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Strengthening Families Program at Ember Recovery

The Strengthening Families Program (SFP) at Ember Recovery brings families together with their teenager to address substance use and other problematic behaviors.

SFP uses bonding, boundaries, and monitoring strategies to protect teens from alcohol, tobacco, drugs, and other risky behaviors. But SFP doesn’t stop there. Along with preventing certain risky behaviors, SFP also works to empower youth and their families to recreate happy homes, healthy brains, and addiction-free teens.

Ember Recovery offers SFP weekends for a more intensive program. Parents, caregivers, and even siblings are invited to Ember for three days of training, engaging activities, shared meals, and more.

How the Strengthening Families Program Works with Substance Use in Teens

In the Strengthening Families Program, youth drug use is part of a family issue. Family dynamics, peer influences, and the social ecology of the home all play a role in the development of addiction and substance use.

We help parents learn effective parenting strategies to become better teachers and listeners, more empathetic, and more understanding of their child’s world.

Children learn effective social and personal development strategies to help them refuse drug offers and improve their social-emotional regulation. They also learn mechanisms to solve problems more effectively and communicate. All of this skill training works to increase competence and self-esteem in teens. [1]

family sitting on the couch smiling

What the Strengthening Families Program Helps With

Upon completion of the weekend family program, parents and children are equipped with tools and strategies to help them develop happier family relationships, improve mental health outcomes, and help the teen remain in recovery.

Families in our program have reported increases in: [2]

  • Family bonding
  • Parental involvement
  • Positive parenting skills
  • Positive communication
  • Youth cooperation
  • Number of prosocial friends
  • Youth social competencies
  • Youth school grades

They have also reported decreases in the following:

  • Family conflict
  • Youth depression
  • Youth aggression
hands braiding a bracelet

What to Expect During a Strengthening Families Program Weekend in Iowa

The purpose of SFP is to reduce the shame and guilt found so often in families struggling with addiction or mental health concerns.

Each SFP session contains three components:

  • Parent Skills Training
  • Children’s Skills Training
  • Family Skills Training

Using these three components allows the parent and child to equally share in the training and development of skills to build a stronger relationship.

The Cycle of Parent/Child Behaviors

When families go through difficult times, they often slip into patterns of behavior that harm relationships instead of strengthening them. They can quickly deviate from positive reinforcement to negative reinforcement.

When this happens, a harmful cycle begins to develop. The parent may dole out harsher punishments, leading the teen to withdraw. Sometimes the child will begin to behave more aggressively, attempting to get the parent to submit to their behaviors.

Breaking this cycle requires training for both the parents and the child. This training includes spending quality time together, participating in enjoyable experiences, praising positive behaviors, and using improved communication skills. Setting expectations and instilling positive values are also components of breaking the cycle. [3]

Lesson Materials in the Strengthening Families Program

In addition to what you might expect in a family relationship training program, a few components have been added over the years to complement the already successful program.

  • Getting rid of Automatic Negative Thoughts (ANTs)
  • Understanding how the brain works and how to have a healthy brain
  • Tools and skills for anger management
  • Communication skills
  • Looking for and complimenting the good / Eliminating harsh criticism
Strengthening Families at Ember Recovery

Learn More About SFP at Ember Recovery

If you would like more information on Strengthening Families Programming at Ember Recovery or would like to know when our next weekend SFP session will be held, please give us a call: (515) 461-8556.


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