Sending your child away is difficult, as it will interrupt your life and theirs. While no parent wants to send their child away for internet or video game addiction treatment, doing the right thing is not always the easy thing. There are some ways to help show your support and love for your child while he or she is away and when he or she returns.
Find a Reputable Program
Not all wilderness therapy programs are created equal. To help your child overcome his or her problematic electronics use, make sure when evaluating a wilderness therapy program that they can deliver. Credible wilderness therapy programs:
- Offers access to medical care
- Offers academic credits
- Overseen by a licensed professional
- Fosters family involvement
- Ensures your child has access to medical care and examinations
Communicate With the Treatment Team
Families are vital to the process of change that takes place during wilderness therapy. Although students may be physically distance from their families during treatment, the family bond is vital to your teen’s success. Being involved with and informed about your child’s treatment success is a great way to show him or her that you truly care.
Learn About Any Diagnoses Your Child Receives
For example, if your child is diagnosed with depression, anxiety, etc. educate yourself to find ways to help once he/she returns home. Blogs, support groups, and eBooks are great ways to learn about the struggles your child is facing. It is vital to learn about the signs/symptoms of your child’s so you may monitor and notify his or her doctor if their symptoms worsen. In addition, educating yourself is the best way to make sure you are an effective advocate for your child’s mental and physical well being.
Encourage a Positive Peer Environment
Many teens who engage in excessive video game, internet, or social media use will isolate themselves from their peers. Encouraging your child to interact with other teens is a great way to get him or her assimilated back into the “real world” after treatment. Just make sure these are positive influences; peers who will put your child down for going to treatment are not really his/her friend, and could be detrimental to their progress. On the other hand, positive peers who encourage your child will provide a great support system once your child is back in the “real world.”
Be Your Child’s Cheerleader
During and after your child’s wilderness therapy treatment, it is vital to remain positive, despite the obstacles he or she is facing. Remember not to expect too much too fast and to have realistic expectations for your son or daughter. You should also prepare for and even expect some failure or relapse- it is not the end of the world- but know what steps to take to help him or her get back on track.
While the hold that digital media abuse/addiction can have– especially on young minds– can be strong, your child is stronger than his or her addiction. When you juxtapose the healing power of nature with a skilled wilderness therapy team, the results can be impressive and life-changing.
Download our free white paper, WIRED: Helping Your Teen Unplug from the Digital World, to learn more about wilderness therapy programs and internet or video game addiction treatment.