Tag Archive: summer

  1. Keeping Your Teen Busy This Summer

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    Keeping Your Teen Busy This Summer

    Staying busy is an important component of preventing relapse. Yet during the summer, adolescents have plenty of free time and often less supervision than during the school year. How do you support your teen in staying sober while they have all of this extra time? How do you keep your teen busy this summer?

    Create a Daily Schedule Together

    Before the summer begins, sit down with your teen and discuss your mutual expectations for the summer. Are there daily chores that need to be completed? Are they expected to work outside of the home or attend school? Are there vacation plans already on the calendar? What are their expectations? What do they want to accomplish this summer? What are the things they want to do?

    Once you have the larger expectations hammered out, create a daily schedule together that you both agree upon. Include a wake-up time and a time when chores should be completed, as well as when they should be available for family meals or other activities. Ideally, this schedule should fill up your teen’s day so that they do not have a lot of downtime. Certainly, it can be flexible, but the idea is to keep them busy.

    Have a System in Place for Accountability

    How will they be accountable for completing their daily tasks? Will they check in with you by text or phone? Check-in with a neighbor or other family member? Will they receive privileges for completing tasks? You know your child best, and you know your situation best. Develop a system that not only allows your teen to feel responsible but also holds them accountable for their time and their actions. Accountability is a vital component of your teen’s recovery.

    Ideas for Structured Social Activities

    For teens who would be more successful with some structure or supervision, even when you are working, there are plenty of activities that will keep them busy and offer them opportunities to socialize as well. When these are presented as opportunities rather than punishments, they are likely to be more well-received by your teen.

    • Summer Job–for the teen who is ready for the responsibility, a summer job is a great way to learn responsibility and bring in some income as well. As a bonus, they improve their social skills and their resumé in the process.
    • Sports or Performing Arts–finding a program for them to participate in a sport, performing art, or other hobby that they enjoy is a great way to keep them busy, build talents and skills, and give them social opportunities at the same time.
    • Volunteer Organizations–delivering meals to elderly people, helping kids at the libraries or day camps, helping with pets in shelters, and other worthy causes are great ways to build self-worth and keep your teen busy simultaneously.
    • Church or Other Social Groups–many organizations offer teen or youth activities that are free or low-cost throughout the summer and help your child socialize with other teens in outdoor or recreational activities.
    • College or Enrichment Classes–local or community colleges often offer summer classes for credit or enrichment that are available to high school students and offer unique and fun learning opportunities that keep your teen busy and invested throughout the summer.

    Be a Good Neighbor

    Do you have neighbors who need their lawns mowed? Dogs walked? Other household chores or babysitting? Your teen could stay busy by helping neighbors on a regular basis, as a service or for pay. Your neighbors get work done that they need, plus maybe a little companionship, and your teen has more to do where they are engaged and supervised regularly. Being a good neighbor benefits you as well.

    Make Plans to Have Fun

    In the midst of all of these other plans, do not forget to make plans to have fun as a family. Plan a camping trip or other family outing. Explore your local area, go on a hike, or just have a picnic together. Do that painting or fix-up project you have been talking about, but do it together. Your teen may not like these activities, but they will help improve your relationships as a family.

    Make one night every week family night. Have dinner together, play board games, or watch movies, taking turns choosing the menu, game, or movie. Dress up. Dance or even just enjoy music together. Even better, let your teen come up with the activity and use their skills and talents to help bring the family together. Just do not forget to plan time to have fun together as a family this summer.

    Keeping your teen busy this summer can involve creating a daily schedule together along with a system for accountability. Whether they take classes, find a summer job, or volunteer, they can find value and worth in staying busy. Also, remember to make time to have fun as a family to improve relationships. Sustain Recovery understands the importance of the family in the recovery process. We know that your involvement and support are crucial to your teen’s healing and can make a difference in helping prevent a relapse this summer by keeping them busy and fulfilled. Our extended residential program in Irvine, California, helps teens identify the root causes of their behaviors, and we help them learn accountability as they heal from substance abuse. Contact us today at (949) 407-9052 to find out if our program is the right program for your family.

  2. Helping Your Child Reintegrate Into Post-COVID Society

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    COVIDSummer fast approaches, and with it comes a major development: society has begun the process of reopening. Millions of people have taken advantage of one of the COVID-19 vaccines. Many businesses have reopened, resulting in more people getting back out in the world.

