Repairing Trust in the Parent Teen Relationship during Recovery
Trust is tough. It’s never the same once it is broken. It is the elephant in the room. The elephant that no one wants to see or mend. It can mean the difference between permanent recovery and relapse. However tough their exterior, make no mistake; they crave your trust. Above all, they want the opportunity to deserve your trust.
This is not an easy process and it takes time. Continuing the hard-fought momentum of recovery is fundamental, especially after your teen’s completion of the program. It requires you, the parent, to be vulnerable. Without that sense, your teen will not recognize an opportunity to reconstruct their reputation. And if they do not see the opportunity, the motivation to reconstruct their reputation alone may not be enough.
Flowers and Relationships Bloom
Flowers bloom when the right amount of sun and water are present. Just as well, relationships bloom when Trust and Forgiveness are present. Not unlike the flower, your teen will bloom when you trust and forgive them. Love, acceptance and trust, in spite of their past deeds, is the nourishment they need.
Reconciliation is a journey of its own. One that you are a part of, and it takes TIME. This is not going to happen overnight.
How long has the relationship between you and your teen lacked trust? Months? A Year? Years? Allow the process of reconciliation as much time.
My experience with Family Addiction
At the age of 19, my own sister struggled with addiction. Cocaine and Xanax. In time, her use grew out of control. Each night our mother went to bed without knowing if she would receive the call informing her with news of an overdose. It was her ultimate fear. Fast-forward to today, my sister is 23. She has been clean for four years and the relationship between her and my mother is healthier than ever.
How? It was through time and unconditional love. My mother allowed herself to be vulnerable, she supported my sister without trying to control her. My mother cultivated the right environment for my sister to blossom and she did!
With the right ingredients, the relationship between you and your teen can heal for good! Only with patience and time is permanent healing possible. The only love that heals is unconditional.
Here are 5 ways to repair the TRUST with your teen:
1. PAST IS PASSED!
Let go of judgement. You cannot repair trust if you do not make the conscious vow to leave the past in the past! Yes, they have hurt you. Lied to you. Stolen from you. Trampled on your confidence. Do not beat a dead horse. Do not harp on everything wrong they have done in the past.
FOCUS on everything right they are doing now. Do not allow their past actions to direct you away from your mission to help your teen. Don’t let the past rob them of a chance to redefine who they are, and the rare opportunity they themselves can provide a parent. To heal you. To restore Truth. To give to you Trust.
Teens despise being judged
Know that if your teen feels judged, they will seek refuge in their poison. If your teen feels loved, they will seek solace in their family. Love wins more confidence than judgement ever stands to destroy. A parent’s love is greater than any drug and judgement can only work against the greatest tool you have at your disposal.
Continually allow them the chance to say they are no longer the person they had become. Allow them the chance to escape their reputation defined by their addiction and build a new one free of it. Without your support, the challenge to do so becomes more difficult.
Let go of ‘em! Why? Because expectations place a tremendous amount of pressure on your teen. And pressure is not an element that anyone in recovery does well with. It is illusory, and creates an unnecessary roadblock on the path to recovery.
When you go to the beach you can grasp sand best with an open palm. If you squeeze it in your palm, the sand escapes. Keep your mind open and allow them to settle into the adult they are becoming. Do not squeeze them, they will slip away. If they disappoint, they know you are in pain. If they know you are in pain, they will run to old habits. This will become another anchor which binds them to their vice.
Free yourself from the condition of blame. Extricate yourself from the inability to forgive. Free yourself from the idea that you, as a parent, have failed your teen. Liberate yourself from the fear of relapse. Free yourself from the fear of overdose.
HOW? By creating new thought patterns, taking responsibility instead of blame. And finding the strength to forgive. By accepting that you have done what you could as a parent. You are not in control of the situation and that is what hurts the most. All you are in control of, is giving (or not) unconditional love.
What you think about manifests into your reality. Think positive thoughts. Today, start imagining your teen living and maintaining a sober life. You can practice this exercise twice a day, once in the morning and once before bed. Sit and imagine your teen sober and progressing towards positive goals.
4. POSITIVE COMMUNICATION
When communicating with your teen, use positive, inspirational and encouraging words. Renovate your vocabulary. The result of communication will be the product of the words and tone of voice that you use when you speak to them. Before speaking, clarify the result that you want out of the conversation.
Speak based on the result that you want. Remember, if you are confrontational, they will retreat and cease to communicate. Do not enter a shouting match. This will only bring out the worst from each party and result in ZERO resolution. Do not communicate with the motive and template of who is “right” and who is “wrong”. There is no right. There is no wrong.
Listen to them, hear them and do your best to understand them. Most importantly, always be available for your teen. Maintain an open-door policy, and allow them to feel they can open up to you, especially with themes you may not want to hear.
Prove all these things through daily ACTION. Show that you have let things in the past go, by never bringing them up again. Prove that you let go of expectations, by not placing any on your teen. Prove yourself to be a positive force in their recovery by using an encouraging tone and words.
ONLY when these 5 elements are ACTIVE will the process of healing the relationship begin. Knowing things mean nothing if the changes are not applied to daily living. Reading this article is not enough. Implement these modifications and mend the hurt. Telling them that you trust them again will not be enough. They need to see this through ACTION. Through your actions, your words and your thoughts. Provide them with the tools they need to believe in themselves once again.
Love them, even when they are not strong enough to love themselves.
Hey! It’s Shanee. Momma. Stage 5 Cancer Survivor. So, I started writing when I underwent chemotherapy as a young child. A fierce recovery process that endured half a decade. In that time and afterwards, I have written prolifically. One of my works was honored with a prologue by Stephen Co, internationally renowned author of Your Hands Can Heal You. I create and strategize top-notch content for companies that captivates their audiences. Health, Wellness and Spiritual content is my forte. Turnaround time and quality of work serve as the impetus for my demand.