Adjusting to Having a Child in Residential Treatment

This is a follow up post to ‘Let’s Talk About Residential Treatment.’ Margaret shares their families experience with making the agonizing decision to place their son in Residential Treatment.

I never thought residential would be easy. It’s a whole different kind of roller coaster or maybe the power tower. The up. The down.

Surprisingly, I find myself enjoying the “easy” parts. The day to day with just the two other boys, going to my sons baseball games, going out to eat and running errands. I can tell my body and mind are settling down. They are getting used to anxiety free moments.

We are all working hard to continue the anxiety free lifestyle. I am in therapy. We are in family therapy. We are having fun together.

And most importantly, we are being parents. We have implemented new chores. We are working hard to be consistent here at home. (Read: frustrated kids and a grounded almost 14 year old.)

I long for William to be home. To have all my boys under our roof. But his weekends home are HARD. I can feel my body tense up in anticipation. I am trying to follow my therapist’s advice, “Be compassionate with yourself. Name what you are feeling. Then let it go.”

Obviously, this takes practice.

When William was first coming home, I saw myself disengage. I felt guilty about that for quite awhile. It took some time working with my therapist to understand that behavior. What I came to understand, was that I was putting up a wall to protect myself. That boundaries needed to be reestablished between William and I.

I was his frontal lobe, his problem solver, his emotional regulator, his punching bag for so many months.

Now I have to figure out how to just be his mom again. A special needs mama bear for sure, but just a mom.

William has made SO much progress. But his time at home is not easy. He still struggles on how to fill his time. As he himself states, “At Northwood they tell me what to do all the time and at home I have too many choices.” Exactly.

Residential can not be like home and home can not be like residential. Therein lies the struggle.

We are still adjusting the best we can. We are making progress. We are hoping for a less tumultuous ride but we have our safety harnesses on.

Written by, Margaret Axe

Margaret is the proud mama to William, an eleven year old boy with autism, ADHD and anxiety. Margaret shares the journey of her sweet, tow headed, sensitive boy on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/hopeiswhatmatters/. She hopes her page educates, inspires, reduces stigmas and provides hope for all those who love someone with a mental illness.

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Finding Cooper’s Voice is a safe, humorous, caring and honest place where you can celebrate the unique challenges of parenting a special needs child. Because you’re never alone in the struggles you face. And once you find your people, your allies, your village….all the challenges and struggles will seem just a little bit easier. Welcome to our journey. You can also follow us on Facebook and subscribe to our newsletter.

 

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Finding Cooper's Voice is a safe, humorous, caring and honest place where you can celebrate the unique challenges of parenting a special needs child. Because you're never alone in the struggles you face. And once you find your people, your allies, your village....all the challenges and struggles will seem just a little bit easier. Welcome to my page!

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