Should I Engage With Parent Counseling If My Teenager Is In Treatment?

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Connecting a struggling child with the appropriate mental health professionals and services can be critical for long-term health. Across the world, one in seven 10-19-year-olds experience some form of a mental disorder, tallying 13% of the global statistics overall. Identifying and addressing mental health challenges early on can significantly impact a child’s well-being in the long term. Timely intervention and access to tailored services ensure they receive the necessary support and coping mechanisms to navigate their struggles effectively.[1] While providing effective treatment for teens is vital, the need for parent counseling is an important thing to consider.

Having a teenager in treatment can also raise questions about the benefits of seeking treatment for one or both parents. Engaging in counseling yourself can both contribute to the effectiveness of your child’s therapeutic process and work to reshape the dynamics of the family home. Your engagement in therapy demonstrates a commitment to understanding and addressing the challenges your teenager is facing, actively participating in the healing process, and promoting a healthier family dynamic.[2]

Today Clear Behavioral Health will explore why it’s beneficial to begin parent counseling and engage with your own therapy and treatment services alongside your child. Working in tandem can create a more harmonious household and cultivate greater well-being within the family unit. 

The Benefits of Getting Involved With Treatment as a Parent

Engaging in parent counseling or other services as a parent when your child is entering mental health or substance use treatment is a valuable step that can positively impact both your child’s recovery and the overall well-being of your family. By actively participating, you can provide crucial support and gain a deeper understanding of your child’s challenges.

This involvement not only benefits your child’s journey toward recovery but also fosters a healthier family dynamic, promoting positive changes and preventing relapse.

Engaging With Your Child’s Struggle

Understanding your child’s unique struggles related to substance abuse or mental health and learning how to provide them with effective support is paramount for fostering a healthier parent-child relationship. By actively seeking to comprehend their challenges, you can tailor your assistance to their specific needs. Engaging in open and empathetic communication to create a safe space where your child feels comfortable sharing their concerns—and parent counseling can help you to better do so.[3]

Engaging with treatment as a parent can aid you in learning more about your child’s experiences and emotions, encouraging them to express themselves more freely. A collaborative approach, combined with a commitment to understanding and helping your child navigate their challenges, contributes to a supportive environment that promotes their well-being and growth.

Understanding Parenting Styles

Increasing your self-awareness of your parenting style empowers you to tailor your support to your child’s unique challenges. Communication style awareness can help you to encourage an open and supportive dialogue during treatment, along with a better understanding of how you offer emotional support becomes a powerful tool in tailoring it to your child’s unique needs. Such knowledge allows you to align emotional encouragement with their preferences, contributing to their overall resilience within treatment and after its conclusion.[4]

Additionally, recognizing your parenting style in your own counseling can contribute to exploring and addressing family dynamics impacting your child’s well-being. An introspective approach further enhances the effectiveness of counseling by creating a more comprehensive understanding of the factors influencing your family’s dynamics and fostering positive changes within your family in the future.

Improving Your Parent-Child Relationship

Engaging in counseling can pave the way to resolving your parent-child relationship problems.[5] Mental health counseling emphasizes open communication, helping you create a safe space for your child to express thoughts and feelings. It guides the investment of time in shared activities, reinforcing the emotional bond through strategies like family outings and celebrating achievements.

Developing empathy is a key focus in most therapeutic modalities, allowing you to better understand your child’s perspective and build trust. The therapeutic environment supports patience and flexibility, adapting your parenting approach to meet their evolving needs. Additionally, parent counseling encourages a collaborative decision-making approach, empowering your child and fostering shared responsibility.

Improving Your Family Dynamics

Active participation in counseling transforms family dynamics, promoting overall well-being and cohesion. Such a foundation is built on open communication, encouraged by counseling through dialogue and expression of thoughts and feelings. It fosters empathy, strengthening family bonds by appreciating diverse perspectives.[6]

Counseling equips families with conflict resolution skills, ensuring constructive discussions and preventing lingering resentment. It also encourages acknowledging and celebrating each family member’s achievements, fostering positive reinforcement, and creating a more supportive environment for everyone.

Flexibility is often encouraged in counseling, embracing uniqueness and adapting to changing circumstances. Seeking professional guidance offers insights and strategies for positive change in the face of persistent challenges. Ultimately, parent counseling creates a positive atmosphere by encouraging optimism, gratitude, and mutual support, reinforcing a sense of security within your family.

The Impact of Divorce

When navigating the journey of improving family dynamics, it’s crucial to acknowledge and address the impact of divorce if it’s a part of your family’s experience, as this can introduce significant changes and emotional complexities.

Learning to engage in more open communication allows family members to express their feelings and concerns. Creating a safe space for children to share their thoughts about the divorce can help in understanding and processing the changes, as well as benefit you as parents to better address your own emotional needs.[7]

By fostering an environment of openness and collaboration, divorced parents and families can work together to adapt and promote resilience in the face of divorce-related challenges.

Having Constructive Conversations and Learning Conflict Resolution Skills

Promoting constructive conversations and honing your conflict resolution skills is essential for fostering a harmonious and supportive environment. Open communication surrounding mental health or ongoing struggles provides a platform for family members to express their feelings and concerns openly. Encouraging active listening ensures that each voice is heard and understood, fostering empathy and strengthening familial connections—all skills that can be greatly improved with therapy.

