Let’s face it, kids don’t realize how much parents do for their kids: run them to sports events, to doctors, to friends’ houses, etc., Not to mention parents organize family vacations around their schedules, research schools, careers, monitor homework, so many activities all to give our children a fulfilled and happy life and to provide every opportunity we can for them. Sooo, holiday breaks occur or summer vacation, we hope we can also have a breather, a break from driving them to doctors, therapists, school functions, etc. Not only that, but as responsible parents we want our kids to have a breather too so when they say they don’t feel like “having to go to therapy when I have off” what’s a parent to do? How can they refuse them?
This is the therapeutic dilemma: we don’t want to take our kids out of school to attend therapy sessions, but then on snow days or vacation days, summer break, when they don’t have school, we don’t want them to miss out on any fun. How do we resolve this?
When we step back for a moment and look at the big picture we are looking at one hour a week plus the drive which will not interfere with anyone’s life style.
The Good News
On the plus side that continuity of therapy is going to help your kids reach their goals much faster. Weekly therapy is most beneficial for fast and consistent results. Coming to therapy even when on break and summer vacation helps to teach your teens about commitment, and responsibility; Most importantly therapy is much more than a crisis management system. The school year can be filled with stress and overwhelming emotions. Therefore, therapy sessions can often be focused on how to manage in the moment crisis. But when things calm down during the summer, this is a time when your teens can dive deep and truly heal. They have the opportunity to explore feelings and heal distress on an in depth level because they are not dealing with weekly peer or academic stressors.
If we give in to our kids, the negative side of losing that continuity is that our kids begin to take therapy less seriously. The progress they were making can be disrupted. It will negatively impact the generalization and maintaining of their coping skills and behavior changes. Summer has less structure and it is easy to stop practicing our skills.
I know what you are thinking…Does missing one week of therapy really make that much of a difference. Well, the answer is both yes and no. In the big picture one week doesn’t necessarily make a huge difference for some.
It is easy for one cancellation to turn into two, and so forth and so on. Before you know it your teen will only attending therapy monthly or less. Then come fall when the stress of the school year hits, and crisis breaks out, you will be saying to yourself, “I don’t understand, you have been in therapy all summer, why don’t you have the skills to manage this by now.”
We have all been there, things get busy, and something gets put on the back burner.
The reality is if you decrease sessions, your teen hasn’t been in therapy learning to manage distress. This is a pattern I see year after year and it is an easy trap to fall into. Life gets busy, summer appears to have less stress, and everyone deserves time to themselves.
As much as any of us, if not all of us, want a breather, a break, from the hectic and chaotic life of raising of teenager, it is helpful to look at what is most important to help to resolve this dilemma. Not everyone will need the same things and same therapy, but if your teen needs continued support this summer, remember it is only 1 hr a week and the results will be worth it: A teen who has the skills to live a life they love!
If you have a teen that is in need of support as this school year is coming to an end. Click here to learn more about how Mindful Healing can help.