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Opinion & Essays - Apr, 1997 Issue #45


by: Kathy Dodds
“I Succeed At Home First”
Morgan Hill, California
408-779-8139 or 310-942-5627 

The most frightening thing to both the parents and the child is transitioning back into the family from a highly structured environment. Depending on the experience the child has had and the length of time they have been away, and of course the disposition of the child, the difficulty is in degrees. At best it is awkward and uncomfortable, no one really knows what to expect. Fears run deep, based on experiences of the past and the fear of regression to where things were before the drastic decision to send a child away was ever made. 

As a parent of a child that was in a structured facility for 10 ½ months, I know first hand the fear associated with the return of my child. While the decision to send my daughter away was probably the most difficult decision I have ever made, once she was gone, there was peace and order where there had been turmoil and chaos. While there were intense emotions I had to deal with, at least I could sleep at night knowing she was safe. Every moment of every day was no longer spent trying to keep up with her, frantically trying to find her when she wasn’t where she was supposed to be. 

How do you have the smoothest transition possible? The best way I know is by the parents, the child and siblings attending trainings, both independently and together, that teach communication skills, decision making skills, and integration. It is done in a forum that diminishes anger, and builds trust and confidence. 

Since I’ve been involved with these trainings, we have had a successful transition with my daughter returning to public high school and becoming an “A” student. At the end of her sophomore year she had a 4.0 average. Besides our family’s successes, I have also witnessed miracles. I have seen the deepest wounds healed. I have seen the rebirth of families. I have seen love and commitment. I have seen lasting results. 

We are now offering consulting and trainings (“I Succeed At Home First”) to schools and facilities tailored to their particular needs. In addition, we offer similar trainings to the general public for families that are not to the point of crisis that they felt they must remove their children from their home. I have seen the same miracles occur over and over in every training. If you are a director of a school or facility, a counselor, or a parent and you would like more information about “I Succeed at Home First”, please contact us. 

Copyright © 1997, Woodbury Reports, Inc. (This article may be reproduced without prior approval if the copyright notice and proper publication and author attribution accompanies the copy.)

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