    When the pandemic began over a year ago, most people felt a sense of panic. No one had experienced this kind of event before. They did not know what to expect or how to behave. Many also felt unprepared for the emotional impact of social distancing and becoming hermits within their own homes.

    While lamenting the lack of social activities, most people dreamed about things getting back to normal. Now that the country has shifted towards fully reopening, many people find themselves unsure how to proceed. With planning and patience, we can all successfully reintegrate into our communities.

    Let Your Child Know It’s Fine to Feel Conflicted About Societal Reintegration

    Children of all ages likely voiced their exciting plans for what they would like to do and where they’d like to go once relaxed rules for socialization began. Now that reintegration has started, many kids find themselves experiencing some fear. Reintegration is comparable to riding a new roller coaster. Though they might be excited, uncertainty and scary feelings can arise when they step up to the ride.

    Talk to your child about what emotions they find themselves experiencing. Let them know that everyone feels a bit of trepidation as they move into the summer. People are out of the habit of shopping in malls, dining out, and enjoying recreational activities in public places. After a year of so much solitude, no one should expect to transition back without any emotional fallout.

    The Importance of Maintaining Boundaries

    Many businesses have relaxed their rules related to the pandemic. Some stores and dining establishments no longer require that patrons wear masks. Some leave it up to customers if they want to remain a minimum amount of feet apart. As the risk of contracting the coronavirus lessens, relaxed social distance guidelines will become more common.

    This development does not mean that everyone has to throw out all precautions. If your child still wants to wear a mask in certain situations, let them know that’s fine. Discuss as a family which situations you feel that adhering to the standard pandemic rules might still feel practical. You might make decisions about where to eat out based on what rules the restaurant enforces.

    One of the biggest things people missed during the past year is the ability to hug and kiss their loved ones. The painful loss of human touch proved palpable for many. Let your child know that they still have autonomy about with who they have physical contact. They may not be comfortable yet giving hugs, accepting kisses, or holding hands. Tell them they are within their rights to establish that boundary with others.

    Let your child know that you will back them up about their decisions. Their comfort levels top those of well-meaning relatives and friends. If a child feels too shy to speak up, step in for them. For example, a parent can say, “My son/daughter isn’t comfortable yet with hugging. I’m sure you understand.” Stand firm if anyone questions this decision.

    Planning for Summer Vacations

    Many people count getting to go on vacation again as one of the best parts of society starting to reintegrate. Before deciding on a destination, do your homework. If your child expresses fear about going to crowded theme parks or beaches, be respectful of their feelings.

    Keep abreast of scientific data and reliable news sources for guidance. Look for low-risk places families can visit this summer. Whereas your family might normally head for a place packed shoulder-to-shoulder with tourists, consider alternative plans for this first vacation. For example, national and state parks offer plenty of ways to enjoy nature while keeping a safe distance from crowds.

    Renting an RV gives a family a hotel room and restaurant on wheels. An RV can provide a feeling of safety and privacy for a nervous child. If a destination can be reached by car, consider driving as an alternative to the cramped conditions of flying. When your child knows their parents have the family’s health and comfort levels at the forefront of their minds, they may be more likely to relax and enjoy the trip.

    Provide Information in an Age-Appropriate Manner

    Staying updated about COVID-19 can be a double-edged sword. Adults often find they have to strike a balance between staying educated and being swallowed up by fear. This balancing act applies to children, too.

    Your child likely relies on you to know the latest developments about the coronavirus. Young minds – even those of a teenager – can still run wild. Open a dialogue with them about this. Let them know you won’t make any decisions about their activities until you know the facts. Make sure they know they can come to you with any questions or concerns. Together the family can ease their way into reintegration.

    A year ago, we all thought we’d feel nothing but joy as the time finally came to reintegrate into society. Now that the COVID-19 vaccine has become a widespread effort, the country is starting to reopen. Many people are finding their kids are experiencing some fear and hesitation about this. Talk to your kids about their right to set boundaries, accurate and current information, and safe summer vacations. Sustain Recovery has spent the past year helping our clients deal with their addictions and stress from COVID-19. If your child struggles with addiction to alcohol or drugs, our long-term program can help. We also treat co-occurring mental health issues like depression and anxiety. Sustain Recovery has an excellent track record for dealing with teenagers and adolescents who did not thrive with other treatment programs. Call us today at (949) 407-9052 to find out how we can make this the summer that turned your child’s life around.

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

Jenn
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