Parent Group – Feedback

To register for our upcoming Parent Group, click here.

It’s every parents fear to wake up and realize your teen is not living the life that you had planned for them: a life full of academic classes, afterschool sports, and a peer group that inspires and encourages them to be the best they can be! You slowly let go of that fantasy and hope for passing grades, and a conversation about university once in a while. Then slowly things can start to unravel to the point where you are lying in bed at 11 PM wondering where they are and if they are ok. It can happen very fast or very slow, and during the transition you can have some really wonderful days where you are filled with hope, but they can be followed with some days that are so devastating that you don’t know how much longer you can do it for.

Every parent has different emotions, feelings, thoughts, and different ways of handling their teen and handling themselves. For me being a type A and a “doer” by nature, my natural reaction was to constantly try to change my teen’s behaviour… I really didn’t know any better, and although it was clearly not working, I continued to keep trying. This was met time and time again with anger, frustration, and sadness.

I kept trying to reach out for my son, talking to counsellors, community support and anyone who I could think of. I would talk to my son and he would reluctantly agree. I would book these appointments, however more often than not he would cancel or not show up. One of the things they kept telling me about was these parent groups that they had including at IMPACT. The first thought that came to mind was… I’m not the one that needs help!

That all changed one day when I was having a conversation with someone and realized that I was the ONLY one who could change. I could not be responsible for the behaviour of my teen, but I COULD be responsible for mine! and that meant being aware of ME, my actions, my feelings, my words, and my behaviour. This was hard, but at the same time a huge relief because it meant that I could finally DO something.  This is how I could love and help my teen.

I had no idea what it would look like or what it would mean but I signed up! I really didn’t have a whole lot of expectations because I didn’t even know if it would be the right thing for me. I thought I would run into a number of families and situations that I possibly couldn’t relate to. After all, we came from a fairly normal family and I was sure I wouldn’t really fit in with the group. Well, I was so wrong. As soon as I showed up and glanced in the room I was pleasantly surprised when I saw a number of really normal and really pleasant looking moms and dads. The kind you would run into at a PAC meeting or basketball practice… just normal moms and dads. This immediately put my mind at ease and also opened me up to what this program would have to offer.

The next seven weeks proved to be an experience I wouldn’t trade for anything. I came away every week feeling a little more capable and more prepared to handle what I was going through. Some of the things that stood out for me were the really well-rounded amount of information that was provided. We covered the physical, mental & social aspects of drug use. We learned more about how drugs were was physically affecting our teen’s brains, short term and long term effects. We learned so much more about why our teens use drugs, and what they might perceive as both positive and negative effects. We also learned so much more about how other parents were handling different situations and although each situation was a slightly different one, I don’t think that there was one that I couldn’t relate to on some level. There was always a very effective combination of practical education, and emotional support.

At the end of the day, we really aren’t much different than our teens. We just want to feel connected; we want to feel that we are not the only one going through something, and like our teens, we NEED the support of anyone around us who understands what we are going through.

One of the first things we are taught when we board a plane is that if the plane is going down we have to make sure that we have a lifeline before we even try to help those around us that need it.  Why do we have to be told that, and why does it seem so counter-intuitive sometimes? That I don’t know, but I do know that sometimes it feels like I need a bit of a lifeline, and I am grateful that it’s out there, and I know that as a result of the experience I am in a lot better position to love and care for my teen as he goes through this very turbulent time.

To register for our upcoming Parent Group, click here.