Dos and Don’ts For Parents with a child returning home after residential treatment:
· Do: Set clear expectations, guidelines, and boundaries ahead of time. Write them down. Share them.
· Don’t: Confuse the past with the present by letting parent trauma get the best of you.
· Do: Adjust your home plan or agreement as needed. It is a working document and should work for you.
· Don’t: Micro-manage time, structure, and schedules so much because you fear the freer environment.
· Don’t: Try to plan for every single possible negative situation or behavior in your home plan.
· Do: Provide your child with opportunities for earning privileges, freedom, and trust.
· Don’t: Yield to pressures of whining, complaining, negotiation, and emotional pleas for more.
· Do: Gradually increase freedoms and decrease restrictions as you gain trust.
· Do: Remember to use effective communication skills such as reflective listening, “I feel” statements, and validating.
· Do: Remember your sense of humor.
· Do: Practice open and honest communication between treatment providers, yourself, and your child (flexible confidentiality).