Raising Healthy Families with Moms Meet and KIWI

How to Support Your Child’s Mental Health With a Licensed Counselor

April 12, 2022 Moms Meet and KIWI magazine Season 3 Episode 6
Raising Healthy Families with Moms Meet and KIWI
How to Support Your Child’s Mental Health With a Licensed Counselor
Show Notes Transcript

The mental health toll the pandemic has taken on our children is not something to take lightly. It’s important for parents to know the signs and signals kids give when they are struggling, and support them through the ups and downs. Hear from Dr. Joanne Frederick, a licensed professional mental health counselor, about how parents can listen and understand their children through the mental and emotional challenges they may face. 

Chrissy:

Welcome to Raising Healthy Families with Moms Meet and KIWI. We're giving you the tools to enjoy the beauty and chaos of life with little ones in the healthiest way possible. Hi everyone, I'm Chrissy Kissinger, one of your Raising Healthy Families hosts. Today we're going to be talking all about mental health with our guest Dr. Joanne Frederick, a licensed professional mental health counselor from Washington DC. This episode is brought to you in part by Seemore Meats & Veggies. If you're a mom constantly looking for new ways to pack more servings of veggies into your family's diet, we have a solution for you. Seemore Meats & Veggie Sausage combines humanely raised meat with a hearty dose of fresh vegetables (up to 35% in each sausage). Their chicken parm flavor is made with humanely raised chicken, roasted tomatoes, toasty bread crumbs, mozzarella and parmesan cheeses, and basil. Pair it with your favorite pasta or on top of pizza and even enjoy it with a glass of Chiante. Today we're joined by Dr. Joanne Fredrick, who has been in the field of counseling for over 25 years as a university professor and a counselor at a private practice. She specializes in treating people with anxiety, depression, relationship issues, terminal illnesses and learning disabilities. Dr. Frederick is the author of Copeology, an anthology that covers how to deal with grief and loss, being a black man in the world today, disabilities, surviving COVID-19, infidelity, anxiety and fears, trauma and single parenting. So thank you so much for joining us today. We're excited to get started.

Dr. Joanne Frederick:

Thank you. Thank you for having me today. I'm excited to be here.

Chrissy:

Yeah, well, you cover so many different areas. We were like, oh, my goodness, you'd be great to join and talk with us about, especially from the parenting aspect and, and children and all of that. So we're so excited to talk to you. I will selfishly probably ask you questions. The- I have three kids. So lots of questions.

Dr. Joanne Frederick:

I have three also.

Chrissy:

Oh, great. Well, we match there. So that's great. Well, to start, can you tell us a little bit more about what you do as a counselor?

Dr. Joanne Frederick:

Yes. So what is what do I do as a counselor? Well, I meet with individuals, families, couples, one on one. And I collaborate with them on things that they're going through in life. So some of those things might be stressors. Some of those things might be problem solving, venting, and just trying to figure out different things. And now it's mostly remotely, mostly virtual, but definitely face to face as well. And if you notice, I said collaborate, because I don't tell people, we don't tell people as counselors what to do. I work with them. And we brainstorm. And we pick the best decision that works for them. If there's decisions that they're trying to make, we also celebrate as a counselor. So people have good things going on sometimes as well, like a job promotion, a new family member or a pet. And we talk about those things, and we enjoy and laugh. And then there's moments that are harder for individuals that they'll come in and talk about as well. So that's what I do as a counselor.

Chrissy:

Yeah, I love I'm so glad you brought that word collaborate back up again, because I was gonna I was gonna mention that I love that. It being more of a conversation between between people instead of, you know, you just talking at them, or them just talking at you really working together and also weaving in the happy. The happy news, in the end, the sharing of the good things going on, too, right? Because, as we you know, as we deal with struggles, we also have the blessings that make us happy and give us life. So that's great. I love that.

Dr. Joanne Frederick:

Definitely. Thank you. Thank you. Yeah.

Chrissy:

So you had mentioned, you know, now you're virtual and and things like that. So what have these last couple of years looked like for you as a counselor during the the pandemic?