In addition to open communication, developing parent-child conflict resolution skills is crucial for navigating inevitable disagreements. Teaching family members to approach conflicts with a solution-oriented mindset, emphasizing compromise and understanding, contributes to a healthier family dynamic. By creating an atmosphere where conflicts are addressed constructively, the family not only prevents the escalation of issues but also cultivates resilience in the face of challenges. These skills empower family members to collaboratively find resolutions that benefit everyone involved.[8]

By prioritizing both constructive conversations and conflict resolution skills, families can build a foundation of mutual understanding. This not only enhances the overall well-being of each family member but also strengthens the bonds that form the heart of a supportive and resilient family unit.

Setting Healthy Boundaries

Clear and well-defined boundaries provide a framework for understanding expectations and respecting individual needs. Encourage open discussions about boundaries with your child, allowing family members to express their comfort levels and personal space requirements.

Setting healthy boundaries is a two-way process that involves both articulating your own needs and respecting the needs of others. This practice fosters a sense of security and predictability within the family, reducing the likelihood of misunderstandings and conflicts. Additionally, recognizing and reinforcing these boundaries helps family members develop a mutual understanding of one another’s preferences and fosters a respectful and harmonious family dynamic.[9]

Healthy boundaries also extend beyond physical space to include emotional and personal boundaries. Encouraging open communication around everyone’s preferences and personal experiences contributes to an environment where family members feel more understood and better supported on the whole. Most parents are unaware of this concept and develop unspoken boundaries. By prioritizing the establishment and maintenance of healthy boundaries, families can create a space that nurtures individual well-being and strengthens the overall cohesion of the family unit.

Finding Community

Building connections within a community of parents is a valuable resource that can enhance both your parenting experience and overall well-being. Actively seeking out and engaging with other parents provides a supportive network where shared experiences and insights can be exchanged. Attending local parenting groups, joining online communities, or participating in community events can help to connect with like-minded individuals with similar experiences.

Sharing experiences with other parents fosters a sense of camaraderie and helps normalize the challenges of parenting. It creates a platform to exchange advice, strategies, and tips for navigating various aspects of raising children. These connections can offer emotional support, reassurance, and a sense of community, particularly during times of uncertainty or difficulty.

Help Your Family Heal at Clear Behavioral Health

At Clear Behavioral Health, we understand the vital role that family plays in the healing process. That’s why we also prioritize involving and counseling parents in the treatment journey, recognizing that their active participation contributes significantly to the effectiveness of everyone’s treatment.

Our programs for teenagers offer individual therapy, group therapy, and family therapy for parents as well, allowing for personalized support tailored to the unique dynamics of each family. Our parent group therapy and education sessions further empower parents with the knowledge and skills needed to support their children’s mental health. Many parents who attend our family groups can witness the growth of their own children and learn parenting skills along the way.

Clear firmly believes that by fostering strong connections within families, we enhance the healing journey and promote healthier relationships between children and their parents. If you or your teen is struggling with mental health, contact us today to learn more about our outpatient teen program which offers multiple levels of parent counseling. At Clear Behavioral Health, we are committed to providing comprehensive and collaborative care that supports the well-being of both teens and their families.

References:

  1. World Health Organization. (2021, November 17). Mental Health of Adolescents. World Health Organization; World Health Organization. https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/adolescent-mental-health on January 8, 2024
  2. Haine-Schlagel, R., & Walsh, N. E. (2015). A Review of Parent Participation Engagement in Child and Family Mental Health Treatment. Clinical Child and Family Psychology Review, 18(2), 133–150. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10567-015-0182-x on January 8, 2024
  3. Frosch, C. A., Schoppe-Sullivan, S. J., & O’Banion, D. D. (2019). Parenting and Child Development: A Relational Health Perspective. American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine, 15(1), 155982761984902. https://doi.org/10.1177/1559827619849028 on January 8, 2024
  4. Lanjekar, P. D., Joshi, S. H., Lanjekar, P. D., & Wagh, V. (2022). The Effect of Parenting and the Parent-Child Relationship on a Child’s Cognitive Development: A Literature Review. Cureus, 14(10). https://doi.org/10.7759/cureus.30574 on January 8, 2024
  5. Nuñez, L., Fernández, S., Alamo, N., Midgley, N., Capella, C., & Krause, M. (2022). The therapeutic relationship and change processes in child psychotherapy: a qualitative, longitudinal study of the views of children, parents and therapists. Research in Psychotherapy: Psychopathology, Process and Outcome, 25(1). https://doi.org/10.4081/ripppo.2022.556 on January 8, 2024
  6. Varghese, M., Kirpekar, V., & Loganathan, S. (2020). Family Interventions: Basic Principles and Techniques. Indian Journal of Psychiatry, 62(2), 192–200. https://doi.org/10.4103/psychiatry.indianjpsychiatry_770_19 on January 8, 2024
  7. AAMFT. (2018). Children and Divorce. Aamft.org. https://www.aamft.org/Consumer_Updates/Children_and_Divorce.aspx on January 8, 2024
  8. Today, C. (2022, October 26). De-escalating conflict between parents and teens. Counseling Today. https://ct.counseling.org/2022/10/de-escalating-conflict-between-parents-and-teens/ on January 8, 2024
  9. Myrick, A. C., Green, E. J., & Crenshaw, D. (2013). The Influence of Divergent Parental Attachment Styles on Adolescent Maturation. The Family Journal, 22(1), 35–42. https://doi.org/10.1177/1066480713491217 on January 8, 2024

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