When you invite your best friend to your home, are they only allowed past your fence and into your yard, or do you open the door and let them into the living room? What about a complete stranger? How far into your home would you allow them to come? How close do you allow people to get to you? This is a struggle that many of our students experience. Seeing their fences get broken over and over causes them to give up on rebuilding completely or causes them to build a bigger and stronger fence without any entrance or exit. At the beginning of this month, we hosted our current Compass Rose families for our quarterly Parent Weekend. We explored what those fences entail and what a good, healthy fence looks like. 

Being able to see families work together and work through the challenges of rebuilding and setting boundaries made all of the time and energy of planning the weekend together worth it. In one activity, each person made their own ‘boundaries fence’ and took a correlating boundaries assessment. For each category that they scored low on, they removed a piece of the fence. By the end, if you glanced around the room, many of the previously put-together fences were in disarray. With this activity, family members could see a clear, visual representation of their own boundaries, as well as the boundaries of other family members affect how they interact and function as a family. We then heard from Vice President and Executive Director Mike Haarer and Admissions Director Madeline Spring on the importance of having healthy boundaries and what that looks like in everyday life.

Our families also went to an equine therapy program where they worked as a team to guide their horses through a variety of activities. The therapists and staff did an activity about triangulation, a manipulative tactic people use to avoid direct communication, which many of our families found to be helpful. While these equine therapy sessions, art therapy sessions, and breakout sessions were a big hit, many parents reported that their favorite part of Parent Weekend was just spending time with their child. Just being in the same room, you could feel the love and determination of both students and parents to improve their relationships.

– By Kaylee Stants, CRA Clinical Intern