Tag Archive: Safety

  1. How to Balance Structure and Safety for Your Teen After Treatment

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    How to Balance Structure and Safety for Your Teen After Treatment

    When your teen has struggled with addiction, a mental health disorder, trauma, or a combination of these issues, treatment is often the first step. However, when your child returns home, as a parent, you will need to provide a lot of structure and support to help the healing process continue. Finding a balance of structure and safety will help your teen to continue to grow from the foundation of skills that they learned while in treatment.

    Treatment at Sustain Recovery incorporates a similar balance of structure and safety. Therefore, when your teen returns home, they already have a good feel for what it is like to live in a structured environment created to help them learn and grow while prioritizing their safety emotionally and physically.

    Balancing Structure and Safety

    As a parent, you know there are many things you have to balance when supporting your teen. Two of these are structure and safety. An adequate structure is very important for your teen when they return home from treatment. Such structure helps them to remain on track in school, care for their health, and stay away from drugs and alcohol.

    However, providing this structure can lead to conflicts and arguments that may lead to negative feelings between you and your adolescent. Finding the balance between maintaining and supporting structure often includes finding a good communication style, working with your teen to implement and create structure, and helping your teen to take responsibility for their actions.

    Communication Style

    It’s important to remember that your teen is a unique person. Sometimes they will be similar to you in many ways. Other times, you might find that your teen is wildly different. This is true in many aspects of who they are, including the way they communicate. A person’s communication style will dictate what kind of tone, conversations, and methods of transmitting information work well for them. For example, some teens do well when spoken to directly or engaging in in-depth conversations. Others may do better when given more time to think or by breaking the conversation into smaller chats.

    When you, as a parent, are aware of your teen’s communication style, you will help them to feel emotionally safe. They are more likely to feel heard and understood. They will also have time to process in a way that is natural and helpful for them. Additionally, this facilitates good communication, which helps to create structure and helps them develop the skills necessary to build a healthy community after treatment.

    Working With Your Teen

    Structure after treatment is helpful and necessary for your teen. However, this structure does not have to be imposed on them. You can work with your teen to create and maintain a structure that helps them succeed. For example, this might look like creating a structure to improve overall mental or physical health. When your teen is working alongside you, they are more likely to stick with it.

    Regardless of your teen’s enthusiasm and participation, they may struggle with maintaining a schedule or structure. This is one place where it takes a delicate balance to help them stick to their structure. However, you can keep them on a path where they feel heard and safe without losing structure in their lives. Having open and kind communication can help.

    Helping Your Teen Take Responsibility

    As a parent, you are watching your child grow up. This can be a jarring and surprising transition. After treatment, you may be tempted to try to hold onto the reins. However, this can be detrimental to your teen. Helping your teen take responsibility is valuable, helping them to feel safe and, over time, learn to care for their own needs.

    When a teen has struggled with addiction, mental health, or trauma, they may not trust themselves. Getting home after treatment can be particularly difficult. However, with support, they can relearn how to feel safe in making their own decisions. This will slowly help them to feel safe emotionally and enable them to make safe choices for themselves – both now and in the future.

    Value of a Balance of Structure and Safety

    Having structure helps your teen to stay on the right path. Of course, the specifics of the structure will be unique to your teen’s needs. However, the structure itself can help your teen feel safe and give them something to lean on when unsure. This can help them both now and in the future as an adult.

    Sustain Recovery believes that structure, both in treatment and afterward, is necessary for your teen’s success. Recovering from addiction, a mental health disorder or trauma can be very challenging. Giving your teen the most support and structure you can make a huge difference.

    Learning to build structure in a teen’s life while maintaining a feeling of safety for adolescents after treatment is complicated. However, a structure can help your teen to feel safe when they return home from treatment. As a parent, you can enforce structure in a way that helps your teen feel safe. This involves working with your teen, improving communication, and helping them to take responsibility. At Sustain Recovery, we understand that parents play an important role in their teen’s success when they get home from treatment. Therefore, our treatment includes a safe and structured environment to help them build skills and provide a solid foundation to grow from. To learn more, call (949) 407-9052 today. 

  2. Focus on Internet Safety

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    Focus on Internet Safety

    As someone who works with adolescents, you probably know a lot about what they face. In addition to the social challenges of this age that teens traditionally have faced, now they have another entire world online to contend with. This world includes social media, sites about self-harm, pornography, and sexual predators. How much do you, as an addiction recovery or mental health provider, know about internet safety?

