When Your Child Comes Home

Remember Responsibility & Accountability

  • Your child has learned a lot about making changes in his/her life as well as thinking differently especially when it comes to drugs and/or alcohol use. So, no rescuing once he/she returns home. When mistakes are made, remember no covering up. Remind yourself that responsibility and accountability for one’s actions is an indicator of maturity and positive change. It is definitely not a reflection of one who is abusing substances.
  • Encourage your child to follow his/her "change plan"; go to support group meetings, attend counseling sessions, stay away from old drug-using buddies, recognize high-risk situations (hungry angry lonely tired (HALT)) and be prepared to do something different, stay busy, eat healthily, and exercise daily.
  • Make time to talk with your child - yes, schedule a time - on a weekly basis and discuss success, mishaps, concerns, plan
  • Look for ways to promote your child’s self-esteem. A ’good job,’ a thumbs up, a hug or a fist bump…. Just a simple acknowledgment of getting through the day clean and sober can help build self-esteem.


  • Minimize the chaos. Put up a calendar in a location available to everyone in the family. Write down appointments, activities, holidays, household expectations and chores, family meetings.
  • Determine specific bedtime on weeknights and weekends.
    • You can be more flexible in the summer months, but once school is in session it’s important to be firm with "lights out/electronics off".
  • Kids function much better on a predictable schedule. Remember, they have become familiar with responding to a schedule while in treatment.


  • Parents should dispense all medication.
    • Check for "cheeking" - pretending to swallow medication.
  • Count the number of pills in the bottle each time you dispense the medication.
  • Dispense as prescribed. Talk to your doctor first if your child wants to discontinue taking the medication. Then, follow the doctor’s instructions for doing so. Relapse often follows abrupt discontinuation of the medication.
  • Keep all medication in a secure location.


  • Make sure you hold up your end of the agreement to take your child to all counseling sessions, meetings, and appointments. Not only is your child learning to change his/her lifestyle, but your support, encouragement, and consistency during this change process is also essential.
  • If you must miss a counseling appointment, be sure you call the therapist.

Putting Back in the Pot / Paying It Forward / Give & You Shall Receive

  • Whatever the case, think about speaking up at meetings or helping another family "up" when you see them in a similar situation as you. You will be amazed at how this will reinforce everything you and your child have worked to accomplish.

Stay the Course

  • Expect that your child will test your limits.
  • There is no guarantee that your child will be successful after treatment. It doesn’t mean that treatment doesn’t work, but rather more work and time is necessary for everyone - not just your child. The old saying you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink often applies in these cases. Recovery is a process that occurs over time. Unfortunately, it’s not a one-time event.
  • Remember, you can’t force or rush change in your child. Both of you will need to work on creating a different lifestyle and this takes time and practice. Being a responsible and accountable parent will help you and your child reach the important goals which you have worked so hard to establish.