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Feeling Parental Guilt With A Teen At A Residential Treatment Center

Placing your troubled teen into a residential treatment center can be the source of overwhelming feelings of guilt for parents. Many parents question their decision, especially as those outside of the family learn what the parents chose to do for their teen.

But when you have chosen the right residential treatment program for your troubled teen, you need to overcome those feelings of parental guilt, as you have done the best you could for your child. Below are some ways you can release feelings of guilt and find peace with needing to place your child into treatment.

Allow Yourself To Examine Your Feelings

You don’t have to ignore your feelings in order to overcome guilty feelings. In fact, by trying to ignore your valid feelings, it is more likely that you will be caught off-guard by your suppressed emotions and then overwhelmed.

Instead, we recommend you examine your feelings. Whether you write down your thoughts or not, ask yourself these things:

  1. What is making me feel guilty?

  2. What other options did I have?

  3. Did I act too quickly?

  4. What other feelings are connected to this?

  5. Why am I feeling guilty right now?

It is likely you cannot answer all these questions at once. Most parents traverse a long road before they choose residential treatment, so they have a lot of related feelings and experiences to sort through. Take your time and answer the above questions as often as necessary.

Keep In Contact

Good residential treatment centers promote family contact. They understand that it is difficult to send your child away, so the contact can bring you comfort. Also, as your teen won’t remain there forever, your teen will need to learn how to interact positively with the family again.

You should also keep in contact with those who are running the residential treatment center so you can receive regular updates on how your teen is doing. The progress your teen makes can help set you at ease.

Reconnect With The Rest Of Your Family

Parenting a teenager who is struggling can eat into your other relationships. Everyone, from your other children to your spouse is affected by living in a household with a troubled teen. While your struggling teen is in a residential treatment facility, you should reconnect with the rest of your family.

By rebuilding and strengthening familial bonds, your whole family will be in a better position to welcome home your formerly errant child. It can also help ease your feelings of parental guilt that can be caused by needing to neglect your more stable children in favor of caring for their troubled sibling.

Consider Therapeutic Outlets

Whether you realize it or not, parenting a troubled teen can be fairly traumatic for the parents. The trauma undergone by parents can be difficult to work through, so we like to recommend a variety of therapeutic outlets.

  1. Exercise – Whether you need meditative time doing yoga or a good kickboxing class to give vent to your emotions, choose the type of exercise which will allow you to express your feelings best.

  2. Individual therapy – Even if you just go for a few sessions, it can help to talk to a therapist so you can organize your feelings and develop further strategies to cope with your emotions.

  3. Support meetings – There are a variety of support groups which meet regularly and can be a great resource. Parenting a troubled teen can be isolating, so talking to other parents who have dealt with similar problems can help you let go of feelings of guilt.

While it can be hard to handle feelings of parental guilt once you’ve placed your teen into a residential treatment center, you have the keys to set yourself free from these feelings if you allow yourself to use them.

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