When a teenager seeks treatment for substance abuse, trauma, disordered eating, or video game obsession, it becomes a family affair. The level of family support received can make a difference in the speed of recovery while lowering the risk of relapse.
At Foothills at Red Oak Recovery, the goal is to encourage dynamic family support that provides a deep sense of love and care for each of our patients. We provide family therapy in addition to individual and group therapy because we understand that the people surrounding a patient are just as important as our highly skilled therapists and well-developed treatment programs.
One thing we have learned over the years is that caregivers and other family members don’t always understand how to provide family support to a loved one in recovery. We created this quick guide to explain a couple of ways you can support your teen while they learn life-changing skills and overcome serious life hurdles. These forms of support won’t cost you anything but a bit of time and a lot of love.
Closed Mouth, Open Heart
As a caregiver, it’s easy to jump in with advice or words of encouragement when a teen you care about is struggling. If you’ve ever been bewildered when that teen responded with eye rolls or frustration, you know how challenging it is.
In many cases, you don’t have to say anything to provide excellent family support. When your teen seems willing to talk, try sitting back and giving them your undivided attention. That means you put down your cellphone, turn off the television, and make eye contact as your teen takes center stage.
To help you provide family support in this manner, consider this cheat sheet of active listening skills:
- Send nonverbal cues to show you’re paying attention. It’s easy to look zoned out or bored when you allow someone else to talk for several minutes without a break. Avoid that by nodding your head, holding eye contact, smiling, and using other nonverbal displays that say, “I hear you.”
- When a natural pause occurs in the conversation, take the opportunity to summarize what you’ve heard to that point briefly. Don’t add in your own opinion or thoughts. Try to restate what you’ve heard.
- Think about what they’re saying rather than formulating a response in your head. You can’t respond appropriately if you don’t really hear and understand their point of view first.
- Show appreciation to your teen for opening up, especially if they discussed issues that are difficult for them to discuss. You can say something like, “It was great catching up with you. I’m glad to know how you feel about that.”
If you have trouble with these skills, you can always reach out for extra support. When you participate in family therapy at Foothills at Red Oak Recovery, we’ll help you find listening skills that work for you.
Sometimes family support comes with a bit of tough love. It means actively participating in your teen’s recovery process. You should know what they’re working to improve at any given moment. If you’re aware of healthy habits that your teen is trying to establish, you’re in the best position to hold them accountable when they’re at home.
You do this with gentle but firm redirections when you see your teen failing to live up to responsibility or obligation. When your teen knows that you’re watching and are going to help them stay on track, they’re more likely to put effort into meeting your expectations. Other ways to provide accountability for your family include:
- Provide a good example
- Provide truthful but encouraging feedback
- Ask them to provide accountability for areas where you struggle
- Make your expectations clear and accessible
- Encourage progress you see
If you have any questions about how to provide the best possible accountability for your teen, please contact Foothills at Red Oak Recovery. We are proud to offer support to teens and their families.
Learn More at Foothills at Red Oak Recovery
Foothills at Red Oak Recovery offers comprehensive teen therapy services for males aged 14 to 17. We focus on encouraging family support while immersing teenagers in opportunities to transform their lives. Some of our more popular programs include:
- Equine therapy
- Psychological testing
- Substance abuse treatment
- Trauma treatment
- Disordered eating treatment
- Process addiction treatment
Don’t allow substance abuse, video game obsession, or other problems to sabotage your teen’s future. You can help them overcome these problems by calling us at 866.300.5275 to start down the road to recovery.