You have probably heard all of the old sayings about parents and their children: “The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree,” “He’s a chip off the old block,” “Like father like son,” and “Like mother like daughter.” These are innocently said, but when it comes to adolescent recovery, they can amplify our insecurities.
Because we feel a sense of responsibility (and even guilt) regarding our children’s struggles, many of us either harshly criticize ourselves or else deny all responsibility for our children’s mental health issues. Rather than helping anything, both of those reactions add unnecessary stress to an already difficult situation.
It is extremely important for parents and caretakers to note that individual mental health issues are rarely caused by any one specific individual. However, although your daughter’s mental health struggles are not your fault, you can still take proactive actions in her recovery moving forward.
Mental Health Issues Are No One’s Fault
As parents, when we are struggling with a child who is exhibiting mental health symptoms, we tend to blame ourselves. We beat ourselves up. Why? One of the reasons is that we see ourselves as their protectors. One of our primary jobs is to prevent our child’s suffering, right? Unfortunately, this “job” is illogical, because we don’t have complete control over whether our child suffers. We also can’t control whether our child will encounter mental health issues.
The renowned Vietnamese Buddhist monk, Thich Nhat Hanh, once said, “People have a hard time letting go of their suffering. Out of a fear of the unknown, they prefer suffering that is familiar.” That is often what happens when we see our child in pain. We attempt to deposit their suffering into our own account. After all, it feels like the responsible thing to do. But when it comes to mental health, taking on their suffering is simply not fair to ourselves or them.
So, let us repeat, this situation is not your fault. If you are still attaching any blame upon yourself, please let that go. Not just for your own sake, but also so that you can better help your daughter in her recovery.
Restoring Relationships in Recovery
When your daughter is struggling with her mental health, she can begin to exhibit two behaviors regarding communication. She may start to shut down and stop communication, or she may start to act out and become agitated when communicating. Either way, you are probably feeling pretty frayed regarding the current status of your relationship.
The good news is that family restoration is a major focus of our recovery program here at Clearview Girls Academy. Through our individualized plan for each student, we first utilize our tools to better diagnose and help your daughter understand the issues she is dealing with. These issues are often emotional and have simply been overshadowed by the behavioral aspect of the situation.
We address these deeper-rooted issues by employing therapy, using holistic approaches like breathwork and mediation, and encouraging spiritual searching through the teachings of Jesus Christ. We have found that this approach helps our students break through many of the issues they are dealing with and begin to heal from their past.
Once we have begun our program with the student, we then begin to work with the entire family. As is often said in 12-Step programs regarding recovery, mental health struggles are also a “family disease.”
Recovery as a Family Effort
We believe that once your daughter is far enough along on her recovery journey, it is time to begin healing the entire family unit. This is why we offer family therapy and workshops to engage everyone in the recovery process.
When the entire family has a safe space to discuss their feeling and ideas, there is a better chance for a unified recovery. We cannot stress enough that mental health issues do not just affect the individual.
Mental health struggles can feel like a tornado in the household attempting to destroy everything in its path. That type of “destruction” must be mended on multiple fronts.
Staying Connected: Continued Responsibility in Recovery
Family therapy and unity are not just important while your daughter is in recovery. They are also crucial for when your daughter graduates from Clearview Girls Academy and reenters her regular life.
Our students are incredible. They do so much work to rebuild their lives at Clearview Girls Academy, and we couldn’t be prouder. This is why we want to ensure that they have a healthy environment to come home to. Reminder: You deserve that as well.
Remember, what we cannot control is out of our hands, so as we like to say, we must “let go, and let God.” However, once we assess what we cannot control, we can then head down the path toward what we can. We can guide your entire family down that path. We have the light, you simply need to ask for that light to be switched on.
As parents or caretakers, we have many responsibilities when it comes to our children. Some of them go without saying, such as food, shelter, showing love, and understanding. However, there are some aspects of our child’s life that we feel responsible for even though they are often out of our control. One of these aspects involves our child’s mental health. Many factors go into adolescent mental health struggles and unfortunately, as parents, many of them are simply out of our control. However, getting help for them is not out of our control. There are many tools and resources we can utilize to help your daughter recover. For more information, please call Clearview Girls Academy today at (888) 796-5484.