Teen using coping skills

How to connect with your struggling teen while they are in IOP this summer

If your teenager is in an Intensive Outpatient Program, it is important to ensure you have time set aside to spend with your teen outside of therapy. Even if your teen is rolling their eyes and saying they don’t want to see you, having time to connect with them is an important way to keep the relationship with them healthy.

Connecting with your teen has many benefits

Connecting with your teenager regularly and predictably is crucial for fostering a healthy and supportive parent-child relationship during the challenging adolescent years – especially if your teenager is already struggling. It provides an avenue for open communication, trust-building, and emotional support. When parents actively engage with their teens, they gain insight into their child’s thoughts, feelings, and experiences, which helps in addressing issues like peer pressure, academic stress, and emotional well-being. This connection also creates a safe space where teenagers feel comfortable sharing their concerns and seeking guidance, reducing the likelihood of risky behaviors or social isolation. Ultimately, strong parent-teen connections contribute to a teenager’s sense of belonging, self-esteem, and overall emotional development, setting the foundation for a well-adjusted and confident adulthood.

Having your teen create a bucket list for the summer is a great way to encourage them and give them a voice in how you spend time together. Bucket lists require goal setting – a skill many teens need support developing. It provides a sense of direction and purpose, fosters creativity, and can give them a sense of accomplishment. 

Colorado summer adventures for you and your teen

Supporting your teen in planning a day trip can be an excellent way to foster their independence, decision-making skills, and sense of responsibility. Start by encouraging them to identify their interests and preferences, allowing them to choose a destination or activity that excites them. Assist in researching the chosen location, including transportation options, entry fees, and any necessary reservations. Help them create an itinerary that includes the must-see attractions, meal breaks, and potential rest stops. Teach them how to budget for the trip, emphasizing the importance of managing expenses. Additionally, encourage your teen to consider safety precautions, such as carrying essentials like identification, a first-aid kit, and emergency contact information. Throughout the planning process, offer guidance and support while giving them the autonomy to make decisions, helping them develop valuable life skills while ensuring a successful trip.

List of trips your teen can plan

Engaging struggling teenagers in activity planning can offer significant benefits, particularly in helping them reduce their excessive phone use and address their unique challenges. This approach provides them with a constructive distraction from negative thoughts and anxieties, effectively shifting their focus away from their screens. Moreover, these planned activities often involve social interaction, enabling real-world connections and communication practice, thus reducing feelings of isolation. Additionally, successfully planning and participating in activities can boost their self-esteem and overall sense of accomplishment, which is especially valuable for teens grappling with feelings of inadequacy. Such engagement often contributes to improved mental health, with physical activities releasing endorphins that can alleviate symptoms of depression and anxiety. It also fosters the development of vital life skills like time management, organization, and responsibility. Overall, activity planning offers struggling teens a range of tangible benefits, promoting their well-being and personal growth.

Activities for teens to do at home in between IOP sessions

  • Host a backyard barbecue or picnic with friends.
  • Set up a backyard movie theater and watch movies under the stars.
  • Create a summer reading list and read a new book each week.
  • Learn a new skill or hobby, such as painting, photography, or cooking.
  • Take an online class or workshop to learn something new.
  • Create a garden or plant some flowers to beautify your backyard.
  • Host a game night with friends or family. (Our in-house favorite game is salad bowl)
  • Try out new DIY projects or crafts from Pinterest.
  • Organize a garage sale or lemonade stand.
  • Volunteer for a local charity or organization virtually.
  • Plan a virtual hangout or game night with long-distance friends.
  • Host a karaoke night or dance party in your backyard.
  • Make homemade ice cream or popsicles.
  • Have a water balloon or water gun fight with friends or family.
  • Start a journal or scrapbook to document your summer adventures.
  • Practice yoga or meditation outdoors in your backyard.
  • Have a bonfire and make s’mores.
  • Create a summer workout routine.
  • Learn a new language or practice your language skills with online resources.
  • Write letters to long-distance friends or family members.
  • Have a spa day with homemade face masks and DIY manicures.

Enjoying summer with your teenager can be a wonderful opportunity to create lasting memories and strengthen your bond. It’s a time to disconnect from the demands of everyday life and immerse yourselves in shared experiences. Whether you’re planning outdoor adventures like hiking or camping, exploring new hobbies or interests, or simply relaxing at the beach or by the pool, summer provides a backdrop for quality time together. Engage in open and meaningful conversations during long walks or road trips, allowing you to connect on a deeper level. Encourage your teen to take the lead in planning activities, fostering their sense of independence and responsibility. By embracing the freedom and warmth of summer, you can build a stronger connection, nurture their personal growth, and create a foundation for cherished family moments.

If you need more help connecting with your teen

Remember that you don’t have to face this journey alone. At Antelope Recovery, we offer a range of resources and support systems designed to help families like yours bridge the gap and strengthen relationships. Whether it’s through our family therapy sessions, parent support groups, or individual counseling, we are here to assist you every step of the way. Don’t hesitate to reach out if you need guidance or if you’d like to explore how our tailored programs can make a positive impact on your family’s well-being. Together, we can create a supportive and nurturing environment where your teen can thrive and heal.