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Did I Overreact?

Parenting can often be isolating, especially when raising a child who struggles with their mental health. However, you don't have to be in this alone. Our Family Support Partners (FSPs) are here, and they want to help.

To better show how working with an FSP can be an asset to you and your family check out our brand new segment - Ask an FSP! You will get a sneak peak into the real life challenges that families are facing across the state and how an FSP can help these families address, understand, and navigate them.

Ask an FSP - Question

"My 14-year-old son went to a residential treatment facility about a week ago after some substance abuse and violent outbursts.

Now that he’s been there a few days, he is allowed to call me but he’s noticeably sad and miserable. However, he can be manipulative, so I don’t even know what “bad” means and to what extent he is struggling there.

I am not naive, I knew he wasn’t going to love it there but I feel so awful. I keep thinking - did I overreact by sending him? Even though I know it’s not true. This is so difficult, what do I do with all this mom guilt I have 24/7?"

Ask an FSP - Answer

"The decision for your child to go to an RTF, I am sure, was an incredibly challenging one for you to make. I am so proud of you for making that decision for your child's longterm wellbeing. 

As parents we need to remind ourselves that we are not doing this to our children, we are doing this for our children. 

Before you talk to your son the next time, make a plan or come up with a list for some topics that you think would be good points of conversation. 

A funny story about a family pet, an update on their favorite sports team, anything you think can keep the conversation open. That way you have things to talk about, while leaving your son some space to talk and share.

It might help to reframe your thinking around your child being manipulative. Acknowledge that he is sharing his feelings, but remember that your conversation doesn't have to solve anything. 

Just listen and acknowledge his feelings, you don't need to "fix it." That can take a little bit of the pressure off of you during these calls.  

If he says something like "I hate it here, they won't let me do anything." Say something like; "I understand that this can be a hard thing for you." and use some reflective listening techniques. 

Question's like: "Why won't you come get me?" can be answered by saying something like "We can ask about when you'll be coming home the next time we talk to your doctor." 

Then you can try some of your conversation topics to refocus the conversation if it's appropriate. Be prepared that sometimes the conversation isn't going to be productive. You could be blamed for all of their hardships, I know that it is so hard but try and listen quietly and let your son vent.

Do your best to not take what he says in this moment personally. End the call by saying "I hope that this week/tomorrow goes better and I love you. I will talk to you soon." 

Try to remind yourself that it is very early in his placement. Give both you and him some grace right now to allow him the best chance for healing."

Do you need support right now?

This mom who wrote in to our FSPs ultimately needed validation that she was doing the right thing, and support through this stressful parenting moment. 

Does that sound like something you could use right now too? Would you like to talk to someone who understands what it's like to raise a child who struggles with their mental health and won't judge anything about your situation?

Do you need to vent in a safe place that can help you figure out your next step? 

You're in luck! Any Pennsylvania parent can call our FSPs and get a real live person on the other end who is ready to listen and support. 

Book a time today or give us a call at 570-664-8615 and we will get back to you within 48 business hours!


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