Leading Wilderness Program Provides Advice for National Son and Daughter Day

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Trails Carolina celebrates National Son and Daughter Day by providing families with tips to improve family relationships.

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“As parents, we tend to focus on the squeaky wheel getting the grease and we put our time and effort into the things that aren’t working.“Oftentimes, the important thing is to see what’s going well," commented Jason McKeown, Clinical Director at Trails.

Trails Carolina, a leading wilderness therapy program with unique programming for families, observes National Son and Daughter Day on August 11th by providing families with advice to promote close family relationships. Trails Family Institute, a Trails Carolina program for parents of teens age 11 - 17, helps families grow and overcome obstacles in relationships.

In a 2001 study conducted by Zabriskie and McCormick, researchers found that spending time in everyday family leisure activities is associated with creating tighter bonds within families. At Trails Carolina’s Family Institute, families are encouraged to spend more quality time with their teens to improve relationships.

The Trails Family Institute provides the following tips to families to improve family communication:

  • Spend undemanding time together. It’s important to carve out time in everyone’s busy schedule to do a fun activity that everyone in the family enjoys, such as a walk or playing catch.
  • Acknowledge your teen’s important role in the family system. Teens may feel like they are just a person in the family rather than a contributing member. Taking time to acknowledge how they contribute to the family, such as bringing humor, seriousness, or inspiration, is important.
  • Pay attention to individuals within the family. Make sure to spend time with individual members of the family in order to build solid relationships.
  • Make teens feel appreciated. Put a note in their lunchbox or do something nice and thoughtful on their behalf.

“As parents, we tend to focus on the squeaky wheel getting the grease and we put our time and effort into the things that aren’t working,” commented Jason McKeown MS LMFT CPE DCC, Clinical Director and Family Therapist at Trails Carolina, “Oftentimes, the important thing is to see what’s going well and to acknowledge, appreciate and value that.”

The Trails Family Institute offers Family Camp, a five day program which brings families and teens together in one setting, after teens graduate from Trails Carolina. This program builds on the communication skills parents and teens learned while apart.

The Trails Family Institute helps parents and teens rebuild their relationship. With an assessment process that includes both parents and teens, the Family Institute creates a plan based around family dynamics to reunite the whole family.

“Over five days, the family goes through a series of memorable, fun, adventure-based activities that allow the family to solidify their new communication, while allowing the Trails Family Institute to identify other areas that the family can continue to grow in,” says Dr. John Singleton, Director of Business Development at Trails Carolina. “This program holds everyone in a family accountable for using the skills that they have learned in their journey, while applying those skills together.”

In addition to Family Camp, parents attend a parent workshop, take part in bi-weekly individualized therapy calls, and parent support calls.

Trails Carolina is a wilderness therapy program based just outside of Asheville, North Carolina that offers a multi-dimensional wilderness therapy model to troubled adolescents, ages 10-17. Trails capitalizes upon the profound effects of a student’s wilderness experience, and then combines that experience with strong clinical assessments and therapy. For additional information about Trails Carolina, please call 800-975-7303.

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John Singleton
Trails Carolina Therapeutic Wilderness Program
since: 02/2010
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