Rebuilding Family Relationships During and After Treatment

Published On: October 22, 2015|Categories: Mental Health Treatment|
Father and Son

It can be difficult for parents to know how to support their adult child going through the recovery process. You, as the parent, may experience high levels of stress, and your concern (though it comes from a place of love) might cause the child going through recovery to feel overwhelmed.

Although the recovery experience is unique for each family, parents can employ some strategies both during and after their child enters treatment to help communication flow more easily, to keep stress levels manageable and to be supportive without being overbearing.

During Treatment

Understandably, parents with a child in treatment—no matter how old they are—are likely to want as much information as possible regarding how their child is spending their days, what they’re learning in treatment and how they’re progressing in their recovery. While this comes from a well-intentioned place, it’s crucial to remember that your child is under an extreme amount of stress, physically and mentally, especially at the start of treatment.

While it’s good to want the best for your child and to show support by being involved in their recovery, it’s also crucial to allow them space as they navigate their new lifestyle. In order to best support your adult child during this time, consider the following:

Let them share on their time

Rather than pushing for details, it’s best to allow your child to decide what to share and when. By telling them you’re willing to listen, but ensuring them they don’t need to share any more than they feel willing to, you’re offering support without pressure.

Consider family programming

Most often when a family member struggles with addiction, the whole family suffers in some way. Thankfully, there’s treatment options for more than just the family member in recovery. Your child’s treatment program likely also offers family programming.

Family programming typically includes therapy sessions offering the opportunity to focus on and engage with the child in recovery. Participating in family programming allows parents and siblings to come together and communicate in a productive and meaningful way; it also gives them a way to actively show support to their family member in rehab.

Take care of yourself, too

It’s important for those close to the individual in recovery to take care of their mental health, too. This may include individual counseling sessions, or joining a community support group. Setting aside time to check in with a professional counselor, close friend or supportive family member can help maintain your mental and emotional health while your child is in treatment. This way, you’ll be more available to your child and less likely to become swept up in the emotion.

After Treatment

Once your adult child has completed treatment, you can help them maintain sobriety in different ways.

Set boundaries

When your child finishes treatment, it’s important to establish boundaries and expectations. Unfortunately, many individuals struggling with addiction learn how to manipulate their family members in order to support their own addictions, severely injuring family relationships. However, setting expectations for your relationship with your adult child post-treatment can help rebuild those relationships.

Set limits on things like how long they can live in your house, whether or not you’re going to provide them with money for things like rent or gas, etc. Remember your child is an adult, and while you want to be supportive and provide for them while they get on their feet, you also don’t want to enable them in any way. Boundaries and clear expectations will help avoid miscommunication and manipulation.

Encourage a sober support group outside the family

It’s important to encourage your adult child to build strong bonds outside of the family with a sober support system. This may include meeting with an addiction sponsor, a counselor or other individuals from addiction support groups. Having peers who can relate to one another’s experiences with addiction and recovery can be crucial to helping your child maintain their sobriety outside of the structured setting of inpatient treatment.

Seeking additional support

The time before, during and after addiction and addiction treatment is undeniably stressful. While you might be tempted, as the parent, to fix everything for your child, it’s important to remember that as an adult they will want a healthy balance of support and space. Setting and respecting each other’s boundaries, taking care of your mental health and showing your support in various ways can help rebuild family relationships after addiction.

If you want to seek counseling for yourself or a family member who has faced the consequences of addiction in some way, consider Pyramid Healthcare. Our professional staff of therapists look forward to hearing from you.

Contact our offices anytime at (888) 694-9996.

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