6 Ways to Resolve Family Conflict During Residential Treatment
Occasional conflict is part of family life. Conflict can occur when people misunderstand each other and jump to the wrong conclusion. Over time, issues of conflict that are not resolved peacefully can lead to arguments and resentment. Whether your teen is consistently defiant or has pushed your family away and spends most of their time at home in their room, teen issues can affect the whole family dynamic. Family therapy offered during residential treatment help parents and siblings work through family conflict during residential treatment.
Common Causes of Family Conflict during Adolescence
- Teen wanting more independence
- Screen time and Internet Addiction
- Homework reminders
- Conversations about grades or college plans
- Moving to a new house or city
- Parents traveling for work
- Separation or Divorce
- Disagreements over lifestyle choices, like substance use or other risky behaviors
Tips for Conflict Resolution During Residential Treatment
- Plan Structured Conversations. Setting goals at the beginning of a family therapy session can help families determine what things they want to work on and how to measure their progress. Defining the problems you think your family struggles with–either as a group or based on individual input–rather than walking in with no agenda can help your family get the most out of therapy. This doesn’t mean you have to stick to one topic week after week, but picking an umbrella topic can help guide other conversations.
- Try to Separate the Problem From the Person. This is one of the hardest parts of conflict resolution: being objective about the problem without blaming the other person. Often, teens translate “I did something wrong” to “I am something wrong” and absorb guilt and shame from these statements. Instead, focusing on your personal experience and what feelings and memories came up for you that you were uncomfortable with can be more effective than saying “you made me feel this way” or “it’s your fault.” With shared responsibility, all parties are more open to working together to move forward.
- Practice Listening to the Other Person’s Point of View. Conflict often escalates when people are too angry to listen to each other. Active listening, instead of cutting someone off to offer your input, doesn’t mean that you agree with what the other person is saying. It can be helpful to check that you understand by asking questions, but resist the urge to bring up other unresolved but unrelated issues. Often teens feel like they don’t have the chance to express their point of view as it’s assumed to be wrong, so letting them present their full side of the story allows them to have a place at the table.
- Focus on Resolving Conflict, Not Winning Arguments. As mentioned above, it is important to determine what conflict resolution might actually look like. Conflict can easily turn into a power struggle for the validation of being “right.” Instead of trying to prove the other person wrong, ask yourself how you would know that your child was being less defiant. Would you be able to have casual conversations based on mutual interests that didn’t end in an argument? What actions might they take to show you that they respect you? Have you ever felt this in the past? What can you do to meet them halfway?
- Remember to Take Space When Necessary. Residential treatment centers are a great option for families whose conflict is escalating with their child at home. The child may feel trapped while parents may feel powerless as they’re caught in a cycle of anger and arguments that no one seems to be able to win. Sometimes, creating distance allows family members to focus on themselves without the stress of anticipating the next argument. For this reason, family therapy in a residential setting helps family members set boundaries with each other and gives them space to regulate after emotionally intense conversations.
- Schedule Quality Time. Elevations RTC encourages a flexible visitation schedule both on and off-campus for families to reconnect during the treatment process. We recognize that the work done in family therapy and during family workshops is only one piece of the puzzle. Family visits give teens and their families time to practice the skills they’ve learned without anyone to mediate, which helps them monitor their child’s readiness to transition home with proper support.
Elevations RTC Can Help
Elevations RTC is a program for adolescents ages 13-18 that are struggling with depression, anxiety, low self-esteem, impulsivity, and family conflict. We offer a multidisciplinary approach and provide college-preparatory academics, therapeutic recreation activities, and individual, family and group psychotherapy. Our goal is to teach students positive coping skills, communication skills, and self-care practices to help them manage symptoms of depression when stressors arise. Elevations gives students the tools they need to lead healthy, happy lives.
For more information about family programming at Elevations RTC, please call 1-855-290-968.