Tag Archive: child

  1. How to Help Your Child Have a Socially Sober Summer

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    How to Help Your Child Have a Socially Sober SummerAdolescents are social by nature, but friends can often have a negative influence on sobriety.  Summer is a time when teens have more free time, less supervision, and naturally gravitate toward spending more time with peers. How can you help them feel socially fulfilled without risking their recovery?

    Help Them Build a Network of Sober Friends

    You can support your child in building a network of sober friends by helping them attend support meetings and alumni functions, as well as networking to meet new friends who have similar values. This may take some effort on your part and some sacrifice of your time and energy, but will pay dividends when your teen has good, strong friends to turn to in good times and in difficult times.

    A major part of finding the right friends is being in the right places. Without being too overbearing, you can encourage your teen to continue attending support meetings and participating in the types of activities where they will meet friends who are sober and supportive.

    Replace Old Habits With New Activities

    One of the pitfalls teens face during the summer is returning to their old habits and old friends, the people they used to use substances with. The best way to avoid this pitfall is to introduce them to new activities where they can meet new people and create new habits.

    For example, they might like to try a new sport or performing art for the summer where they would spend a lot of supervised time and be able to make new friends. They could take a community college class for credit for enrichment, which would also keep them busy and help them meet new people. They might even enjoy getting involved in a volunteer organization like a pet shelter or working with younger children which could be fulfilling and give them the opportunity to meet new people as well.

    Create Opportunities to Be Social in Your Own Back Yard

    One way to offer social opportunities where you know your child will be sober is to be the host. There are plenty of summer activities that you can plan in your own home or yard to bring your child’s friends to you where you can provide the supervision. Rather than do the same thing every week, plan different activities to keep it fun and sober. Ideally, your teen plans the activities and you provide the support. Here are some ideas:

    • Trivia Olympics–teens compete for gold, silver, or bronze in trivia categories suited to their interests (i.e. video games, cosplay, science fiction, etc.)
    • Backward Night–serve breakfast for dinner, wear clothes backward, talk backward, etc.
    • Water Balloon Volleyball–work in pairs using towels to hoist water balloons over a net or a line, catching and returning balloons with towels from the other side.
    • Movie Night–everyone works in pairs or small groups to make mini-movies, then you enjoy the screenings all together outdoors with popcorn and snacks.
    • Theme Party–have a disco night, a cosplay party, or any other theme and plan a night where everyone dresses up, with music, food, etc. in the theme.
    • Art Walk–for the kid at heart or aspiring artists, grab the sidewalk chalk and let your creativity loose on the sidewalk. Silly or serious, this can be tons of fun.
    • Social Media Scavenger Hunt–teens work in pairs to find specific posts or types of posts; the first team to find all of them on their list wins a prize.
    • Pizza Night–have them bring their favorite pizza toppings to make their own pizzas, then enjoy while watching a movie outdoors.
    • Kid Party–have a proper kids party with a piñata, bubbles, kids games, and treats where everyone can be a kid again.
    • Meme Charades–act out your favorite memes, friends have to try to guess which famous meme you are portraying.

    Establish a Sober Network for Parents

    Is your child suspicious that you are always hosting? Get to know the parents of some of your child’s friends that you can trust and set up a network of families. Take turns being the hosts and planning the activities, but be sure to share the same ground rules and make each other aware of any specifics about your child’s triggers to help keep them safely sober. Ideally, these will become homes that you can trust your teen to stay overnight at or go on family trips with as well.

    Having this network of parents can help all of you keep your teens safe this summer by supporting one another and creating safe and fun environments for your adolescents to enjoy without risking their recovery.

    Summer is a great time to be social, and it can be a great time to be sober, too, if you are in the right places and with the right people. Helping your teen replace their old habits with new activities and offering them support by giving them options will help them have a socially sober summer. At Sustain Recovery, we know that family support is essential to maintaining sobriety. We know that teens want to be social but still need support while they are new in recovery. Substance abuse and mental health diagnoses are not the problems; they are symptoms of your child’s problems. Our extended residential program seeks to help your teen identify and process their pain as well as learn accountability while they heal from substance abuse. Contact Sustain today at (949) 407-9052 to find out if our program is right for your family.

  2. Does My Child in Recovery Need an Extracurricular Activity?

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    As a tween, life can feel like a whirlwind of confusion, excitement, and intensity. This stage of their existence is like a turning point in the road that leads to a chapter full of new responsibilities and opportunities. Kids are sorting out their personalities and learning about what kinds of friends they want to have. Although school plays a large role in their development, as that is where they spend most of their time, extracurricular activities can be really important too. It allows youth to relax, play, and bond with others that have similar interests. While most young adults would likely benefit from after-school activities, those who are going through recovery might find engagement particularly valuable to incorporate alongside their weekly therapy sessions.