Dr. Joanne Frederick:

Yeah, well, first of all these last couple of years, I mean, I guess it's two, maybe three, honestly feels like it's been about three months. It went by so quick. And what has been for me it was a lot of changes. So first of all, working virtually was something that I was doing before the pandemic here and there, whether talking to clients online as we are or even on the telephone, so it was easy to kind of transition. But there was something that was different that are in no textbooks that we read, or we teach from as a counselor, which was how do you deal with crisis the same time your clients are dealing with the crisis. Normally we're taught and we train other counselors to deal with things that are not an issue for you or they're resolved. But going through a pandemic, we were all going in this, to do this together. So that means, for example, as I shared earlier, I have three children. So for me as a counselor, what does that mean? Working from home, the kids are in school at home, and creating a space of privacy to do my work as a counselor while checking their grades or making sure that they're up. So as a counselor has been the same challenges, but definitely having to create space to help. So there was a point as well, in my mind, like everyone else, regardless of what people do, I was working in crisis mode, which is Oh, my gosh, everyone needs help. Let me help. I'm working from sunup to sundown, and I'm going to help the world. Eventually I'm like, up, we've in this for a while we're going to be here for a while, I have to manage more of my time, which includes self care and everything else that I'm helping everyone else to do. And so that was what it was like being a counselor during a pandemic of crisis. But then we also had other crisis that we were dealing with, like the social injustices, how does that affect me while I'm working with my clients, we had other things going on so much going on that I can't even recall. Thus, when I say it felt like three months, even though it was really two years, and it's still ongoing, right?

Chrissy:

Yeah. Well, that makes me feel so much better knowing that you as a counselor even struggled with that, you know, balanced the balancing act, because, you know, a lot of people the consistent feedback I was hearing is, how do I work full time and do my job, but also wrangling my kids that are now learning remotely? No one's done this before. This is all new territory. I think, you know, most people were pulling their hair out by the end of the day, but it is it's it's lovely to know that you also experienced that and that. I think that also probably helped you relate better to your patients as well. Right? They were kind of going through the same thing.

Dr. Joanne Frederick:

Definitely, definitely. And let me also add, so I was also one of the parents that was concerned, well, what is the school doing? When are they going to give assignments and what's going on? So I took it in my own hand and one of my kid I decided to homeschool her during the pandemic.

Chrissy:

God bless you.

Dr. Joanne Frederick:

Throwing that in there.

Chrissy:

Oh, my goodness. I didn't ask you at the beginning. But how old are your children?

Dr. Joanne Frederick:

Yeah, so my oldest is 27. So he's out the house. He's a young man, but there's still parenting always go on. And then my two youngest are 17 and 16.

Chrissy:

Okay, so you really-which one did you end up homeschooling?

Dr. Joanne Frederick:

The one that is 17. So when I decided to homeschool her arm during the pandemic, she was in high school, a sophomore, and she's now finishing her freshman year in college.

Chrissy:

Wow. That's so awesome. That's great work for her. Yeah, that's great. Well, good for you for taking on that extra challenge. Because the one thing I kept saying the whole time, I was like, I have so much more appreciation for teachers and for homeschool moms and dads. It was a it was a feat for sure. So that's great. But again, like I said, It's just helpful to know that, you know, we were all in this together, we were all navigating the new norms and experiencing these things together. So you know, one of the things oh, sorry, go ahead.

Dr. Joanne Frederick:

No, I was gonna say just another example of us all being in this together. So if you remember, it was hard to like, keep a schedule. So for example, you may have gone to the grocery store, and it took longer to come back or go to another appointment. So if that happened to my clients, it was okay that they were laid off, we had to postpone because things like that may have happened to me as well. So just being flexible, that I would encourage people in general and myself as a counselor during that time period, as well.

Chrissy:

Yeah, absolutely. Well, one of the recent study that I just heard was, according to the US Surgeon General's advisory, protecting Youth Mental Health, recent research covering 80,000 youth globally found that depressive and anxiety symptoms doubled during the pandemic. And that's with 25% of youth experiencing depressive symptoms and 20% experiencing anxiety symptoms. So can you go into a little bit more what the reasons are for why this is happening and how we can you know, come out of this increasing or decreasing those numbers?

