Final Thoughts: Taking Care of You
We parents who have been through this difficult process want you to know five important things we had to figure out for ourselves over time. We hope you'll trust us with some advice.
- Grief, fear, and shame are normal emotional reactions to placing your child in treatment. Things will get better.
- Whatever happened, it's not your fault. You did your very best.
- The drastic action you take to place your child can be a profound act of courage and love.
- Although there is no guarantee your child will get better, you have done everything you can. You have good reason to be proud of that.
- Because you don't have the power to change your child, only yourself, your job while your child is in treatment is to shift the focus to your own needs, recovery, and progress.
We all make decisions differently and you may come to the decision to place your child out of the home. This is a big decision, one that shouldn't be rushed. It requires an emotional unfolding over time, as you come to terms with the reality that you can no longer parent your child effectively while she lives in your home, choosing instead to entrust her to professional staff who'll work 24/7 to address her issues, with the goal of reuniting her with your family in love and improved mental health. This wrenching task of letting go is also a courageous act of love: for a short period of his life you'll give your youth the gift of intensive work to help him learn to function more effectively in the world. You'll remove him from the negative environment (at home or with peers), providing him with more structure, containment, and services than you can possibly provide at home. And you'll give yourself the gift of a break from the sheer intensity of your parenting experience -- after some rest, you'll have a chance to step back and look at your own part in the family dynamics and conflicts.