Parents will do just about anything when their child is in serious need. With dramatic increases in the diagnosis of adolescent anxiety and depression, families have become aware of the importance of early assessment, targeted treatment and continued support for their child. The stress that accompanies watching your child struggle, questioning if there were things that you, as a parent, could have done and worrying whether you made the right treatment decision can cause many sleepless nights and residual anxiety for parents themselves. Often, finding thoughtful, compassionate support for parents can be as important to decrease anxiety and increase effectiveness in learning how to best support both the child in need, their siblings and the parents themselves.
Think about the airplane model. Prior to a flight’s departure, everyone in the airplane is instructed that, in the event of an emergency or loss of cabin pressure, they should affix their own oxygen mask prior to assisting those around you. The thought process is simple: passengers are better and more effective at helping those around them when they have ample resources themselves. Parenting during a crisis can be viewed in a similar manner. Often, families in crisis only pay attention to their suffering child, neglecting their own needs for help and support, resulting in stressed and exhausted family systems that can be ineffective in supporting themselves or their child in need. When families attend to their own needs and access support while their child is in treatment, they become better and more effective parents and siblings to the child in crisis.
So how do parents find support for themselves and their child who is treatment? For adolescents in residential care, comprehensive treatment services have parent support and effectiveness programs as an integral component of treatment. Effective support goes beyond pre-recorded webinars, weekly therapy or providing reading materials for parents. Comprehensive, expert adolescent residential treatment should have weekly family therapy and programs that provide weekly programming that includes group-based support, multi-family groups and time for families to be together as a family system. Too often parents and adolescents are separated in treatment through phone and visitation restrictions. If the goal is to reunite a more cohesive, skillful and healthy family, a residential program should provide the structure to support that goal.
At Paradigm Malibu, we do not believe in restricting phone contact or visitations between parents and their child in our 30-45 day residential care. We provide 6 hours of weekly support and therapy to help families heal, become more effective family systems and work toward ‘getting their family back’ again. Through small groups where parents can receive compassionate support and parent effectiveness skills to groups where parents and adolescents can work together to learn from one another, Paradigm Malibu has created a successful family model where each person in the family can feel supported and families can establish effective, supportive and nurturing relationship that adequately support everyone. This service is included at no charge to all families during the adolescents stay and is open to Paradigm alumni and their families free of charge for up to 3 years following discharge.
To learn more about our family day or our university-based outcome research, please visit our website or call (855) 780-TEEN.