Dr. Joanne Frederick:

Yeah, definitely. So the reasons are similar to the reasons for adult so first of all, a couple of different reasons. Let me say, kids kind of display what the adults around on them display. So if you think about the adults, we were, and are feeling more anxious, feeling more sad, depressed about certain things, because we've experienced a lot of losses from death, and dying losses to changes in relationship changes in work schedule just changes in the world. So the kids are also seeing the adults around them handle those. So they're seeing their anxiety going up and their depression levels going up as well. On top of that, the kids themselves are experiencing changes in loss. So many of these children have experienced the death of a loved one or parent, their best cousin, even a teacher, you know, people who they're familiar with in their family, they lost that they also lost their freedom, their freedom to go outside and sleep over their friend's house and do certain things that parents will allow them to do. Pre pandemic, they also lost a lot of what I call rites of passage. So many of these students, kids, they did not go to their graduations, whether it was middle school, high school, my middle schooler missed his graduation, they missed their prom, they missed many of them the opportunity to start driving. And so all of that they've lost, they're also experiencing an increase in bullying, cyber bullying, right? Where are they getting bullied online, you know, even if it's a small name call that does have an impact on them. You know, it increases their anxiety and their depression level. Another thing too many of them are anxious just going back to school, you know, they will online for a while. And then now they have to go back and this virus is still out there. All these questions and concerns, the news media and things they hear from their parents causes anxiety for them.

Chrissy:

Yeah. Well, I wanted to talk a little bit more in a moment about how we, you know, we talk to our kids about loss, but you had mentioned, you know, a lot of times our children are seeing how we're reacting to those situations, regardless, even without a pandemic, right. And in a normal life, our kids feed off of how we react. So what do you typically it for advice towards parents? What do you typically say, in terms of managing your own emotions? I mean, I know, at least for myself, I can only speak for myself, but I feel like every day I'm navigating a new norm right there. I'm learning as I go. But also trying not to ruin my kids emotions as well. So what kind of advice do you give to parents in terms of just managing their own emotions so that it doesn't negatively affect our children?

Dr. Joanne Frederick:

Yeah, so what I will say is, first of all, no parent is 100%. Correct. Like every parent is something that they could have done more of whether it's cooking, cleaning, teaching the kids certain things, so no one is perfect. But that being said, we as parents need to also collaborate with other people. So one, if you have a therapist or counselor, that's great. So you can work on your anxieties and depression. But then there's other adults around us, like other parents, that we should run things past them, see what they think, talk about certain things to alleviate our own anxieties. And also, those tips that we get, like exercising to leave it alleviate anxiety, meditate, pray, do yoga, socialize, and well, all that it takes for us to manage these anxieties and depression is what we as parents need to do first and foremost, so that we're able to be as effective of parents as we can be.

Chrissy:

Did you see a big uptick in new patients that came out of just the pandemic and everything going on?

Dr. Joanne Frederick:

Um, I did, I did see, you know, new people, and I still see that too. We have a waitlist, right? People are like, okay, you know, I need, you know, help. So we've seen it, but also saw positive changes with the pandemic as well with clients who have had so for example, people who had high anxiety levels, let's say social anxiety, it went really, really down because they didn't have to socialize anymore. So definitely, I've seen different changes and different waves as well working with people.

Chrissy:

Yeah for sure. Well, another study I want to bring up was the Trevor Project. So they reported in 2021, that 70% of the LGBTQ+ youth stated their mental health was poor, most of the time are always during COVID-19. That's an astounding number. And of that 70% 42% of the LGBTQ+ youth seriously considered attempting suicide in the past year, including more than half of transgender and non binary youth. Those numbers are just they're, they're awful. It's so sad to see that. What do you think leads to these higher numbers in poor mental health among the LGBTQ+ youth?

