When your child is having problems with communication and reciprocal social interaction, it can be frustrating for parents to know how to best support them. As one of the primary treatment goals for teens with autism is developing self-efficacy and independence, it is important for parents to stay involved in the treatment process. From the initial assessment process to aftercare resources and support, the entire family plays an essential role in developing a road map for their child’s success.
Parenting Stress Common Among Parents of Autistic Teens
The struggles teens experience can affect their parents and siblings as well. When someone in the family is struggling emotionally, the entire family may struggle with knowing how to connect and support each other. Parenting stress is not uncommon among those caring for loved ones with Autism, mental health issues, or learning disorders. The fact that their child is on the spectrum does not necessarily increase parenting stress. However, behavioral problems, increased dependence, and social difficulties can make it difficult for parents to differentiate their child’s issues from their own.
Some of the challenges parents may face include:
- They may want to jump in and rescue their child from distress, even if this is not possible for them to do consistently
- They may be hard on themselves for not being able to help the way they want to
- They may struggle with low self-esteem, anxiety, or exhaustion
- They may feel incapable of managing their own stress effectively
- They may compromise their own needs in prioritizing the needs of their child
Facilitating Their Child’s Independence
One of the benefits of a residential treatment center for teens with autism is that it gives them more opportunities to practice skills in a different setting. Teens with autism very easily get into routines that they find hard to break. This predictability may give them a sense of safety, but it does not prepare them to cope effectively with transitions they may experience. While it is hard for families to change their role as their teen grows up, becoming more independent is a process.
Using an autonomy development model, we work with families to help their child become more independent, learn social skills, and find the motivation to succeed one step at a time. Through the process, parents shift from caregivers for their child to a resource they can reach out to for support. This involves addressing teens’ attachment issues and low self-esteem and helping them establish confidence in their personal goals.
Rebuilding Relationships Through Family Therapy
Reaching out for support from friends, family members, support groups, or professionals can help parents feel less alone and connect them to resources that will help them better manage their stress and learn how to better support their child. Residential programs for teens with autism believe that parent involvement is key to future success.
When teens and their families work together to improve their communication strategies, they are better able to make changes in their relationships. As teens work towards their personal goals, their needs change. Through family therapy, parents learn to apply different skills in interactions. Its goal is to help teens become more autonomous in making their own decisions and to learn how to advocate for their needs with family members.
At New Focus Academy, family therapy is more than just about building a support system for teens. We offer support for parents dealing with parenting stress by teaching parents strategies to manage their personal stress, learn more about their child’s needs, and encourage their child’s independence.
New Focus Academy Can Help
New Focus Academy is a residential treatment center for boys ages 12-18 who struggle with autism spectrum disorder or other neurodevelopmental disorders. The program utilizes positive reinforcement to increase the student’s self-esteem and independence. The social skills that teens on the autism spectrum learn at New Focus will help them learn to have positive social interaction, organization, and improve their self-management skills. Students are given the opportunity to gain the confidence they need to foster and maintain healthy relationships and lifestyle habits.
For more information about social skills and compassion in teens with autism, call us at (844) 313-6749. We can help your family today!