Tag Archive: home

  1. Helping Adolescents Build Community Starts at Home

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    Helping Adolescents Build Community Starts at Home

    As a parent of an adolescent, you are in a position to help them develop communication skills that will impact the rest of their lives. This is particularly important if you have a teen who is returning home from treatment. Many skills can help them to prevent relapse; one of these skills is communication. With improved communication skills, they are more likely to build community. Communication skills include conflict resolution and setting boundaries. As your teen learns the necessary skills, they are more likely to have meaningful friendships that support their mental and physical health, both now and as an adult.

    Helping Your Adolescent Build Community at Home

    Your teen has many other social connections. However, home can be a foundational place for support. Home is not only where your teen lives, but also the place where they have the oldest connections. As such, it is the ideal place for your teen to learn and practice new social skills to use in other relationships.

    It is specifically helpful if your teen is or has struggled with substance abuse or mental health disorders. This is because many teens who struggle experience feeling defeated. However, you can help them to feel more empowered by learning the skills to build community. Helping your teen build self-awareness, create and communicate boundaries, and resolve conflict are all important skills they can learn with you at home.


    An important part of building relationships and community is self-awareness. Helping your teen improve their self-awareness gives them the power to truly make changes in relationships. When they can identify their needs and expectations, they can communicate them clearly to others. Additionally, self-awareness will help your teen to see their role in different situations, which helps them notice when they need to adjust their behavior due to how it affects others.

    Helping your teen improve self-awareness can feel daunting. However, there are several simple ways in which you can integrate self-awareness into conversation with them. It can be as simple as asking them how they feel about a person or situation and then quietly listening. For some, journaling can also be a way to reflect. Regardless of the specific technique, the goal is to help your teen to look inside and reflect honestly.

    Setting Boundaries

    Setting boundaries is very difficult for many adolescents. However, it is a skill that is very important for them to learn. By setting effective boundaries, your teen can protect themselves and stay true to their needs. Setting boundaries involves becoming aware of necessary boundaries and then communicating them.

    You can help your teen learn to set boundaries by first helping them to identify their feelings. When you honor their feelings, they are more likely to accept them. The next step is communicating these feelings. One technique is to provide your teen with a few options for how to communicate different boundaries. Then, they can practice with you on how to be clear and state their boundaries in a way they feel good about.

    Conflict Resolution

    In communities, conflicts will always be present. However, in a healthy community, conflicts are worked through and resolved when possible. The way your teen manages conflict is important for their ability to connect with a community. However, learning to manage conflict without aggression also decreases their risk for substance abuse.

    As a parent of an adolescent, you likely experience some conflict at home. These are opportunities to teach your teen how to deal with conflict in a healthier way. The goal is to help your teen to identify how they are feeling and then communicate their perspective and emotions without aggression. However, at first, this might include taking time away from the conflict to calm down or writing their feelings out.

    Value of Your Adolescent Learning to Build Community

    Learning the necessary skills to build community is important for all adolescents, and community is valuable for people at any age. However, building a community is even more important if your teen is returning home from treatment or struggling with mental health or addiction.

    Research shows that when adolescents have a community, they are at a lower risk for mental health disorders and have increased self-esteem into adulthood. Therefore, having a community will help your teen to feel better in the short term and long term.

    If your teen has recently returned from treatment, they are on the path to healing. However, jumping straight back into their old community is not a great idea. They need to build a new community where the changes they have made will be supported. This often means making new friendships. For your teen, new friendships can be stressful. Older friendships rely on history, are comfortable, and are routine. However, new friendships and community mean getting to know new people. While difficult, it is well worth it to prevent relapse.

    At home, teens learn the basics of functioning in a community. They learn how to build their community, make healthy boundaries, and solve conflict when it arises. As a parent, you can help your teen build and maintain a community by building these skills at home with your family. As they learn these skills, they will be more prepared to join and participate in a community outside of the home. At Sustain Recovery, we believe that treatment is the first step. However, you play an important role in your teen continuing to heal when they get home. Our programs help teens to build the foundation of social skills. To learn more, call (949) 407-9052 today. 

  2. Tips for How to Act When Your Child Comes Home From Treatment

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    Every parent celebrates the moment when their child comes home from treatment for addiction to drugs and alcohol. However, they may not be prepared to address how things have changed. The child who has come home will be different from the one you said goodbye to several weeks ago. Now, you need to learn how to parent the new version of your child.