Dr. Joanne Frederick:

Yeah, a couple of things. So one is role modeling. The LGBTQ+ and I, youth needs to see role models that they can identify with. And so during the pandemic, including now, they're not seeing a lot of those role models, some of those role models may be in their school, some of the real positive role models may be supportive services that was available, that's not available anymore. So there were like groups, there were conversations about being LGBTQ. And so for example, there's laws now where teachers are stopped, principals can't even talk about certain things as it relates to LGBTQ. And so those youth now begin to suffer in terms of, they have no place to ask questions to learn things about themselves, and about other people. When it comes to dating, another thing is bullying, the rise of bullying went up, so many of them are getting bullied silently, even, you know, aggressively, and there's no place for them to turn to many of them, their safe haven could have been again, other organizations, which may even include school, but a lot of that has been pulled out on under them. And those resources are not there. And again, the role models as well. are not there for them.

Chrissy:

Yeah. Well, so that's the whole concept of bullying. I mean, as a parent, you never want to see your children go through that it breaks my heart to even think about my kids, you know, being picked on. And it's funny the other day, I don't know what made me ask this, but my son was just sitting at the table, and I just asked him, you know, does anybody ever, you know, tease you or pick on you? And he kind of looked at me, like, why are you asking me that? He was very confused. He was like, no, they don't at all. And I was just like, Oh, thank goodness. But I know, you know, I'm pretty certain he was telling you the truth. But I think that it's hard as parents to really know if, if that's the case, unless you know, you're hearing directly from the school. So how would you say, you know, we best can advocate for our kids that are dealing with the hard things like that, you know, not getting along with other kids, or dealing with bullies, but also being aware of those things happening?

Dr. Joanne Frederick:

Yeah, you know, the first thing we have to do be real is that all of us have been bullied. And bullying is even saying, Oh, your hair is short, or your hairstyle is ugly. That's a form of bullying. And I can guarantee you that all parents everybody ran into someone along their life that said something bad about them. I know I did, you know, growing up. And so we got to realize the same thing for the kids, right? That somebody somewhere said something, even if it's not the same person, every day pushing them, kicking them, but they do experience a sense of them having to defend themselves. And so how can parents spot this? So I love the example you said, we have to have moments that we can actually talk to our kids, right? For me, it's when I'm in the car with them driving somewhere picking them up. It's there's no distractions, and that's the time we like really have some conversations. So each household family should pick that time. Is it when we sit for dinner? Is it right before bed, like there's a time that I need to approach them in a certain way. But when I say a certain way, each kid is different. So we have to figure out how do we approach but also when we approach them to ask questions, we really need to do a lot of listening. Without, well you need to do this, or Didn't we talk about this. So we have to stop all the advice given that we as parents tend to do, right, we have to really be able to listen to them. We're listening to the words that they're saying. And we're also looking and listening to their nonverbals the things that they are doing. So we see them changing the way they dress, how they walk, you know, and they're talking about friends in a certain way or we even overhear them even playing video games because they play games with other kids. The stuff that they're doing a ways that we can you know pay attention to what's going on here so that we can help.

Chrissy:

Right, well I love that. You know you you said about bullying. It doesn't have to be these large like like major situations. It can be the little things like even just making a comment. And it's funny you said because thinking back so my last name is Kissinger. So it has the word kissing in it. And I remember my son came home and was like, I hate our last name. It has kissing in it. And I didn't really think of anything, anything about it. But it's quite possible that, you know, another kid said something to him at school, but I never once was like, Oh, he's being bullied, right? Like, you don't think that you just think he's a little kid. And he's embarrassed that kissing is in their name. But I think it's helpful to remember to just keep an eye on those conversations. If they keep coming up, then maybe we have a larger conversation. But I love that you brought that up, because oftentimes, when at least for me, when I hear bullying um, I think it's a very serious situation that's happening.

Dr. Joanne Frederick:

Yeah, definitely. Yeah, you know, the word is serious. But again, we experience it on a smaller scale. And if the kid is getting bullied, like, how do you intervene? What do you do? I mean, I think that number one, we can ask our kid, what do you want us to do? Because some people want to grab something and go to the school and talk to the principal and make a bigger deal. And the kid is like, no, no, no, we really should collaborate. I'll use that word again, with them like, hey, look, you know, you're having a hard time here. How can I help? How can I support you?

Chrissy:

Right, right, because sometimes it might exasperate the situation if you you know, if you go to the school and make trouble and all of that. So that's that's definitely great advice. On the same line, as a parent, how would we know if our kids are struggling with their mental health? What are some of the, the indicators that we can be looking for?

