As parents, the natural inclination is to intervene when our children face adversity. However, recognizing when challenges evolve into patterns is crucial. When these patterns emerge, it is imperative for parents (you!) to intervene and seek help, as failure to do so may turn these patterns into a way of life.
Embarking on the Journey of Outdoor Treatment with your Young Adult
Elizabeth Seib, LMFT
Prioritize Your Own Self-Care
Take a moment to understand your emotions and impulses. Resist the urge to fix everything for your child; This is likely impossible to do alone, and nature-based treatment programs like Emerald Arrow and Blue Ridge are here to provide that external support your family needs.
It is unfair to expect yourself to act as a therapist and a parent—acknowledging the need for external assistance is a vital first step in relinquishing some of the extra responsibilities parents often assume for their children. Reframe treatment as a period of time for everyone in the family to reflect, reset and dig into their own patterns as they learn more about their individual needs and values.
To support your child effectively, commence by recognizing your own fears, instincts, and emotions. Step back, take deep breaths, and focus on the bigger picture. Our present actions shape our future, and cultivating healthy life skills is crucial.
Initiate Change: Identify Concerns and Take Action
Effectively supporting your child involves identifying concerns and reasons for worry. Document the narrative of the past few years—unachieved goals, excuses made. Take a stand that Blue Ridge is the right step for your child and family's well-being.
Initiate the conversation by sharing your emotions and asking your child about their feelings and struggles. Emphasize the importance of seeking help and moving forward together. Decide what you are willing to commit to if your child does or does not agree to enroll in treatment, and stick to it. Let this be the first boundary to be set in your new, renewed relationship with your child. Recognize the discomfort, remember the reason.
Overcome Resistance together: Addressing Fears
Expect objections from your child regarding treatment. Anticipate concerns about leaving a job, a relationship, or pending academic plans. Address these objections by highlighting the bigger picture and emphasizing the benefits of this therapeutic journey!
Encourage your child to see beyond short-term obstacles and consider the long-term impact of their choices. Challenge the idea that seeking help is a sign of weakness, and emphasize the courage in acknowledging struggles.
For some, the “traditional path” into adulthood simply is not the right fit. To ignore mental health struggles in order to stick with an arbitrary timeline is to miss the point of growing up, and will likely result in more acute and unmanageable mental health issues further down the road.
Choosing the Bold Path: Why Emerald Arrow?
Your child may question the need for wilderness therapy, expressing fears about technology withdrawal, clothing choices, or the program's duration. Address these concerns by explaining the holistic approach of Blue Ridge, focusing on building life skills, trying new things, and forming new, healthier habits.
Acknowledge that the program takes time—often around 9-12 weeks—to create lasting changes. Emphasize the importance of mindfulness and yoga in rewiring neural pathways, providing tools for lifelong well-being. Help your child understand the opportunity for connection and community building with their peers in a once-in-a-lifetime environment that could catapult them into a flourishing life. Help your young adult envision the future they truly want for themselves, and support those life goals as a potential result of dedicating a semester or summer to putting in deep therapeutic work and graduating from Emerald Arrow.
A Promising Future: Conclusion - Supporting Your Child's Growth
In moments when our loved ones are hurting, the instinct is to protect. However, identifying your concerns and recognizing the need for support can prevent negative patterns from becoming a way of life. Blue Ridge offers a path to healing and growth for your young adult.
For more information about the Emerald Arrow program for young adults at Blue Ridge, contact our compassionate Admissions Team by calling 888-914-1050, email email@example.com, or contact us on our website.