Quote of the Week

"If I cannot do great things, I can do small things in a great way" ~ Martin Luther King, Jr.

Tips from the Sixth-Year PSST Reunion. (Use comments to add more wisdom to this post please.)
Posted by:Lloyd Woodward--Sunday, December 06, 2009

The tips that parents were giving to each other were so good that Val started taking notes on her Blackberry during this rare reunion meeting. We saw some faces that we haven't seen for a while. Some parents who showed up first started attending PSST five years ago. There were about 13 parent/family members present. Instead of going around the circle like we often do, we shared by who had the most PSST seniority.

1. If it seems like things aren't working out right, keep coming back to PSST and there's a good chance that things will get better.

2 Once you find yourself at a PSST meeting you can never go back, i.e., you can never go back to the old ways of interacting with your teenager because you realize that the old ways don't work anymore. You're past the point of no return and you have to move forward with the new techniques even if seems at first like it's not working.

3. Acceptance, expectations and keep the focus on yourself. For example, you may have warned your teenager that if they didn't do better in high school they would have to go to Community College. Now, you would love to see him go to Community College.

4. Admit that there are times that you don't like or feel the love towards your teenager. It's OK to admitt that and in light of what you've been through- it's very normal.

5. Hold your teenager accountable for his behavior, decisions, etc. This came up more than once.

6. It's OK to stand up to your teenager and even call the police if it feels horribly uncomfortable. It gets easier after the first time.

7. Our teenager will probably eventually be OK. We will be OK either way.

8. Go to NARANON for additional help.

9. If your teen won't get out of bed in the morning "skip the spritzers and dump the water!

10. It might not look good now but you will get through this.

11. Parents need to stay on the same page and prevent "splitting."

12. Drug addiction is a disease- but there is hope.

13 Coming to PSST makes you realize that you are not alone ("I realized once I got here- Everyone here has a teen like mine! And that was such a good feeling.")

14. Sometimes when your kid is released from an institution or treatment program he acts like a cat that just got out of a pillow case. (and then Lloyd will come for him in the middle of the night.)

15. Take time to focus on fixing the damage at home while your teen is in placement.

16. Chaos does not have to be the norm.

17. Once they are out of the house, don't invite them back.

18. A lot of things you learn in PSST don't feel right when you first try them. Keep trying.

19. Just like in any field, all counselors, therapists, and other helping professionals are not good at what they do. If you're getting advice from someone, and it feels wrong- get a second opinion. Several parents shared stories of how they were undermined by professionals and how hard it can be to find out "what to do."

20. Use ACT 53.

21. Perhaps the funniest advice all meeting was: If you are driving your teen to rehab and you are afraid he might run, take him the longest way possible so that he has no idea where he is but so that he believes that he is really really far away. Later, he will probably tell you that he "found a much better way to get there."

You really had to be there to get the import of some of this wisdom. It's contextual. It was a very powerful meeting. Thanks to all who showed up to lend a hand and support PSST.

Should we do again the same way next week in Wexford?


Sally said...

I think it would be a good decision to use the same format at the next meeting because there will probably be other 'words of wisdom' that the parents may share at the Wexford meeting that we may have overlooked. I appreciate that Val and Lloyd got all of the wisdom written down because it is a good summary of what we spoke about in the meetings this year-in-a-glance.

V said...

What a great meeting! I always leave a meeting with a my head held a little higher and feeling a little "tougher"! I did want to comment on the role play - because we sometimes as parents want to protect our kids, even our addicted children, you may find that a parent may keep what we might consider a small secret. Then when our kid does something dangerous or that voilates his/her probation we want to contact the PO, and we should. The problem with keeping small secrets is that these kids can't always judge the difference between mild bad behavior (or normal teen stuff) from dangerous behaviors. That't why they get in trouble! So as parents we need to show them that every action big, small, major infraction or minor infraction, has a consequence. That, after all is a basic fact of life. If you get to the point where you did keep a few secrets and don't want to keep another admit your mistake and show them you will make ammends by correctiong your own behavior!


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