Dr. Joanne Frederick:

Yeah, so kids deal with small things, from anxiety to depression to bigger things, right, That they're diagnosed, and maybe even taking medication. So what do we look for? So when looking to see if our kid is withdrawing, we're looking for behaviors that are different, we're looking at them coming up with excuses on why they want don't want to go somewhere, or do something, those quote unquote, excuses can be their anxiety, that they don't want to go to school, they don't want to do something, even a task or chore. And then with depression, you know, they look sad, they want to stay in their bed, they come in, and they go straight in their room, you know, and close the door, they go somewhere. And they're kind of like distancing themselves. You're watching those behaviors. Sometimes kids will say, I don't feel like the wind is, well, I get scared, you know, when you handles words, those again, relates to anxiety and depression.

Chrissy:

So how would you know as a parent at what point intervention is needed? I mean, if they're making those comments here and there, they might be struggling with anxiety and depression, like you mentioned, but at what point would we say, Okay, now is the time that we need to get you to a counselor or to see somebody to talk to somebody? And opening-And also, do we leave that decision up to the child if they're interested in talking with somebody? So how would we go about that?

Dr. Joanne Frederick:

Yes, I'll tell you what, I think that at every point, we always have to intervene as as parents, because one of our duties is also to raise emotionally intelligent kids who become emotionally intelligent adults. And so what that means is that they need to be aware of their emotions and how to manage it. What are those words, I feel angry, I feel frustrated, I feel irritated. They don't know those words. You know, the younger they are, they don't know those words. So they have to learn those words. So at any point, getting a counselor involved will be great. Versus when there's an issue and it's like, oh, my gosh, this just happened. We need to take Johnny to therapy. It's therapy and conversations like this and emotional intelligence training is the norm. What we're doing is teaching them how to cope from the beginning anyway. So when is the time a good time to get therapy for a kid right now? Even though they're doing great in school? And even though things are okay, why not? Because we don't know what's going on. They're not gonna come to us, right? Because mom is always gonna cry. Dad is always gonna get upset. I'm not gonna tell them, but they will most likely tell someone who's trained to keep their secrets, unless they plan on harming themselves. So it wouldn't hurt to get well wouldn't hurt at all.

Chrissy:

Yeah. So I feel like some people and as a parent myself, where would you even start? Do you-Would it I've always thought of, maybe we go to the guidance counselor at school and see if they have any recommendations on who would be best to see or I just feel like, you know, you Google like child therapist, and it's so confused. It's it's very overwhelming. So

Dr. Joanne Frederick:

To start, definitely thank you for that where would you start? there's a couple of different routes you can take. So one, yes, if you go to school, some schools have professional school counselors, that's what you want. But of course, they may have one or two for the 800 students. But if you could bring some things up, you know, schools can handle that in some ways where they're actually working with the students. So that's one route. Another route are different websites. So one that I like psychologytoday.com, you actually put in your zip code, and then you can see therapists that's all in there, then you can do a query for child therapists, you know, and it doesn't even have to be a child therapist, right. So that's another way. Another way is, if a person has health insurance, they can go directly to their health insurance, and get names and numbers of therapists that takes their insurance. They are other organizations. One of them, I'm the Executive Director, where counseling and therapy is free. And so you know, you'd find those local organizations and get connected. There are support groups online, like there's a lot out there. But what I would say, it's kind of like what you were alluding to, it can be frustrating, finding a good fit. So how I look at it as when we're looking for a therapist, it's like looking for a new pair of shoes, we may walk in the mall, looking our favorite store, there's this cute pair of shoes, you put it on and it doesn't fit, guess what, we put it back on the shelf. And we keep looking because we need a new pair of shoes, what the therapist is the same way, call them make appointments. And you may have to make multiple calls. But you also don't know about this therapist until you sit and talk with them. Credentials can look great. You know what we write up could look great. But is there a connection between me and my kid, and this person, and I will go as far as giving them three sessions, give them a try three sessions, and then see what your kid feels you know what you think about the therapist. So I say all that to say it is a search. It's nothing that's going to come really quick and easy. But what I like to tell people is good job, you know, you're here, you did all of this work. And you're here. Let's begin.

