Through Thick and Thin

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   Sticking together can be easy for families to do if nothing goes wrong, but that is rarely the case. Highfields students have all made mistakes in their past which sent them to Highfields. Families can feel torn apart during difficult times. Strong families have to be able to face crises head-on and come out healthier and closer than ever before.

   Throughout the summer Highfields hosts family treatment weekends on the Onondaga campus for families of residential students. It’s a time for families to re-connect and work on their relationships. Six families attended Highfields’ first family treatment weekend of the summer. Each and every family member who attended demonstrated their commitment to their family, just by being present.

   Demaurie’s grandmother, Sylvia, attended Highfields’ family treatment weekend for the first time. She believes, “no matter what has happened in the past, family comes first!”

   Sylvia said, “Even though we’re not always on the same page all the time, at the end of the day it’s important to stay together as a family.”

fam weekend quote

   Highfields’ Clinical Manager, Chris Robinson led a workshop over the weekend to provide parents with tools on how to support their children after they leave Highfields. It helps parents learn about setting limits, communicating effectively with their children, and maintaining a stable home environment.

   “The workshop was very helpful,” said Kelly, Eric’s mom. “I’m learning how to better focus on Eric and his needs and how to set limits at home that will work for both of us.”

   Kelly believes that these tools are the key to helping Eric when he gets home.

   “I’ve seen significant changes in my son since he started at Highfields, and I want him to continue on this path,” said Kelly. “I’m going to support my son when he gets home by staying true to my word!”

   Manuela, Orlando’s mom, admits that sometimes it’s really hard to stick to the rules, but it’s something she needs to do in order to maintain a healthy family.

   “I’m not a perfect mom, but I’m learning new things every day and taking parenting classes to keep our family together,” she said. “It’s hard, but we are a strong family.”

   Orlando acknowledges that he made mistakes in the past, but wants to show his family that he has changed.

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   “My mom has taught me that it’s important to love and support each other as a family,” said Orlando. “I’m going to show my family that I’m committed to them, just like they supported me during my difficult times.”

   After the workshop, the families continued to spend time together on campus. They spent the afternoon playing games, watching a movie, grilling outdoors, and some families were even brave enough to ride the Highfields’ zip line!

   Staying united as a family is important, especially during tough times. Family treatment weekends are a great way for parents, Highfields’ students and siblings to show their support for one another and make their families stronger.

http://www.advocatesforyouth.org/publications/1229-strengthening-family-relationships

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