    This change may seem nerve-wracking at first. Have faith because you can learn how to handle the situation. When parents know how to guide their children and partner up with them, they can repair family relationships.

    How You React Affects How Your Child Acts

    Remember when your child was little and came to you after skinning their knee playing? They needed you to do the obvious thing by tending to the wound. Before you could begin getting out medication and a bandage, your first responsibility came in the form of your reaction.

    A child who runs to their mom or dad with a skinned knee or other problem feels frightened. They rely on their parents to remain calm and address the situation. Imagine if the parent saw the child’s knee and started screaming and panicking. The child would take on that reaction, feel worse, and freak out. A parent’s panicked reaction would compound the pain and fear they already felt.

    The same philosophy applies to reacting to your child in recovery. When they come to you with a dilemma or feel frightened or unsure of themselves, they will gauge your immediate reaction. Your initial impulse may be to react by showing alarm, expressing anger at them, or threatening to discipline them.

    If this happens, the child will likely retreat into their own world. They may feel less likely to go to their parents with future concerns and problems. Make sure you learn to get in the habit of reacting from a calm place.

    A Key Question to Ask Your Child

    Often when a child in recovery arrives home from treatment, they feel unsure how things will go in their homes from now on. They don’t know if their parents will be judgmental of them or react poorly when they struggle.

    Your child may come to you and tell you about an urge to use drugs or alcohol. They may want to express a difficult emotion they are experiencing. They may need to explain that they are feeling overwhelmed by stress.

    Rather than immediately react, pause to ask them a question: How do you need me to react? This question helps put your child in the driver’s seat and feel some control they may be sorely lacking. Now, they can process and consider what they need from you. Identifying the particular need and asking for it creates a partnership in healing between parent and child.

    When initially asking the question of how your child needs you to react, lay out some suggestions. Ask which reaction sounds like the best fit for the situation from your child’s perspective. Try these ideas and add in your own that sound like a good option for your child:

    • “Just listen to me and understand what my emotional status is. Do not try to solve anything for me.”
    • “Recognize that I am feeling alarmed by something. Offer suggestions for seeing the situation with a calmer outlook.”
    • “Help me make a pros and cons list about a situation. I would like to discuss ideas with you.”
    • “Help me remember that I have made progress. I’m feeling down on myself and need reminders of how far I’ve come.”
    • “Give me some space. I feel overwhelmed by my recovery or other responsibilities and need your permission to pull back a bit.”

    Establish a Partnership With Your Child

    You are the parent, which ultimately puts you in charge of what happens in your home. This role allowed you to decide to send your child to treatment. When your child comes home, you may want to rely on the feeling that you always have the upper hand. You may want to feel that you are in charge of your child’s recovery.

    While this reaction has merit up to a point, it cannot be the only way to approach the situation. Your child has to take responsibility for much of their recovery from addiction. When they make their own healthy decisions, they demonstrate growth to themselves and their parents. They develop self-confidence when they realize how powerful they can be.

    Establishing a partnership with your child can empower your child in recovery. Let them know when they come home that you see your role in the next phase of their recovery. Talk about how they can come to you with any questions or issues they have. Together, you can find solutions that keep them on the right path.

    When your child first comes home from treatment for addiction to drugs or alcohol, everyone may be nervous. Our tips for acting and reacting can help you remain calm and instill confidence in your child. Your child ultimately wants to feel you have their back, and they can be honest about any difficulties that crop up during recovery. Asking the right questions can help them feel supported. Sustain Recovery offers long-term treatment programs for adolescents and young adults. We believe that kids don’t have a drug problem; they have a drug solution. We help them identify what caused them to turn to addiction, including any mental health issues, and how to replace self-medicating with a healthy solution. We also provide any needed schooling to help them keep up with academics. Call our Southern California facility today at (949) 407-9052 and find out how we can teach your child to embrace recovery both here and at home.

I first met Sayeh in November of 2013 just after my 15 year old daughter had been admitted to a residential treatment program. As part of the program I was required to attend 2-3 AlAnon meetings a week. Sayeh attended the same AlAnon meetings as well as Alumni events as I. It soon became apparent to me that Sayeh had a heart for recovery, program, and God. When I was encouraged to get a sponsor I didn’t hesitate. Dependable, respectful, kind and generous of spirit, she exudes an inner peace that I hope to achieve with her loving guidance, as I work my own program. She is patient, & full of wisdom that she is always happy to share with her sponsees and fellow parents. I am so grateful our journeys brought us together.

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