Chrissy:

Right baby steps right? In the right direction? Well, and I think this this next question probably depends on age. But you know, when if you are starting out new with a new counselor, do the parents typically sit in the session with the child? I'm not sure if the child's able, I guess if they're a little bit older, they can differentiate if they are connecting with that person. What would you recommend for that?

Dr. Joanne Frederick:

Yeah, so different counselors do different things. So what I do, I like my youth client to know that they have a voice. So many times, parents want to go to counsel and say, Hey, Johnny isn't doing this. They've been doing that that. So I recommend both coming in at the same time. So I could hear why, you know, the Guardian is bringing the kid in. But I also have rules. And I also asked the kid, hey, do you agree with what dad just Say? Said, and they will say, No, I feel that. And I let them talk. And I watched their expression and all of that. And I also don't allow mom or dad to cut them off. Just like I don't allow the kid to cut off mom or dad. So this is a space that we're on neutral ground here. There's no power, meaning mom or dad having the power because of that title. They have like we have to respect each other in the space. But then we're also training the parent and the kid to communicate at home in effective ways. And so yeah, you'll see a variety. But after I do see the kid, one on one for many sessions, but then there's time that I'll have the parents come back in alone or with the kid again. So you'll see a variety of ways that we handle that.

Chrissy:

Yes, I love that you that you just mentioned training them how to talk to each other outside of your office, because, you know, I'm sure they're only with you for about 45 minutes to an hour, but what are they going to do when they leave your office? Right? So So giving them the tools that they need to continue that conversation in a healthy way is great. Obviously, you know mental health can be a tough conversation to broach with your kids you had mentioned a lot of times the parents were the last ones to that they'll come to so what are some of the ways that parents can open the lines of communication? If their kids are struggling? I always I struggled with that as a parent, knowing you know trying to tell my kid it's okay for you to Talk to me but also making putting putting them in a comfortable situation. So they don't think they're gonna get in trouble. But then if they do tell me something serious, or if they did something wrong, what do we do as parents? Do we, you know, bring do we discipline? Do we just let them talk? What? What are some of the ways we can open those lines of communication so that they're comfortable chatting with us?

Dr. Joanne Frederick:

Yeah. So I think that kids will tend to emote first before they talk. So as they emote, we allow them and when I say meaning, they may come home and just crying. Let them cry. Don't say what's wrong, wipe those tears up. You know, boys, don't cry, don't let them remove. The girls may do what I would call a lot of chit chatting look like gossiping. Allow them to talk why whatever they're talking about. But you we as the parents should be listening and observing and trying to figure out well, what are they saying? But again, most parents are not trained to do this, right? So that's why we're having this conversation. So we'd like doing a quick lesson on how parents can do this. So we first want to allow them to share their emotions without interrupting them. We need to validate their emotions. It's okay to cry. It's okay to get mad. Right? You know, some kids may even say curse words when they're upset. But they're saying the curse words because that's what they learned. They learned that either at school and home somewhere. But that can also be a trigger for parents to say, hey, look, that's disrespectful. Don't say that. Don't get caught up in what they're saying. That's just an emotion. But after they're done, say, hey, look, you're feeling a lot like what are you feeling and teach them those words. So there are emotional wheels, words, and it has every feeling word we can think of as parents, grab that it's on the internet, and start teaching the kids how to use their words. When we hear it. Now we have to think about what are we going to deal with those words?

Chrissy:

Yeah, and hearing you say that it's I'm just thinking about, you know, all the mistakes I've made as a parent, but it's funny, because, you know, I have an eight year old boy, and he's very much into like Nerf guns and video games and all the things. But I found myself saying like, you can't talk about the Nerf guns at school, like you can't talk about shooting people with Nerf guns, because at our school at his school, you know, I'm worried that if he talks like that, they'll make him see a counselor because there's something wrong, right? And so I'm teaching him inadvertently, don't say anything, don't talk about it, you're not allowed to talk about. So really, I'm not opening the lines of communication, because, you know, I'm telling him to be silent about it. But I also realize that he's an eight year old boy. And those are things that they just talk about, and it's totally normal.

