DARIEN, Conn. — Parents of teens often require supportive avenues to cope with what can be an emotionally charged time. At Newport Academy a Parent Education Group helps local families and parents of teens admitted to Newport Academy find connection and community.
Newport Academy, which has various locations across the United States, is the national leader in providing teen treatment for anxiety, depression, eating disorders, substance abuse, self-harm and co-occurring disorders.
Parents of troubled teens experience a variety of emotions, according to Dr. Barbara Nosal, Clinical Director at Newport Academy. “Many parents take their stress out on their children and attempt to control them by being overly strict or too lenient, resulting in enmeshed or emotionally disconnected relationships,’’ Nosal said. “Parents often unconsciously enable their child’s behavior and need to learn the skills of healthy detachment. They need to let go of the expectations they had for their child, similar to grieving a loss. On top of all this, they feel isolated and alone.”
The Parent Education Group provides support from professionals and peers, helping parents to better understand what they’re facing. They also learn that their issues, and those of their child, are not unique.
“When parents connect with other parents, they gain support from those who have struggled with similar issues,’’ Nosal said. “Our Parent Education Group is an anonymous group, so it’s a safe place to share without the concern that others will find out. Sharing in this setting is more appropriate than telling the story to family or friends, which might have a negative impact on their relationship with the child.”
Nosal created an individualized intensive family program for Newport Academy, the first in the nation. A licensed marriage therapist, she holds a doctorate in Transpersonal Psychology and a master’s degree in Counseling Psychology. Keeping families connected is her primary objective.
Often, parents need additional support when their teens are experiencing life challenges. “Parents can attend 12-Step support groups such as AlAnon or Naranon,” she said. “In many cases, parents realize that they have their own unresolved issues and seek professional help from therapists or counselors. If parents attempt to fix their child’s problems without receiving support, they run the risk of falling back into their old behaviors of enabling and controlling. With support, they are better equipped to help their children recover from mental health struggles and not only survive, but truly thrive.”
Find out more about Newport Academy on its website, http://www.newportacademy.com/