When hope about our child’s life and future is shaken, it changes everything. Whether your hope has been gradually fading as you watch your child become someone you don’t recognize, or if your hope is suddenly snatched by an unfortunate decision with dire consequences, you know that feeling that comes with not really knowing if your child is going to be ok.
As a therapist, educational/therapeutic placement advisor and as a director of admission at therapeutic, residential programs, I have opportunity everyday to speak to parents who are searching for answers. It is a significant honor and responsibility to help parents navigate the options to finding hope for their son or daughter. It is such a wonderful experience to watch parents rediscover hope for their child’s future again.
The out-of-home placement of a child in a residential program, particularly a therapeutic placement like a boarding school or residential treatment program, is one of the most difficult and yet important decisions that parents face. When I examine the type of dialogue that I have with parents, I have identified five stages that define the process by which most parents work through – that is, how they approach and complete this really difficult decision of deciding upon residential treatment.
The five stages are:
1. Acceptance – coming to accept that a problem exists.
2. Recognition – coming to recognize that help will require something different and unfamiliar
3. Sacrifices & Courage - accepting the sacrifices that must be made and having the courage to take action
4. Realization – realizing that healing and real change takes time
5. New Roles – coming to terms with their (new) role as agents of change.
I’ll address each of these in subsequent blog posts in the coming weeks.