Parenting As A Leadership Role
Leadership can be defined as “the action of leading a group of people or an organization”. To lead can be defined as to “be in charge or command of” or to “be superior to”. Parents have a conflicting role as leaders in their children’s lives. A parent is expected to lead the way but also wants to create a mutual respect for their children.
“Children are growing up in a world of unprecedented access to information, strangers, friends, choices, and news,” Stephanie Hartselle, MD, tells Psychiatry Advisor. “Parents must step in and monitor their children’s behavior, especially online, and provide leadership. When asked what exactly she means by leadership, Hartselle explains that she too often sees parents who are not setting healthy boundaries for their teenagers through regular discipline.
Parents of adolescent and teens who have developed an addiction to drugs and alcohol can often feel at a loss for invoking discipline or enforcing boundaries. “The absence of structure, rules, and limitations increases anxiety in children,” Hartselle elaborates. “…Children need parents to define house rules and stick to them, and to initiate a dialogue regarding who their friends are and what they are doing.” However, parents who are living with an adolescent or teenager who are yet to go to treatment or have recently returned from treatment for substance abuse can have difficulty with this as well. Parents don’t want to be authoritarian to the degree of acting like a police state, yet it is necessary to have information on what teens are doing and who they are doing it wit. Simultaneously, parents cannot let recovering teenagers, who are in need of structure, to fall back into a free-wheeling environment where they, the teen, leads the way. Creating a balance between the two takes time, collaboration, cooperation, and patience.
When children attend long-term residential treatment programs like the ones we offer at Stonewater Adolescent Recovery Center, they have a unique opportunity to work together with their parents. Regular family therapy and family intensive programming brings children and parents together to learn how to communicate, to set and respect boundaries, set and obey consequences, respect one another, and more importantly, come from a place of love.
Offering residential treatment to adolescent and teenage boys, the programs at Stonewater Adolescent Recovery Center provide a foundation building, life changing experiencing, cleansing the mind, body, and spirit.
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