When your teen returns home from treatment, they will need to change many things about their lives. This includes the people they spend time with. By building a healthier community that supports their mental health and sobriety, your teen can connect with others and enjoy themselves in new friendships. However, this step toward cultivating a new community can be challenging. As a parent, you can support your teen through this transition by encouraging them to try out new things and by helping them discover what type of community they might enjoy.
When you are considering how to help your teen build a healthier community, it is essential to first consider what that means. A healthy community will vary for each adolescent based on their interests, personality, and preferences; this includes close friendships. These are trustworthy friends who will support your teen with kindness and respect.
The Value of a Healthier Community
A healthy community helps your teen stay on the right track. Adolescence is a time in your child’s life when many things are developing, including their brain. As a result, your teen is more susceptible to stress and addiction. After treatment, this is particularly true. Having a community that encourages your teen to maintain their sobriety will help decrease their risk of using drugs and alcohol again.
A healthy community is filled with good friendships, which also helps your teen’s health. Researchers have found that adolescents with no community or friendships have an increased risk of anxiety, depression, and hospitalization for health concerns. Therefore, the friendships and community your teen forms after treatment can help them maintain their health far into adulthood.
Helping Your Teen Find a Healthier Community
As a parent, you can help your teen take the necessary steps to find and connect with a healthier community. When your teen arrives home after treatment, you might wonder how to facilitate this change and what it looks like to support them. Remember that the time after treatment can be challenging for both you and your teen. You can get through it and provide the support they need.
Working With Your Teen
When considering how to support your teen, it is essential to remember to work with them. This means that you are not planning and directing them. Instead, try discussing your mutual expectations and helping them discover what kind of community might work for them.
Working with your teen includes you being open about your expectations and why you hold these expectations. Explain that you are concerned about them spending time with their old community and why. After treatment, your teen may already be aware of the changes they need to make. However, you need to be on the same page to work together.
The next step is to help them explore what a new and healthier community might look like for them. Try asking them questions that make them think about the type of community they might enjoy. If this is not effective, you could also make a list of suggestions for them to consider. This might include sports teams, arts groups, or other activities that provide a healthy community.
When working with your teen, it is important to remember that they are growing and developing. Therefore, they might want to try connecting with a community that you wouldn’t expect. If it is a healthy place for them, encouraging these changes can help them to grow and explore their options outside of the community of people they used to spend time with.
Supporting Your Teen
Building a new and healthier community is not a one-step process. Once you have initiated the first step and made a plan with your teen, you must provide continued support for them. Setting a regular check-in time throughout the week can help you stay engaged and provide a structured time for them to open up with you.
Supporting your teen also means helping them explore their options. People of all ages often do not find the right fit the first time. If your teen tries spending time in a community and doesn’t like it, that is okay. Accepting that it isn’t a good fit and helping them find a community they enjoy or connect with better is the best option. In doing so, you are encouraging them while showing them how to explore their options healthily.
While it is essential to work with your teen and support them, remember you do not always have to say yes. Saying yes often leads to enabling. As a parent of a teen just out of treatment, there is a time for you to say no. Supporting your teen while building a healthier community means helping your teen by providing precise and consistent boundaries. Over time, your teen will understand the value of these boundaries and how they relate to their continued mental health and sobriety.
A healthy community is essential for people of all ages. However, for adolescents recently out of treatment, it is crucial. As a parent, you can support your teen by helping them understand the value of a healthy community. Additionally, your encouragement and structure can help them build a community that they enjoy and is healthy. At Sustain Recovery, we believe that all teens can learn the necessary skills to change their lives. In our programs, we help teens learn new skills that will help them to build a community after treatment and into adulthood. To learn more about our programs and how we can help your teen, call us at (949) 407-9052 today.