The importance of a parent’s relationship with their child can hardly be quantified. You can’t measure it, but this love is an unstoppable force that has the power to make a person feel really good or really bad. Often, the bond between parent and child is so strong that a parent can barely distinguish between their own feelings and their child’s. This is often one of the reasons why a parent or caretaker can struggle so much in deciding to send their child to treatment. Parents often fear making the wrong choice, feel concerned about the repercussions of the choice, and dread witnessing the child’s reaction to this decision.
A Risky Decision
The great American philosopher and psychologist, William James, once said, “It is only by risking our persons from one hour to another that we live at all. And often enough our faith beforehand in an uncertified result is the only thing that makes the result come true.”
This “faith” is one characteristic that is often overshadowed by guilt when it comes to making such a difficult decision as choosing treatment. However, faith can be crucial to letting go of that fear of blame for the benefit of the child.
Here at Clearview Girls Academy, we understand that many parents are at the end of their rope when considering sending their daughter away for treatment. Many parents blame themselves for the situation even though it is not their fault. We want parents to know that their daughter’s behavior is not their fault, that they are making the right decision, and that with the proper treatment, their relationship with their child can be mended.
Mental Health and a Strained Relationship
One of the reasons a parent may begin to ponder sending a child for treatment is they feel they have an irreparable relationship with their daughter. They may have also been the target of verbal or even physical attacks from their child. Yet, even with all of this adverse behavior, a parent will still feel guilty about getting their child appropriate and effective help.
Why is this? The answer is often the fear of resentment. As previously mentioned, a parent often cherishes their relationship with their child over everything else. When there is a possibility their actions will harm or even sever that relationship, it can bring up a lot of fear.
However, this fear of resentment often overshadows one factor that’s usually presenting itself in plain sight: the relationship is already strained. The relationship is already ravaged and damaged. Otherwise, the conversation about treatment would most likely not arise. The good news is that treatment can mend a broken relationship. However, a parent must first accept its necessity for this to happen.
Understanding the Caretaker/Child Dynamic
To quote William James again, he tells us that “The greatest use of a life is to spend it on something that will outlast it.” This idea is embodied in the caretaker/child dynamic. One of parents’ greatest hopes is that their children will have a healthy, safe, and successful future. When this is threatened by something like addiction or issues of mental health, parents can feel serious levels of strain and worry.
One of the fears a parent often experiences when seeing a child struggle is that they are in some way responsible. We here at Clearview Girls Academy want parents to understand that a child struggling with mental health does not directly correlate to their relationship with them.
There can be many causes of adolescent mental health struggles. These include social trauma, negative influences from peers, or even genetics or chemical imbalances. In understanding this we hope parents can begin to drop negative unjustified accountability and have faith that treatment can help their daughter recover.
Treatment, Recovery, and a Healed Relationship
One of the most important aspects to remember when experiencing a strained relationship with a child struggling with mental health is this: issues of mental health are a “family disease.” This concept came into the public sphere through the rise of 12-Step programs and addiction treatment. It is now widely understood that dealing with issues of mental health across all spectrums can create this “ill” family dynamic.
When your child is struggling with mental health, many parents feel that sending them away to treatment is a “failure” in some way. However, this attitude should be reframed. Sending a child away to treatment is an act of setting them up for success rather than an admittance of defeat.
Long-Term Treatment for Family Recovery
Here at Clearview Girls Academy, we understand that treating the child is but one aspect of recovery. The entire family deserves treatment because the entire family deserves the same level of recovery. This is why we offer family workshops and family therapy options.
We understand that a fear of a child’s anger and resentment can be strong when it comes to making this decision. However, that fear should not outweigh the benefits of recovery. We implore parents to believe in the recovery process because we know it works. As William James says, “Belief creates the actual fact.” That fact is a renewed opportunity to connect with your child.
However, you will not be connecting with the child you now know. After treatment, your child will be a stronger, healthier, and happier version of themselves. More than likely, your relationship will follow suit.
The fear of a child resenting you after sending them to get help is normal and understandable. However, it is important to remember why you are making this decision in the first place. It is to get the best help possible. Often when a child is struggling with substance use or other issues of mental health, it can create strained and codependent relationships with the parents. This is not your fault. It is just the nature of the situation. However, this does need to be addressed. One of the ways of doing so is by remembering that you are in charge, and at the moment, you decide what is best. Call Clearview Girls Academy at (888) 796-5484 for more information.