Why a children’s program?
Addiction is a disease that impacts the entire family dynamic including finances, relationships, and most importantly, the development of children. Children of addicted homes can often be manipulated, emotionally or physically abused or neglected, and even feel like the one to blame for the disease/ behaviour. Experiencing addictive behaviour, without proper understanding or coping skills, can be overwhelming and confusing for a child.
Research indicates that children who grow up in addictive homes are 8 times more likely to develop an addiction themselves. Moreover, children who are abused are likely to abuse their own children or siblings, which can also catalyze substance abuse in youth. Unfortunately, children in addictive homes are often the first hurt, and the last helped, as they generally do not get assistance until their adult years in an addiction treatment setting.
The Thorpe Recovery Centre’s Children’s Program for children aged 7 – 12 years is an opportunity for children to address the addiction in their family and focus on understanding and recovery.
The 3 day sessions are age-appropriate workshops that include role-playing, games, art and therapeutic activities that help to explain what addiction is, how it is not their fault, how to ask for help, how to communicate effectively with their family, and how to practice self-care. In this environment, children are able to express their feelings in a safe environment and are supported by our licensed counsellors to process their emotions. The goal is to mitigate the negative impact addiction has on the entire family and promote healing for all.
Through the Children’s Program, children will be able to feel heard and regain their confidence. Skills learned will include communication, boundaries, self-care, grounding, and an understanding of the disease that will release shame and blame. In addition, they will once again feel safe in their homes and ultimately, understand that addiction is a disease that is a part of their life, but it does not define them or their family, nor needs to negatively impact them.
The program goals include:
1. To provide accurate, age-appropriate information about addiction in the family:
- The nature of addiction
- The effect of addiction on addicts
- The effect of addiction on family relationships
2. To build social skills:
- Coping and self-care strategies to stay safe
- Identifying and expressing feelings in healthy ways
- Importance of healthy relationships
- Identify and connect with safe people
- Setting healthy boundaries
- Effective communication
3. To build a bond attachment:
- Establish a foundation for the development of trust between child and safe adult.
4. To have fun in a safe and supportive atmosphere:
- Learning through games and activities children and adults will love.
Through the above interventions, children will become more resilient to crisis and will be less likely to use substances as coping mechanisms and therefore be less likely to develop an addiction.
What is a safe adult?
It is important that at least one safe adult from the child’s everyday environment participates in the Children’s Program; this is because the bonds and attachment in an addictive family can be severely distorted (no matter how much the adults may deny it).
A safe adult is someone who is not in active addiction. The safe adult who participates in the Program can be the parent or other family member (sibling, grandparent, guardian, social worker) who may be currently in treatment, or who is in active recovery. The adult(s) must be stable and be able to discuss issues with other family members courteously in order to best address the needs of the child. To provide a safe space for all participants, no one in active addiction is permitted to participate in the Program.
2019 Program Dates:
April 26 – 28
August 23 – 25
November 22 – 24
For more information on our Children’s Intensive, please contact us or fill out this form to have one of our staff contact you.
If you would like to donate to make this program accessible to all children press our donate button below.
The Thorpe Recovery Centre takes a well-rounded approach to ensure clients are on the path to recovery and don’t substitute one addiction for another. Curriculum is tailored to each individual’s needs, and includes several core lectures, specialty groups and support groups to guide clients on their journey.
The Thorpe Recovery Centre provides structure and basic guidelines clients will need when they re-integrate into the “real world”.