Dr. Joanne Frederick:

I agree. And then I think in everyone's houses, different values, different things that you're allowed to do or not to do. But you're right, because if we tell them them already, don't talk about that don't talk about now we're saying there's a secret. And don't talk about that secret. So now what I tell people is that everyone has a secret adults, everyone. But when we start talking about that secret is when the healing and the work begins. And so we train in kids also, like, keep that secret at home, whatever it is, because sometimes a kid could be disciplined. And then, you know, parents try to make sure they don't talk about that disciplinary action at school, right? And we're teaching them to like, keep a secret and hold on to it, when really they may need to talk about it. Right?

Chrissy:

Well, in the beginning of our conversation, we talked a little bit about, you know, loss, whether that be a loved one actually passing away or just a loss of normalcy, like you were saying, How can we talk to our kids about that, you know, especially especially like seeing friends and family, those are big losses, like you said, missing milestones like prom and graduation. So how do we talk to our kids about that?

Dr. Joanne Frederick:

Yeah. So what I will say is that we don't talk to them about it, we listen to them. So we could bring it up, you know, and anything that we wonder and like, is this a loss for them? So that means that we have to be able to we as parents have to be able to bring up certain conversations, many of us would rather avoid it because it also hurt us. So we don't want to talk about that. Grandma's gone. Right? Well, we have to be

Chrissy:

I'm sorry. Go ahead.

Dr. Joanne Frederick:

Yeah, we have to be able to say hey, look, you know, grandma died three months ago, a year ago. I miss her every day. Do you think about her? So maybe we can share our feelings and notice the loss acknowledge the loss for us, and then x them because For them, it may not be anything like oh no, I don't even think about her. Oh, yeah, I miss her. She was my best friend like, Yeah, I think about her every day. Mm hmm.

Chrissy:

Yeah. Well, I want to talk a little bit about stressors that our kids are under. You know, it's funny when I was a kid, I remember saying to a family member, I'm so stressed right now. And they kind of laughed saying, Well, what does it kid have to be stressed about? But it is, it's so true. That our kids are under insurmountable amount of stress these days, especially when you work in, you know, social media and the stress of getting into the best college and doing well in sports and juggling, you know, the extracurricular activities, all the things? So how do we counteract the stressors that our kids are under?

Dr. Joanne Frederick:

Yeah. So let me talk about some of those stressors briefly. And how do we count on some of their stressors are waking up in the morning to go to school at a certain time, another stressor is just going to school, then socializing, having the best cell phone, all of those are stressors for them, that we as parents would like, just wake up, let's just go I have to go to work, right? Like you're holding me up, get dressed, that is stressful for them. So how do we counteract, we teach them how to wake up on their own in a relaxing time. So how we do that, we may need to have an alarm clock for them a clock, not the cellphone, that they can set themselves wake up on their own, they may have to lay their clothes out, and waking up maybe an hour in advance, especially if it's the kid that takes a long time and groggily that's how we'll deal with help them deal with all that type of stress, other stress, like the socializing, right, we talked to them about their social life. You know, what are they doing? And how are we allowing them to socialize? Because many of us parents are still afraid we're afraid of Coronavirus is still out there. So no, you're not going to go outside of school and spend time with your friends. So we have to allow them time to debrief. We have to give them breaks. So that means that sometimes kids want to stay home, guess what? I think it's okay, if they want to stay home. But if there's a pattern of them wanting to stay home too often too long. That's a problem. But they do need a break.

Chrissy:

Yeah, right. I think I know I suffer from this just filling our schedule, we're always on the go. Taking a break is huge. Just for our mental health, calming down, slowing down is a big. Now your book that you wrote is all about coping strategies. What are the best strategies for families?

