A Letter to the Parent/Guardian
This letter is to parents from parents. We have gone through a similar experience as the one you are entering with your child. We want to provided you with help, hope, encouragement and information.
Wherever you are in this process, whether you are waiting for a placement or if your child has already been admitted to a program, we want you to know you are doing a hard job. Parenting children with emotional/behavioral needs is full of challenges. Please take a few minutes to read this letter.
Preparation is very important for the day of admission as it will be a long day, for both you and your child. You will be filling out a lot of paperwork. Some of the questions will seem similar to questions you have answered previously in this process; be patient and think of it as an opportunity to tell your story in your own way. Try to get a good night's sleep beforehand. If you tend to forget things when under stress, you might find it helpful to write down any questions you may have the night before and be sure to take notes during the day. If the admission staff use acronyms, please ask them what they stand for.
Some possible questions you may have are:
Ask what is available for parents at the program:
Always remember...there are no stupid questions. You may find as your questions are answered your stress will decrease.
Leaving your child at a CLIP program can be difficult but it is not the end of your relationship as their parent; it is just a different way of being a parent. Take advantage of this experience, use it as an opportunity by partnering with the treatment team and sharing your perspective and knowledge of your child. Parent voice is vital in the treatment process and partnership. Try to value each other's expertise, practice what works with your family, and modify what does not.
Most parents go through a variety of emotions after admission. It is possible to feel relief at finally having your child in a safe place. You might also feel a sense of grief, which can trigger a different series of emotions. It is ok to feel anger and frustration over your situation; confusion, sadness, doubt, fear and maybe even shame that your family had to come to this place with your child. These are normal feelings felt by the parents who have gone through the doors ahead of you. Find someone to share your feelings with. Talking about them can relieve some of the apprehension and concerns you have.
After your child has been admitted to a CLIP Program take a short break for yourself to focus on you and the rest of your family. You may have given up, or put on hold, a lot of what you like to do because of your child's needs. Take care of yourself during this time. Many parents who have gone through this type of experience report that connecting with other parents who are experiencing similar challenges can provide positive parent support.
Remember, you are not alone.
From parents who have traveled a similar path,
CLIP Parent Steering Committee