I was recently asked, “if I was sending my son or daughter to rehab what would I do”? Where would I send him or her? What would I look for? To be honest I had to think a bunch about it before I could answer. I shared some of my thoughts and made some suggestions. Then I thought, what would I do if my adolescent child needed rehab? What would be the ideal adolescent treatment program?
The first thing I would want is a treatment center that works with a set age group possibly 14 to 18 or 16 to 20 or 21 to 26 or at least kept the younger teens segregated. As well I want the center to be gender specific. I would prefer that it is not co-ed with the genders separated, because we all know that hormones are raging for youth and they will find a way to get together.
But more importantly, I want to make sure that every participant is in rehab for their first time. Yes, every kid must be there for their first stint in rehab. The last thing I want to do is send my child into a negative learning environment. I want my son or daughter to have the best environment and a positive culture for healing. Knowing that the people that have been in rehab multiple times are more likely to disturb the environment and bring the mentality of the drug culture to my child, I prefer to have a group of kids together that have never experienced rehab in the past. This is simply my personal preference.
On that same note I want a small facility with a maximum of 32 adolescents. Honestly, I believe 12 to 16 participants would be ideal. I believe a positive environment is a huge advantage for the teen and keeping the size of the center small may help keep the environment positive.
Now you may be thinking, “a center like this would cost a fortune”… You may be right, however, to my knowledge there is no agency that utilizes all of these suggestions. But contrary to some parent advocates I believe that money is only an issue in the absence of value. If my child had a life threatening cancer or any other disease I would readily incur the debt to get them the help they need.
I know of one advisor for parents in the Northeast that suggests sending kids to free treatment centers or the very cheapest centers possible. But let me tell you how big of a mistake this is. Imagine sending your child into the world of the drug culture. What do you think adolescents are focusing on that are sent to treatment by the court? Are they considering recovery? Or is it a breeding ground for future drug use and criminal activity? It is ludicrous to send your kid right into the lions den!
The focus of the ideal adolescent center would be recovery, Motivational Interviewing (therapy), education, vocation, team building, fitness, recreation, mutual support, and positive socialization events and interactions. It would be a 90-day program that has a scheduled start and completion date with a formal graduation. Followed by a minimum of six months program specific aftercare.
Well maybe one day this will be reality!
Go, Go, Go…