Parents often tell us that placing a son/daughter at Ironwood is the most difficult decision that they have ever had to make. No matter the circumstances or issues at hand, this struggle can never be an expectation of parenting and the emotional toll on the parent(s), siblings and extended family is heavy. For all who are reading this, the decision has been made and now the focus should flow to the changes that need to take place while your son/daughter is going through the program.
Tim R. Thayne, Ph.D. is the author of Not by Chance, How Parents Boost Their Teen’s Success In and After Treatment, and Tim has a wealth of experience around how to get the most out of this critical chapter within the family system. Tim notes that effective treatment programs share common elements:
- A full and balanced daily life structure and schedule;
- Clinical support through individual and group therapy;
- Constant exposure to positive role models and coaching from staff;
- A positive peer culture in which teens who have progressed influence other teens positively…;
- Clear and consistent expectations and rules;
- Experiential and recreational activities;
- Methods for defining and recognizing progress;
- Academic programming and support;
- Parent education and involvement in the treatment process.
Ironwood offers up all of these features in its’ internal design and while your child is with us, it’s important that you focus some energy on what will be different at home, when the Ironwood journey comes to a close.
How will you communicate with one another in new ways?
How will you respond when your child triggers you in ways that remind you of the past?
What will your family boundaries look like and how can they become mutual and effective?
How will I show my child that I was willing to adjust my styles and own my part of the conflict?
These are just a few examples of the questions that should be thought on in these next weeks and months. While we have no crystal ball on what will be happening in your family dynamics (post Ironwood), we have ample history that supports the need for parents to be heavily invested in (and willing) to do their own internal work, while their child is in treatment.
If you are unsure where to start, perhaps some direction can be found in this book? It’s certainly relevant and we have many parents who have found it to be a “good read.”
Our campus is getting more beautiful each day and we are seeing some great progress within our resident ranks. You have reasons to be hopeful and we wish you a very pleasant spring weekend. Thank you for putting your trust in Ironwood.