Although "bad for business" but great for families, we often do a bit of an experiment with parents who ring regarding our adventure programs. Parents call who are concerned about the behaviour and life pattern of their teenager and feel that something can be done to help the child turn their life around. After all, that is what True North Expeditions is for. Although we are here to support young people to make empowered life decisions, we are a family program. Giving parents the resources to "invite change" in their child is often more powerful than our program. If a family can look to each other with openness and compassion, our job is done.
Now, the experiment. When a parent rings and we discuss their concerns about their child, I often schedule a time to meet with both the parents and the teenager, if possible. Before this meeting occurs, myself or our admissions team will ask the parent to list on paper 10 strengths, resources or skills that their child has to present to myself in order for me to create a more solid case plan. Recently, parents have been ringing prior to our first meeting mentioning that they would like to take more time in working with their child and see if he or she has turned a corner. They will cancel our appointment. Others, during our intake meeting, will mention the great things their child is doing and create a plan with us that does not involve our adventure program. We implement this "experiment" to get the parents prepared for their child entering the bush.
What this does is change the parents focus from fixing the things that are going wrong to focussing on the things that are going right. When we support the positive behaviours and patterns of our child we empower them to continue to make these positive life choices. However, when things are tough and the family is struggling, we can often become critical and point out all of the things that are hurting us. When parents begin to analyse all the strengths and resources their child already has, they begin to see that there are great windows of opportunity for creating a more harmonious home.
True North Expeditions is here to offer support and care for the family and truly help adolescents become empowered to take control of their life and create a positive path (True North). When we enroll families that are passionate about becoming strong and resilient, our program flourishes. That is a recipe for success.
True North Expeditions, Inc. provides adventure therapy programs and services for children and teenagers in Australia. Based in Adelaide, the TNE team writes about child and adolescent psychology, family dynamics and how adventure therapy programs can connect with struggling adolescents.