*If you are interested in Relationship Recovery for couples, you should refer to Day 5’s post. This post can also offer some suggestions, but Day 5 is specifically written for couples.
Whoa! What the heck just happened? How did you get here? You knew your kid had a couple of anger issues, but….when did they cross from a kid making negative choices to being arrested with pending criminal charges? Does this make me a bad parent?
These are all legitimate questions that come to mind when it feels like the life has been knocked out of you. It’s one thing to take responsibility for your actions, but now to have to accept consequences for your child may be a different story! It can be difficult to know when it’s time to get help. It’s not easy to know the difference between “normal” teen defiance and when it’s time to seek professional help. If you’re not sure, I would encourage you to seek the advice of professional who are already in your child’s life, such as teachers, doctors, etc. Counseling is never a bad thing; however, finding the right counselor for your child is important!
You might feel like at this point relationship recovery is impossible. I’m here to tell you that recovery is no fairytale. You will make mistakes. Your child will make mistakes. Life will throw curve balls. You will want to give up. You will get tired. You will want to quit – BUT despite all of this: RELATIONSHIP RECOVERY AFTER VIOLENCE IS POSSIBLE!
The stage you are at (or how bad things are) determines the difficulty of moving forward. For example, if this is a relatively new issue, 1 to 2 months, and you had a healthy relationship prior to the issue – it should be a lot easier than an issue that’s been an ongoing concern for 2 years. There are 3 things to consider when thinking about moving forward: Are you willing to commit? Are you willing to forgive and move on? Do you have support?
Are you willing to commit? Is your teen committed? This is not an easy question to answer, because teens are masters at disguising their emotions. Their words are often harsh, which take the focus from their needs onto what they said in the moment. If you have a teen like this, you can measure their commitment by their actions. For example, if the teen says, “I don’t want to go to dumb counseling!” yet constantly asks questions about. If your teen is verbalizing that they are committed, that’s great! It means step one is already completed. If you both are willing to commit to the process – healing can take place! This leads to the next step…
You must be willing to forgive. I know forgiveness and moving forward is the last thing on your mind right now. Please understand that I know I am asking you to do something very difficult. I am asking you to let your guard down just a little bit and try to see things from a different perspective. No doubt if your child has had issues since grade school, you will most definitely need help changing your perspective. I can hear you now saying, “Seida, you just don’t know how bad it is right now! You have no idea!” My response to that statement would be: Yes healing is possible! Even at this stage in your relationship with your child. I understand that if this is your teen’s 3rd time wrecking your car, you will need help changing your perspective! Again, this is an area a Therapist can help you navigate.
Get support for yourself! Get support for your child! You need support outside of therapy. There are so many support groups available for parents and teens. I would recommend a support group specific to you/your child’s needs. For example, if your son has Bipolar I Disorder, a male teen support group for boys struggling with Bipolar would be more appropriate than a self-esteem group for boys. Your son may struggle with self-esteem, but it would be better to send him to a Bipolar support group as the facilitators will tackle issues specific to Bipolar. Parent supporting teens with Bipolar Disorder would be more appropriate for you. Don’t have time to attend a support group in person? There are plenty of online resources, including online support groups. Although there are online options available, I would recommend teens attend in person support groups. They need to establish connections and tend to interact and participate more when they learn things in person. It would also boost their accountability to their group.
Are you feeling overwhelmed? Are you feeling like you can’t handle this one? I told you for the next 20 days I would challenge you to think differently about your relationships with people around you. It is not easy, but it is worth it! Support is crucial for times like this when you feel like things can’t change. Hang in there! You are more than halfway through the series and there is still more to come! The good news is you don't have to complete everything today!
Tomorrow's Post: Relationship Recovery - Moving Beyond a Hurtful Past