Someone told me not to write on this subject unless I was prepared to write another book. They suggested, “Nothing you write, no matter how much, will be enough to answer the questions a grieving parent can ask.” Many reports suggest the greatest tragedy that a person can experience—which becomes compounded if the death is the result of a suicide—is the death of a child. As a father of four, I cannot imagine losing one of my children, and I cannot imagine how I would manage to go on with that kind of grief. I assume this is a wound from which I would never fully recover. When I am asked the question about how far a parent should go to essentially ensure their child’s survival, I cannot answer it. No therapist or expert can ever answer that question. Even if we did, and the parents followed our advice exactly, yet their child still took his or her own life, then the parents would likely blame both us and themselves for not doing more.
Viewing entries posted in 2016
This question often arises when a family is left to explain where their child is after they have been sent to therapy. Enrolling a child in treatment can temporarily leave a large hole in a family unit, and parents often struggle to explain this to the community, to extended family, or to the child’s school. And while many parents may not choose to or need to send their child to a residential treatment center, they may still experience feelings of loneliness and isolation because of dealing with a difficult child who is struggling with addiction, depression, anxiety, or any number of other common struggles.
Parents are often exasperated by their child’s poor behavior and choices. The child is behaving in a way that goes against all of the family’s values and morals. With that backdrop, and the obvious negative consequences that child is experiencing due to their behavior, “Why does my child do this,” is a question often asked in desperation by loving parents.
You’re in crisis. You've done all you can at home. Your child is in danger. She has become unresponsive to your requests to set limits or talk. You know you need help, but the school counselor and your family therapist don’t seem to have any answers. You check the internet and find there are schools and programs for “at-risk” adolescents. The websites talk about caring therapy, creative milieu and residential treatment. You come across references to an Educational Consultant. The title seems unclear. You wonder if these professionals work with children suffering from learning differences or with aspirations to get into an Ivy League school.
Should I Pull My Child Out Of School And Send Him To Your Program Or Wait Until The School Year Ends?
A common question from parents at this time of year (Spring) is, "Should I pull my child out of school and send him to your program or wait until the school year ends?"
This is one of the most common questions parents ask when contemplating a child’s emotional reaction to a Wilderness Therapy or long-term rehab intervention. Often, the questions center around whether the child will forgive, will feel abandoned, or will hate the parent. Will your child forgive you if you take away his car, don't let him back into the house, or don't support him financially? These questions tug deeply at the heart of each parent; nothing is so precious as the relationship with one’s child, and the fear of losing that relationship is truly frightening. Ultimately, the parent is asking about whether or not the child will abandon them. And this fear is evidence of a wound from the parent’s own childhood, one that will require their attention as they press forward with the stated goal of helping their child out of mental health or addiction issues.
It was just over five years ago when I attended the personal growth workshop that would change and shape my life going forward. For me, it was a crossroads in an inescapable torrent of anxiety and confusion. For others in attendance, it was time to refuel and reassess the direction in their lives. We all came together with the belief that we had work to do. I came to it after many years of outpatient work with a gifted therapist, while others came as an initial foray into their own personal work. In either case, what was promised was, “You will get out of it exactly what you need.”