    Social Media Use Amongst Teens

    During COVID-19, staying connected through social media and online was largely a blessing. Even before that, there were many positive uses of social media, including staying connected with friends and family. Teens can game online together, create blogs, videos, and other content to share, and also go to school online. Apps like Instagram, TikTok, and Snapchat are commonly found on phones, where teens are able to connect with one another and the world.

    However, a 2021 study listed several of the risks of social media use as well, including:

    • Harassment, threats, and other hostile behaviors
    • Spreading of false information
    • Sexting, exposure to sexual images, and interactions
    • Depression, anxiety, and self-harm
    • Exposure to alcohol or other substances
    • Privacy and digital footprint issues

    Some of the statistics surrounding these risks are frightening. This same study pointed out that 20% of adolescents had shared pictures online of themselves nude or semi-nude. Children who are exposed to alcohol and other substances on social media are more likely to use substances and also begin earlier than their peers. Another focus of the study was the impact that social media has on taking away time from studies, sports, and other activities.

    Online Cyberbullying and Self-Harm

    From the early years of the internet, cyberbullying has become a reality. Victims of these attacks can become depressed, withdrawn, and even suicidal. Cyberbullying is associated with low self-esteem, behavioral problems, and substance abuse. According to a 2018 study, cyberbullying is more dangerous than traditional bullying, as the risk of suicidal ideation and attempts are higher.

    Self-harm that is not meant to be suicidal, such as cutting or burning, is known as nonsuicidal self-injury (NSSI) and has also become more common due to social media and online sites that teach teens about it. While those who engage in NSSI describe it as a relief for constant anxiety or tension, it is very dangerous and should be addressed. The current estimate, according to the study above, is that approximately 14% to 21% of adolescents and young adults have engaged in some form of NSSI.

    The Dangers of Pornography

    Children are increasingly exposed to pornography, as it is easily accessible from any device. What begins as curiosity about sexuality can turn into a serious addiction, while the mind is dulled to intimacy and human sexuality. Increases in sexual dysfunction in young adult males are becoming more common, and low self-esteem and relationship issues occur in both genders. Additionally, more females are becoming addicted to pornography as well.

    Sextortion and Child Sex Trafficking

    Pornography is not just dangerous to look at. More and more often, children and adolescents are groomed online and become victims of “sextortion.” According to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, in 2019, they received 16.9 million reports to their CyberTipline.

    Predators groom children over time, gaining their trust or blackmailing them to entice them to send pictures, lure them into sex trafficking, or sexually molest or assault them. This can result in missing children, some of whom are also physically abused or murdered. Even for those who were photographed or filmed in child pornography, they face a neverending cycle of trauma as the images have been shared and cannot be retracted.

    What Can You Do to Improve Internet Safety?

    As a mental health care provider, you know that you are a court-mandated reporter of abuse, self-harm, and exploitation. Likely you work with teens who have faced some form of trauma from interactions over the internet. But what can be done to prevent it? A 2021 study published in the Kansas Journal of Medicine found that while parents report internet safety as a top concern, only 20% of healthcare providers surveyed reported providing counseling to their patients regarding safe internet usage, specifically, exposure to violent or sexual content or risky behaviors.

    One of the reasons for the lack of education for the children was due to limited knowledge of internet safety by 47% of the healthcare providers. Which begs the question, how much do you know about internet safety? Can you teach parents and clients about avoiding risky internet behaviors, how to report cyberbullying or blackmail, or how to maintain privacy and keep their digital footprint to a minimum? Parents rarely know either, so educating yourself can help you teach adolescents and their parents about the prevention of internet harm.

    Internet safety for adolescents is a serious concern. As a provider of mental health or addiction recovery treatment to adolescents, it is important that you stay educated about trends and dangers to be able to help educate families about safe internet usage. The stakes are too high, the risks too great, and the resulting trauma or loss is heartbreaking, but some education could help spare a lot of it. At Sustain Recovery, we understand the dangers of the internet. Our program helps teens understand the importance of using devices safely. We offer extended residential treatment to adolescents with addiction and co-occurring diagnoses. Located in Irvine, California, we offer our clients structure and support during treatment. We also connect them with continued support once they leave treatment to ensure continued recovery. Call us at (949) 407-9052 to find out if our program is the right fit for a client that has struggled in other settings.

The people at Sustain Recovery are truly passionate about their work. They put all their love, energy and spiritual strength in to it. They continue to support me today as I continue my ongoing journey in my personal recovery. I now have over a year of sobriety, my own apartment, a job, true friends and a support network that is always available to me. Although all that stuff is great, what matters most today is that I love myself and have the ability to love others. Thank you to all who had a hand and heart in Sustain Recovery

© 2023 OCTLC Inc.