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What is a Family Contract? How Do I Make One?

A family contract can be one of the most critical steps in getting your family back on track after treatment, especially for your kiddo who is trying to re-adjust at home. But family contracts aren’t just for families discharging from a treatment facility–a family can benefit from one at any stage of the recovery process.

 

What is a Family Contract?

In short, a family contract is an agreed-upon set of boundaries, rules, and expectations for your household and family dynamic. How do you want to treat each other? What are your expectations for your child as you move forward together? The family contract is a great way to put everything on the table immediately. It takes the guesswork out of maintaining a healthy parent-child relationship during the recovery process at home. It does not have to be a lengthy document–contracts are typically one to four pages in length, depending on the family. Write down whatever feels best for you!

 

Why do we need a Family Contract?

Setting these boundaries will add a sense of accountability and responsibility for your teen and give them tangible goals to aspire towards as they continue their recovery. Create a list that incorporates your family values, and don’t forget to establish consequences or accountability measures should expectations fail to be met. Drafting a family contract will help your family avoid the common pitfall of going straight to accountability measures without first laying out the boundaries you expect. 

 

How do I make a Family Contract?

It is important when drafting a contract that you have an open panel discussion. Your child should have buy-in to the contract, as well as a trusted counselor/therapist (if applicable). Allowing input from these sources will help facilitate real changes and adherence to not only what you want but what your teen wants for themselves. Opening the floor to discuss the contract rules will encourage conversation and allow self-expression from your kiddo on their feelings. Everyone has different aspects that they deem to be the most important–talk about the boundaries you value most and allow your kiddo to do the same. 

Practice active listening regarding the items your child suggests; they may even have boundaries and goals for you as a parent! Avoid shutting down their suggestions and allow them to share their perspective. Remember: you aren’t just their parent, you are also their biggest advocate and supporter. 

A successful family contract that follows these guidelines will bring your family together and establish open lines of communication right from the start. The goal is never to make your child dread signing the bottom. Everyone should sign with a clear conscience and a light heart as it represents the collective.

 

If your child is struggling with substance abuse or mental health, we’re here to help. Our clinical admissions specialists are available 24/7 to help with your unique situation. Please call us at 888-966-8604, email us at help@clearforkacademy.com, or visit our website at www.ClearforkAcademy.com.

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Families Matter at Clearfork Academy

As a therapist, you know when a teen is struggling with substance abuse the whole family is affected. At Clearfork Academy, we know this is not something that can be overlooked. Having the support of family is critical for a teen to recover. 

 

When you’re looking for a treatment facility to refer clients to, we realize it’s important for you to know how the entire family is included in the recovery process. Here are just a few of the ways Clearfork Academy includes and takes care of our client’s families.

 

1. The first thing you should know is that we have a full-time Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist on staff. We want to therapeutically embrace the entire family system so each perspective is heard, and the entire family unit can begin to heal.

 

2. The families of addicted teens are often unaware of their role in the recovery process. For that reason, we offer a Multi-family Education Group on Saturday mornings. This group is led by one of our therapists, and different topics are presented each week regarding the family system and recovery. We educate on things such as boundaries, codependency, dysfunctional family roles, and more. The families are also able to ask questions, discuss and learn from each other during this time. This has proven to be an invaluable resource for many of our clients.

 

3. We also offer a Family Support Group to the families of our teens. We connect with these families beginning at the time of enrollment, and we stay connected! Our family support group meets every Tuesday. It is our goal to support the families of our patients, and to stay engaged with them. This support group is for the families of current patients, and for the families of our alumni. We continue to offer family support through our parent Facebook group well after graduation.

4. Speaking of alumni, Clearfork Academy actually has a full-time Alumni Relations Coordinator. Their main focus is staying engaged with alumni families. These families often need additional care and support after their teen has returned home from treatment. We are here for them as long as they need us!

 

When you refer a teen to our program, you can rest assured we will take care of the entire family. Not only that, we will also keep you –  the referring therapist, informed too. Within 48 hours of admission, the primary counselor for the enrolled teen will contact you. After the initial exchange of information, the counselor will update you on a weekly basis (or whatever schedule works best for you). We love collaborating with other professionals to ensure that these teens and their families are well taken care of throughout the entire recovery process.

 

“As a clinician for nearly 20 years, I’ve been hard pressed to work with such a team as Clearfork Academy when collaborating with a program that can help teens and families find help in their most dire of days. Clearfork and their team are unique based on their responsiveness to the population and our industry. In the five years I’ve been working and referring with Clearfork, they have asked fantastic questions of their constituents, been responsive for their program growth and the results of which have propelled Clearfork to a renowned Texas treatment facility that embraces core values, unique continuum of care for teens and a family program that is robust. It has been my honor to be called a clinical partner, problem solver, connector and case manager alongside Clearfork’s staff these past several years and can strongly recommend their milieu/programming to help with your most complex cases.” – Joseph A. Dias, M.Ed., LPC-S

 

If you’d like to learn more about what Clearfork Academy can offer, we’d love to connect with you! Please give Missy a call at (214) 592-7012 to schedule a lunch, a campus tour, or even a Zoom meeting. You can also email help@clearforkacademy.com, or visit our website at www.ClearforkAcademy.com for more information.

 

 

Are you wondering if your teen may have a substance abuse problem?

Download our free “Teen Substance Abuse 101” guide. This comprehensive guide will walk you through 
discovering if your child has a substance abuse problem, and what to do next!

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