Quote of the Week

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

Mirror Mirror on the wall..
Posted by:Lloyd Woodward--Thursday, November 28, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving to all PSST parents everywhere! We love our parents at the meetings and also those of you who follow us on this blog and on our Yahoo Groups email.

Just a note to say that we fixed our search window. If you find anything interesting in our archives please post a comment to let us know what you found. I just put "Thankful" in the window and found the above post by Sally and I re-posted. The other day I put "Parent Rights" in the window and found a post that I wrote for July 4th 2012. It had been such a long time that I felt like I was reading someone else's post.

I stand behind that "Parent Rights" post but I couldn't help but notice that it says nothing of parent responsibilities. For example, of course it's a parent's right to disagree with experts (#12) and of course parents are really expert on their own children but what if a parents disagrees with most of the experts most of the time? What if a parent's disagreements with professionals undermines the treatment that a teenager is receiving in an inpatient program? Isn't it also a parent-responsibility to support rather than undermine the treatment that the teenager is there to receive? Sometimes Parent Rights and Parent Responsibilities collide.

For example, inpatient challenges the teen to take responsibility. In the beginning the teenager blames everyone else for his predicament. After a time in treatment he begins to see that he has played a role and that he has done that by making poor decisions. This is the sort of turn around we are hoping for and when the teenager stands up and says, "You know that's something that I have to change in myself," we all applaud!

It could very well be that the thing he glimpses that he needs to change is whether or not to continue to go through life as a victim!

For each of us there is plenty of evidence that we are victimized. We are victimized by so many situations and people on a daily basis: from the person who misinformed us about our new mortgage to the person at the grocery store who never should have bagged the bananas with the bleach!

Where does our responsibility come into it? We signed the mortgage so should we have known what we were signing? Should we have asked more questions? Maybe not but I'm just saying do we take the time to examine our role or are we eager to find someone to blame for each of our predicaments? Should we have watched the grocery person throw those two things into our bag? Perhaps that's something we expect not to have to worry about and yet, we are also there are we not?

Here's why this is so important. If we decide to go through life operating from a victim's stance then it becomes very difficult to change ourselves. Instead, we go through life trying to change everyone else and boy is that a frustrating endeavor! Once we decide to abandon our victim's stance, we begin to examine our role in things and that allows the spark that can start a blaze of self growth. Without that spark there is small chance for change.

As we have often said in this blog, one of the gifts that we can offer to our teenagers is good role-modeling. We will be imitated by our children. So, if we choose to act primarily as victims, we do little to help our teenager to grow up and become a responsible person. Raising responsible people, that's our job as parents and when we have our teen inpatient it's an ideal time to begin to become more responsible ourselves.

So, let's go back to disagreeing with the experts. Sure, we can and should do that; however, if we find that a couple of these experts are saying the same thing it should raise a questioning flag. Even if our opinion is that "they" are all incompetent and "they" are all wrong and we begin to feel like we know more than the psychiatrist, more than the family therapist, more than the social worker, more than the probation officer and more than the judge, then maybe it's time to realize that while we have the right to disagree with the experts we also have a responsibility to support the treatment that our teen is getting. If our disagreements range so large as to undermine the very treatment that our teen is getting and especially if our intervention continually reinforces the fact that our teen is a victim, that he isn't competent, and that he really can't do any better, then at the end of the day let's be thankful there are mirrors and let's find one and take a good look.

I am thankful that parents who attend PSST usually don't undermine the treatment that their teenager is in inpatient to receive! Happy Thanksgiving everyone!


Anonymous said...

Wow! Powerful post. I'm going to print this out & pass them out at my Nar-Anon meeting. We hear a lot of complaints about everyone & everything! It would be nice if we can find some gratitude for those that are there to help us!

Anonymous said...

I'm grateful for finding PSST all those years ago and so appreciate all of the parents, providers, probation officers and everyone who has helped us to get this far. My daughter is alive and clean today. She does it one day at a time. Without the support of this group I'm not sure where I would be.....but I'm probably the one you were referring to since I might have tried to guide the first facility to do it my way! Ok I was pushy and opinionated! Of course after the third or maybe it was the fourth treatment facility I started to get tired or maybe it was wiser and allowed the professionals to do what they are trained and paid to do and I took that time to work on me. Not to mention my family that I might have been guilty of neglecting!
I think the look in the mirror is a brilliant suggestion....I'll take that advice. Thank you Lloyd, Val & the PSST parents as well as the Wesley Spectrum Team!


Anonymous said...

Very well said Lloyd!

Jim & I have always looked at the people who have come into our lives due to Andy's addiction and criminal behavior as another important part of TEAM ANDY!

Yes, there were a few that needed to be voted off the island for a higher level of care, but certainly less than a handful.

Just counseled a parent last week on supporting THE CHILD and not to beat up the system or overworked court/placement staff.

All parents involved in this substance abuse chapter of their lives must remember court/placement staff are there to help the child and fractured family relationship.
Cheryl, Jim & Andy


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