Dr. Joanne Frederick:

Right? So there's a couple of strategies in there. So one of those strategies is interesting family when you think family, you think group, but one of the strategies is self reflection. And self means it's about you. So families, each individual and helping each individual think about their role in the family, how do they help the family, and even things that they may do or say that hinders the family. So that's one thing, self reflection within the family. Another thing is using spirituality to cope within the family. So whatever that spirituality means, to the family, it could mean going to church going to the synagogue, you know, synagogue, it can mean go into the mosque, but other families, it may mean let's take a walk outside and take in the sun, the birds, the sky, the trees, but the spirituality of the family, how are we using that to cope and also the family managing stress and anxiety their individual ones, and then the stress and the anxiety within the family?

Chrissy:

So that actually leads into my next question about prioritizing mental health as a family. I feel like so many times, other things come first, you know, living our lives, we're busy on the go, Well, how do we shift gears and shift our thinking into making that the number one priority?

Dr. Joanne Frederick:

Yeah, so you know, I'm biased with that question because for me, mental health is always the priority even before a pandemic, but now with the world we live in and it is still and should be the priority. So when we talk about mental health, this relates to self care. So what that means is self care is first and self care with the family is how we wake up where we rest our head know how comfortable it is. And when we Wake up, how do we start the day? Do we stretch exercise, have a good meal, um, nutrition, all of that as part of mental health? And then also when we're having bad days, how do we articulate that? And how do we do things to feel better? Where do we go? What are the things we like to do? Read a book, watch a good movie, tell a joke. Take a walk. And so that's how we prioritize mental health within the families. We need to practice. All of these things that I'm talking about another area of mental health, but this would be for the adult adults is the financial, mental health, the cognitive, mental, health, emotional, these are all things that the adults need to handle. So that is not a stressful stressor. For the kids in the family.

Chrissy:

Yeah. I always say that, you know, Americans are always so focused on physical health, they often neglect the mental health, which is probably I'm sure you would agree more important than that. And, you know, at this time in the world, lots of things going on lots of crazy things. And I feel like many parents are feeling burnt out, whether they're juggling work, childcare, health concerns, anything. What would you suggest in terms of how we overcome those burnouts?

Dr. Joanne Frederick:

Yeah, you know what, this is what I would suggest folks maybe like, what, drop something, let it go. I don't know what that something is for a particular person. But if the job is too stressful, and you really don't need it, it's okay to leave it alone. If you're volunteering with different organizations, all kinds of stuff, it's okay to leave one of them alone, even if it's temporary. But the burnout is we need a break. Another thing is taken vacations, it can be a staycation. We need a week off, sometimes maybe three days. And this has to be an ongoing process, taking vacations, taking breaks. That's how we deal with burnout.

Chrissy:

I love that I'm a big proponent of vacations. So that's great. Well, I feel like I could talk to you all day long. I feel like I've had my own personal one on one session with you, which is great. But we're out of time. So just wanted to thank you so much for joining us today. You know, mental health, as we talked about is so important. I love again that word collaborate to us and really just having that conversation and open conversation, breaking those stigmas of not being able to talk about things. So we really appreciate your time.

Dr. Joanne Frederick:

Thank you. Thank you for having me, and we'll talk again.

Chrissy:

Absolutely. Thanks so much again. Here's what's new at MomsMeet and KIWI magazine. We've got some amazing sampling opportunities going on at Moms Meet. Right now you can apply to try Wild Planet Albacore wild tuna, KH-7 super degreaser True Made Foods no sugar veggie ketchup and Tone It Up plant based protein bars in chocolate peanut butter. KIWI magazine's 2022 Spring issue is out now. Featuring fresh recipes, family mental health advice, crafts and more, there are so many amazing articles to check out this season. Plus dive deeper into what you need to know about climate change and its impact on your kids health. This episode is brought to you in part by The Good Chrisp Company. The Good Chrisp Company potato crisps are packed with flavor and crunch but made without common food allergens, egg, wheat, gluten, peanuts, tree nuts, fish and shellfish, sesame seeds, mustard and celery. They're also gluten free and non GMO with no artificial colors or flavors. The Good Crisp Company provides a classic flavor of potato chips you know and love offered in a shareable canister or individual size. Simply pop the lid and enjoy guilt free. Thank you to everyone for listening. Make sure you hit the subscribe button so you don't miss the latest podcast episodes. We'll be back for season four this summer. Thanks for conquering healthy living at all ages and stages of life with us