When your teen returns home after treatment, they must build skills that support their mental health and sobriety. Life skills, the skills necessary or desirable to participate in daily life, will provide support for the transition that your teen is making out of treatment. It is particularly important that your teen learns and improves life skills after treatment as it helps to improve long-term mental health and decrease the risk of relapse in the future.
What Are Life Skills?
Life skills will help your teen in many ways. However, you may wonder: What exactly are life skills? The term “life skills” refers to a broad range of skills, ones that help your teen to build healthy relationships, manage their time, and problem-solve. Life skills include, but are not limited to, communication skills, awareness, planning, and problem-solving.
These foundational skills are the base for many things in your teen’s life. They help them to build healthy relationships by communicating their needs, empathizing with others, and drawing effective boundaries. Additionally, they give them the ability to manage their time and emotions and face challenges. These skills will help your teen in both school and work.
Value of Life Skills After Treatment
Treatment is often the first step to a more significant change in your teen’s life. Treatment can serve as a wake-up call for your child to make changes that can help them to live a different life than before. However, it doesn’t end with treatment. When your teen builds life skills after treatment, they are building on the foundation learned in treatment. These skills will help your teen to improve their mental health, decrease their risk of relapse, and give them long-term skills that can help them be successful on whatever path they choose.
As a group, life skills directly relate to your teen’s mental health. However, they can be broken down into different categories. First, there are social skills. When your teen has healthy social skills, they can form relationships, empathize with others, and maintain healthy relationships. This gives them lasting and beneficial social support, which research has shown to lead to a decrease in your teen’s risk of depression.
Additionally, skills like scheduling and critical thinking help your teen to build a life that supports their mental health. This might include finding activities to manage anxiety, incorporating exercise into their schedule, and more. Regardless of the specifics, planning and adjusting to make these actions possible requires life skills.
Risk of Relapse
After treatment, it is normal to be concerned about your teen’s risk of relapse. Fortunately, life skills can help to manage this risk. While life skills vary, they are ultimately building blocks that help facilitate change. For your teen to stay sober, they need to make changes, which is where life skills come in.
Building life skills provides tools that will help your teen build a different, more positive life after treatment. Actions to do this might include making new friends, joining in new activities, or refocusing on school. While the specific needs to prevent relapse will vary, your teen is more likely to be successful as they learn and build life skills.
When your teen returns home from treatment, they are fresh from a new environment where they processed and learned many different skills. Therefore, it is an ideal time for them to continue to improve and build new ones. These skills will help your teen to build a new life after treatment, incorporating what they have learned into their daily life – at home and in school.
Additionally, adolescence is a window of opportunity for learning. This is due to the changes that are occurring in the brain. Fortunately, this means that the habits and behaviors that your teen may have exhibited before going to treatment do not have to be permanent. As a parent, you can help your adolescent learn new skills that can become long-term behaviors to manage their health, build community, and more.
Helping Your Teen Build Life Skills After Treatment
After treatment, you are the primary monitor of your teen’s improvement, and you see them daily. This puts you in a position to help your teen build life skills from the foundation they learned in treatment.
Your teen is unique. This means that the skills they need to develop and effective ways to help them will be specific to them. However, you can help your teen by creating structure and teaching them how to build the skills necessary to thrive. If you are uncertain how to do so, that is okay. As a parent, you can work with mental health care professionals who can help you to learn the skills to teach and lead your teen into a new direction in their life.
When your teen returns home from treatment, they will have learned many new skills and built a solid foundation. However, at Sustain Recovery, we know this is not the end of the road. We believe that you as parents can help support the transition back home while helping your teen continue to build life skills that will enable them to build and maintain community, manage stress, and more. While there are difficulties in parenting a teen who is returning from treatment, it is an opportunity to help them build a better life. To learn more about our programs at Sustain Recovery, and how we can support your teen, call us today at (949) 407-9052.