setbacks
No parent wants to see their teen go through any setbacks, especially after finishing therapeutic treatment. And for the first week or so, you may believe that your teen won’t experience any backsliding events. Yet, this honeymoon period won’t last. There will likely be a period where your teen tests the boundaries.
This boundary testing doesn’t necessarily have to be a negative thing. It is just one way that teens figure out where they sit in the family structure. However, you should remain in contact with your teen’s residential treatment center so that you can be prepared if there are any setbacks.
Also, the potential for setbacks once your teen comes home is a significant reason why it is best that your teen continues with their individual therapy. That way, you can coordinate with your teen’s therapist to help your teen continue on the path of positive progression.
Find Structured Outlets For Your Teen
Your teen will have become accustomed to a great deal of structure while attending their therapeutic treatment program. The structure helps out-of-control teens to regain a sense of equilibrium and helps reign in the inappropriate behaviors that got the teens sent to residential treatment.
So, to have all that structure removed once your teen goes home can be very challenging. While you don’t have to provide as highly structured daily regime for your teen once they are home, providing some structured outlets for your teen can be incredibly beneficial in your teen’s transition home. Some structured outlets you may want to consider are:
Volunteering weekly in some community service capacity.
Sports for structured physical outlets, particularly nonviolent sports such as running, swimming, cycling, etc.
Joining a club, either at school or in the community, to learn new skills or embrace a hobby.
Reconnect As A Family
After your teen has completed a residential treatment program, they will have made many changes. These changes, and the time apart, can make it hard for everyone to come together as a family again. Also, it may shock your teen now that they aren’t fighting against their family, that your teen doesn’t actually know their own family that well.
Rather than leave your teen to carve out their spot in the family again—as this may lead to negative coping and setbacks—it is critical that you create ways to reconnect as a family. Some ways the family can come together are:
Making a point to have weekly family activities.
Going on a family vacation.
Have dinner together as a family every night.
Find a family hobby to try together.
Put away the electronics and share family stories.
To learn more about our residential treatment center and our program for troubled teens from start to post-program, please contact us. We are ready to help you learn all about what you need to know to help your teenage son succeed.