If your teenager, or teens in your family, are struggling with addiction, it’s understandable that you want them to get the help they need. Many teens are reluctant to attend rehab or counseling of any kind, preferring to handle their issues in isolation. As a parent or guardian, it’s one of the most difficult questions to wrestle with: “How do I convince my son or daughter to check into rehab, when they don’t want to?”
It’s important to note that forcing the issue isn’t likely the best course of action. The goal is to allow your teenager to willingly pursue rehab, without being forced. We understand how difficult a task that can be, which is why we’ve outlined tips below on convincing your teen to attend rehab.
Does your teenager need rehab?
First, it’s important to determine whether or not your teen needs rehab. Drug and alcohol use can definitely contribute to both short and long-term health issues, but not all substance use necessarily requires rehab attendance. If you’ve found that your teen has only begun trying drugs or alcohol, it’s important to look for signs of underlying addiction. These signs may include:
- Increased drug or alcohol activity
- Progression toward more serious substances
- Issues at school or work related to increased substance use practices
- Decreased personal care
- Financial trouble as a result of increased substance purchases
- Increased time spent with individuals who provide access to substances
If you’ve noticed these signs, or other troubling signs of increased substance use severity that could contribute to long-standing addiction, it’s likely time to encourage your teen to attend rehab to help them address habits before they become chronic.
Make sure your teenager knows they’ll have your support
Teenagers don’t always agree with their parents. In fact, teenagers often disagree with many of their parents’ decisions. However, if your teenager needs to attend rehab then they need to know that you’ll be there to support him or her, every step of the way.
Remember that your teenager doesn’t know what their future looks like. As angry or upset as they might be, they’re likely even more afraid. They’re afraid of the fact that substances have begun to take control of their life; they’re probably also afraid of what family members or friends will think if they go on to attend rehab. Your teenager needs your support, no matter what they might say.
Familiarize your teen with the process
Oftentimes, teenagers are reluctant to attend rehab because of an underlying fear of the process. Fortunately, you can help to mitigate much of that fear simply by taking the time to familiarize your teen with the process. This might even include a physical trip to the rehab facility, where a healthcare professional can answer any questions you or your teen might have.
Here’s one thing that’s important to keep in mind while you’re taking the time to introduce the rehab process to your teen: your teenager is young. It’s understandable that even if they know they need to attend rehab, fear could prevent action. From the start, they’ll have questions about what to expect, how daily rehab sessions will proceed and specifics on treatment modalities.
Why not start with counseling?
Your teenager may very well hesitate to proceed with rehab. Rehab in itself can be intimidating, even with helpful healthcare professionals onsite ready to answer questions and ease concerns every step of the way. Instead, why not start your teen with a less-intense form of therapy? Mental health counseling can help them identify substance use issues in their own lives.
In addition, parents are often the last authority figures that teenagers will consult when making decisions. Like it or not, parents aren’t always the most respected individuals in a teenager’s life. This is where mental health therapists and psychiatrists can be a huge help to you and your teen, speaking from a position of licensed authority.
Obviously, you’ll still want to pursue immediate rehab over mental health counseling if your teenager is in imminent danger. However, if you notice only the beginning signs of substance dependence in your teen, mental health counseling can help provide help in a much less intense setting. If your teenager is wary about attending rehab, mental health counseling is oftentimes a great start.
Teen addiction treatment through Rehab After School
Convincing your teenager to attend rehab is never an easy task. At Rehab After Work, we understand what an important undertaking that is, to help your teen pursue freedom and separation from self-destructive habits. Our Rehab After School program was created exclusively for teenagers, who need personalized rehab treatment through comprehensive care programs that address a full range of needs.
Call (610) 644-6464, or reach out today, to help your teenager receive the help they need from licensed therapists qualified to help both teenagers and families through the treatment process.