    Your Child’s Character and Social Development

    Getting involved in after-school activities can enable your child to learn more about themselves and build their unique character. It can create structure and routine in daily life and help kids develop the discipline needed to be successful in their recovery. Research supports the value of extracurricular activities by demonstrating that levels of self-esteem and self-worth are higher in students who participate. A healthy self-image and strong identity can act as a key motivating factor for kids to keep pushing towards personal development and avoid substances that can derail them. Opportunities also arise for children to identify their strengths and weaknesses, manage criticisms, and learn how to be resilient. Participation allows them to think deeply about what matters to them and how they want to spend their time. They can set goals and determine how they will go about accomplishing them. For children in recovery, the process of character development is crucial.

    Extracurriculars also provide a great opportunity to build healthy social skills. “Pro-social activities,” as they are sometimes called, allow children to connect with peers outside of their recovery groups, forming friendships with kids from other backgrounds that might have new perspectives or life experiences. Your child may also become acquainted with peer groups that are focused on healthy and productive recreation. These are the moments where your child can improve their communication skills and learn how to work effectively in a team, both essential skills to maintain relationships.

    Taking part in clubs and sports teams can be fun and relaxing, filling your child with a new sense of joy.  Because they don’t involve the use of substances, though, an important point should be made here. Substances can alter chemicals in the brain – like dopamine and serotonin – that evoke pleasure, making it much harder to enjoy the interactions and activities described here. If you notice your child struggling in this way, don’t worry too much; it can take some time and practice during recovery to feel satisfaction and contentment again.

    Type of Activity Matters 

    Research shows that the kind of activity a child engages in can impact different aspects of character and social development. For example, academic clubs tend to build leadership skills, while athletic clubs develop problem-solving skills. Participation in both can result in higher levels of self-worth. Positive self-development has also been found to be associated with participation in the performing arts.

    Other research similarly reports that joining a sports team or club outside of school can be promising. Researchers in a 2003 study surveyed 6,522 students ages 10-14 to understand how involvement in extracurricular activities might reduce their chances of trying cigarettes and/or alcohol. The researchers found that “team sport participation with a coach was… associated with lower risk of trying smoking compared to none or minimal participation.” Participation in other clubs (i.e., Boys or Girl Scouts) was likewise associated with a lower chance of trying drinking.

    Therefore, it might be a good idea to have your child spend some time brainstorming about what interests them most and how the particular activity could benefit them. Here are some hobbies you could encourage your child to pick up that involve interacting with others:

    • Sports teams
    • Community service
    • Part-time employment
    • The arts (i.e., dance, theatre, music, cooking/baking)
    • Educational clubs (i.e., STEM, student government)

    Tips for Fostering Support 

    These practices can help steer your child away from the temptations of drugs and alcohol; however, they need your backup. Being patient can allow your child the time to find what works for them. Every kid is different, though. It might also take some trial and error for them to figure out what they want to commit to. Another tip is to be supportive when your child expresses an ambition. They are more likely to reject drugs or alcohol when it gets in the way of something they are eager about and have a passion for. When your child gets home, ask them ‘‘how?’’ and “why?” questions that get them thinking more deeply about who they are. It also shows that you have genuine interest in how they feel. This creates a sense of security and identity, allowing your child to more readily reject peer pressure.

    The tweenage years can be exciting but daunting as new developments seem to pop up at every corner. Extracurricular activities can be grounding and provide a balance between school, family, and the trials and tribulations that youth experience daily. With the added weight of going through recovery, kids might find that interactive hobbies can provide opportunities to meet new friends, develop self-esteem and discipline, and re-learn how to enjoy life without substances. Research supports this and shows that certain activities can develop particular social skills and aspects of character. At Sustain Recovery, we understand that youth in recovery require support that is structured but also uplifting and nurturing. Your child deserves the highest quality of care, and that is what we strive to provide. Located in Irvine, CA, Sustain Recovery offers three levels of care that vary based on the severity of the condition. Please call Sustain Recovery to find out how our clinicians can help your child today: (949) 407-9052. 

Sustain Recovery changed my life in a way I never considered remotely possible. I arrived in a place where I knew nobody. Sustain Recovery gave me tools so that I never had to be alone again. I learned how to live like an adult and have genuine relationships with other human beings. I gained a sense of self respect, love, and pride from the challenges I was given by staff. I was able to work through the recent loss of my father and I achieved my goal of not taking any psychiatric medication.
I learned that life is an endless balancing act. I have to continually work on myself and my relationships with the people in my life. The staff at Sustain Recovery are all incredibly experienced and spiritual. They were available to me whether I wanted their help or not. Through their efforts and experience, I experienced the inner workings of having an intimate, loving relationship with a loving creator.
Sustain Recovery is “home” for me. I discovered a loving, caring family that helped launch me to a place I would have never dreamed and, if I would have dreamed it, I would never have believed I would be able to accomplish it.

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