Last week we (my husband and I) met with our parent support group for teens that have been in Residential Treatment, more specifically Heritage School in Provo, Utah. This is an informal group of parents that live in our community; five families (including us) that have had teens in an RTC at the same time; these families got to know each other during their travels to and from the parent conferences. We are the fifth family in the group; invited by one of the group members when she learned about our sons placement. All of the teens graduated a few years before our son and it is interesting to hear how life is “post residential treatment”. This is our group that really understands what it is like to have a troubled teen at home and we always have a great time when we are together with a lot of good laughs and a few crys. Read on, you will see recovery continues to be a mixed bag.
Brief demographics of the group:
- All the adults are professionals
- Four of the five teens are adopted, with no siblings
- Three boys and two girls
- Two of the families are single mothers, one family is divorced both parents are very involved and two families have both parents at home.
- All the teens are over 18, except my son who will be 18 in a few weeks. None of the teens are 21.
- I don’t think any of the teens are attending a 12 step program, many of the parent are in Ala-Non.
Below is a synopsis of each family situation at this time.
Family One: Son returned home from a step down and attended the local high school. Got in trouble at the local high school dealing drugs, was oppositional and defiant at home. A major event happened in the home parents called the police and their son ended up in juvenile hall. After this event the boy did not return home he lived with another family. The parents are very strict about the boundaries at home and he has not lived at home since. He has visited and the parents help with some essential living expenses (health insurance for one). Now he is couch surfing, but seems to be surviving on his own and to my knowledge may not be using drugs or if he is seems to be staying under the radar.
Family Two: Daughter, after graduating from a step down, got a job with a major department store. Kept the job for a few years now is unemployed and not going to school. Talks about wanting to do Internet classes. Met a guy, fell in love and got married at 19. Now she spends most of her day planning her “real” wedding; which I think is this summer. From all that I can tell she is staying out of trouble and appears to be doing well.
Family Three: Daughter, graduated from the RTC returned home and really has not been able to focus or have any real definite goals. Spends most of her days doing nothing. Tried going to school but it did not work. Right now the mother is quite upset, the daughter does not follow the house rules, is not contributing. They are attending family therapy, the mom would like her to move out but is afraid for her daughter that she cannot do it on her own and does not have any money. The girl recently had pictures taken for a portfolio and wants to be a model. Smokes and uses drugs and has had a few different boyfriends.
Family Four: Son and I don’t know much about this family. He is living at home to the mother’s dismay. Does not appear to be compliant and I do not think he is contributing or going to school. Right now the mother is debating helping him find a room, paying the rent to get him out of the house.
Family Five: This is my family, son and soon to be 18. This coming week he should be completing his studies to graduate from high school (keep your fingers crossed). Enrolled to start junior college the next week. Does not have a job, hangs with friends on the street when not in school. Using drugs and smokes cigarettes (not in our home). Appears to be staying “under the radar” and has not been in trouble lately with the law. When at home he is compliant and does not appear to be under the influence. We are taking it one day at a time!
Speaking for my family, even though it may not be perfect, it is so much better than it was pre-treatment. For me I have resolved myself to accepting my family for what some may think as shortcomings and I hope that as we continue to work together it will also continue to improve.
If you have a teen that has completed a treatment program or went to residential treatment and is now discharged how are they doing? Please comment and share your experience. Those of you that have not experienced residential treatment and have a troubled teen how are you doing?