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Trails Carolina Family Programming Director Discusses Holidays after Treatment

Trails Carolina Family Programming Director Discusses Holidays after Treatment

The holiday season can be one of the most joyous times of the year, but also the most stressful. For teens who have recently completed treatment at Trails and have returned home for the holidays, the holiday season should continue to have structure and be intentional.
In previous blogs, I have discussed the ways in which Trails celebrates the holidays on campus and supports siblings and parents back home over the holidays.
For this blog, I would like to discuss what the holidays should look like after a child returns home from treatment.

Don’t overdo it

One of the things we want families to be mindful of, especially right after their child has returned from treatment, is not making up for holidays spend in treatment by buying expensive and lavish gifts for their children. Sometimes parents feel guilty and start to buy gifts based on their emotional state, rather than buying intentional gifts. When this happens, the child who has returned from treatment may start to think that all of the presents are because of them being in treatment and not because of the holidays.
Sending your child away to get the help they need is one of the greatest gifts you could ever give your child. We try to help families keep that in mind during the holiday season so that families aren’t feeding into materialism or entitlement right after treatment.

Keeping structure in place

Often, while families are reconnecting over the holidays, structure can disappear. During the holidays, everyone is celebrating and rigid schedules can slip through the cracks. We try to help families remember that it is very important to stick to daily routines even during the holidays. It’s also important to be intentional about communicating what the holidays will be like after your child returns from treatment.
The holidays can be a stressful time for the whole family and a time of transitions. Many students have, historically, not handled transitions very well. However, at Trails, the focus we put on helping students navigate transitions has helped alumni and their families celebrate the holiday season in a less stressful, more intentional way.


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