While teens in the early stages of recovery from drug addiction are prone to relapse at any time of the year, summertime can be especially difficult. With no school, there are more opportunities for free time, socializing, and activities where temptation might be greater.
Serving as a source of support for your child during summer will help them stay strong in recovery. Here’s what you can do to help your child maintain sobriety in the summer.
Schedule plans and activities
Keep your child busy with social activities rather than letting them feel isolated and alone. Loneliness is a common trigger for relapse in teens. Plan a family movie night or a picnic at the park. If your teen is busy and surrounded by others, they won’t feel tempted to use.
If your teen has other friends who are in sobriety, invite them to join in on activities as well. Being around other people who can relate and understand their experiences is invaluable.
Keep communication open
The biggest way you can support your child is by maintaining open lines of communication. Let them share when they are feeling stressed or overwhelmed. Allow them to tell you when they feel like relapsing. Identify and be aware of their triggers too. If you have honest conversations with your teen, they’ll be much more willing to talk to you before a relapse occurs.
Encourage them to find a job
Another way to keep your teen busy during summer is to help and encourage them to find a job. They may not be ready for a job immediately after addiction treatment, though. As they start to adjust to daily life again, start a conversation about employment.
Not only will they be occupied, but they’ll also gain confidence and self-esteem from having a sense of responsibility. Job hunts can be stressful. Ask your child if they need help during the search process.
Encourage your teen to find a summer job that will be something they enjoy and find meaning in. You want them to look forward to going to work.
Acknowledge good behavior
Your child may make mistakes during sobriety. After all, it’s a process. But you should acknowledge their good behavior. If they are invited to a summer party and decline to go, that demonstrates strength and bravery. Recognize this achievement, as it will establish trust between you and your child. In addition, it will build up your child’s self-esteem knowing you believe in them. Maintaining sobriety is a constant battle, so recognizing good behavior throughout their journey is important.
Summer may be a time of year when your child needs your support the most. It’s also important to recognize that relapses can still happen, even if you do everything right. In the event your child does relapse, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Programs like our teen outpatient treatment provide professional services and support your child needs to cope with the challenges and stressors associated with drug addiction.