While your teen has been away at a therapeutic boarding school, your family life has probably seen a lot of changes. You’ve settled into a routine at home without them there, and they have had their routine at school. However, boarding school doesn’t last forever. At some point, your teen will make the transition back home, and the family will have to adjust.
As you’re preparing for your teen’s return home, you and your family will likely experience a range of emotions. You might feel excited about seeing them again, happy to have them back, and nervous that things might go back to how they were. Your teen will also experience a mix of excitement and anxiety about returning home. These are all completely normal emotions.
It takes a little while to adjust to having your teen back from boarding school, but there are some things you can do to help make the transition as smooth as possible. If you go into it with these tips in mind, everyone in the family can start on the best foot.
Adjusting to your teen’s return from boarding school
Preparing the family
Before your teen returns home, have a family meeting with the rest of your household to ensure that you are all on the same page. If you have other children, they need to be prepared for changes. Even basic day-to-day living is a little different when there’s another teen in the house.
Your time will be split more than it has been lately. There will be another person in the house vying for bathroom time. They might have to share time on the computer or video games system. As much as possible, make a plan to manage the changes that you anticipate and prepare your kids for more changes.
There’s a reason you sent your teen to a therapeutic boarding school. You’re probably nervous that things might go right back to how they were. You were hoping that the school would help them change, and now it’s time to see the results.
If things are going to be different, you will have to facilitate some changes. Your teen learned a lot of new skills while at boarding school, but they’re going to need your help applying them at home. Create a structure to help your teen succeed when they return home. Your teen will naturally fall back into their old habits if they don’t have a new structure to support them.
Preparing your teen
Talk to your teen’s therapist at their boarding school before coming home. The therapist should help you and your teen learn some new strategies to make the transition smooth. At Sundance Canyon Academy, our therapists hold family counseling sessions to ensure that everyone is ready to return home.
As you and your family adjust to having your teen back from boarding school, help your teen utilize the skills they learned in school. If they start to move toward old habits, remind them of the positive habits that they’ve learned.
Eating well. Encourage everyone in the family to eat healthy meals and steer clear of junk food. While your teen was at boarding school, they learned to prepare and eat healthy food. Help them keep up their physical nutrition. If they continue to eat well, they are more likely to feel good and put energy into doing well at home.
Following a schedule. When they were away at school, your teen learned how to follow a schedule to help keep them on track. Life is a lot easier when it’s not chaotic. Help your teen develop and follow a daily schedule that will help them stay on track as they return home.
Making friends. If your teen’s old friends are a bad influence, you’ll need to help them make new friends. Encourage your teen to participate in positive extracurricular activities where they can make positive friends.
Communicating. Be purposeful about your communication. When you initially adjust to having your teen back from boarding school, communication can be awkward. You haven’t lived in the same house with them for a while, so you haven’t been talking to them as much. Help your teen maintain the positive communication techniques that they learned in school.
For more information about our therapeutic boarding school for troubled teen boys, call us at 866-640-1899 to speak to a representative today.