You could be right. You could be wrong. Knowing the best thing to do when it comes to parenting a teen in recovery from drug and alcohol addiction doesn’t have to be a challenge. Here are four suggested ways to provide positive encouragement.
Don’t inhibit them from taking healthy risks:
Risk-taking is a common characteristic of teenagers and adolescents. Teenagers and adolescents who have been addicted to or abusive of mind-altering substances like drugs and alcohol will have more advanced issues with risk-taking. Recovery for teens is, in part, learning how to create a safe environment that does not include risks that would create the ultimate risk of relapse. Teens in recovery are also learning how to take healthy risks and realize that not all risks have to result in the use of drugs and alcohol. Help your teen navigate risk-taking by having an open discussion, examining pros and cons, and coming up with a plan. Recovery for teens is truly about living life to the fullest, without drugs and alcohol.
Remind them the choice is theirs, as is the consequence:
Everyone is responsible for making choices in their lives. Everyone is also responsible for the consequences which result from that choice. Making choices is part of life. Recovery is learning to “live life on life’s terms”, which inevitably includes making choices. Avoiding decision making is a mark of immaturity. Through recovery, teens are rapidly maturing and learning how to make choices for themselves, from what they wear and eat to how they handle homework and what they will study in college.
Don’t reward everything:
Early recovery begs a lot of recognition, validation, and celebration, for every little thing. Living life without drugs and alcohol after spending any amount of time completely chemically dependent upon drugs and alcohol- is an accomplishment. From waking up on time to regular hygiene to navigating challenges to stay sober another day, teens in early recovery need to hear they’re doing a super job at everything they are doing. Moving on, it is important for parents to not provide a reward for everything in order to avoid inhibiting intrinsic motivation or hinting that love, accolade, and validation are conditional.
Spend quality time together:
Teens in recovery will still be “teens”, meaning they may not want to spend their extra time with you. However, going through the journey of active addiction and treatment for addiction together creates a unique bond. Rather than reward a teen with words or material items, spend quality time together. Let teens know that your time with them matters because who they are matters to you as much as what they do and how they behave. In doing so you provide the greatest validation: validation of who they are.
At Stonewater Adolescent Recovery Center, we strive to bring families together by providing life cleansing treatment for building a strong positive foundation. Call us today for information on our addiction treatment programs for adolescent and teenage boys: 662-598-4214