Mental health and teens
Our teenagers and Mental Health
Having the uncomfortable conversations-
Suicide in youth 10-18 is the highest ever. Drugs are everywhere. Technology allows any child to search for ways to get high off over the counter medication. We haven’t even talked about what’s available for a couple dollars at your local school.
Self- harm is at an epidemic-
Children are comparing self- harming methods on-line. As parents we do everything we can to provide for our children. Our lack of face to face communication is having negative effects. https://kidshelpphone.ca/
I have created www.parentsnevergiveup.com to support parents dealing with mental health and addiction issues in their child’s life. I coach parents in how to be present in the hardest moments. No parent should feel alone.
I had no idea that 75% of visits to CHEO were mental health related until I sat in the emergency room late one night. Also, I had no idea where to turn when she didn’t come home at night at 14 years old. I spent many nights searching for her outside in sub-zero temperatures worried sick.
Their pain is real –
Their feelings of not being heard have merit. they feeling alone in a school of hundreds. They have the means to self -medicate. To self-harm. To numb it all is a click away or a friend’s medicine cabinet away. http://www.barrhavenblog.com/st-francis-xavier-high-school-students-present-a-production-to-raise-awareness-for-mental-health/
Family Time –
The idea of going for a family visit in a mental health facility. Having pizza in a group home. This is not the family gatherings I expected. Not worrying about marks, but if she will survive swallowing 43 Tylenol.
Lessons Learned –
In dealing with my daughter’s journey into mental health, anxiety, self -harm, suicidal ideations, drug use, children’s aid involvement and mental disorders on a whole, and having her living elsewhere for the last 5 years, I have learned a few key lessons. http://parentsnevergiveup.com/we-all-matter/
Love can heal anything –
Your number one job as a parent is to love your child no matter what. Anger is an emotion that we use to defend ourselves and our pride when we feel wronged. Love is what truly matters when you and your child are hurting. That love needs to be for yourself as well. @lovematters
Loving yourself –
I learned 4 years in that all I control is showing up as my best self. Of course, I want the best for all my children. As any parent, I want to see them achieve their dreams and reach their biggest goals. Also, I want them to be happy, healthy and open to speaking with me about anything. I want them to enjoy their childhood years. Learn the lessons I learned growing up in my teen years. In making the mistakes I learned from in my teens. As a parent, I want them to trust themselves in their ability to make choices. This is hard to watch, but I want them to learn from their mistakes and grow. And, I want them to understand that being their parent is my favourite role, but not my only role. I want them to share their fears, their daily wins and their concerns about their friends or what is actually going on at the parties I am petrified of letting them attend with me. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GkCkUqoItCc&t=9s
We are their Role Models –
I want them to understand I get anxious, angry, frustrated and hurt. Like most parents, I want them to see I am working hard for them but also for myself. Also, I don’t want them to feel they owe me or have to achieve x in order to receive my love. Ultimately, I want them to know that my love for them is what makes me vulnerable in letting them out there in the world.
Social Media –
Technology is everywhere and I would argue that this generation is learning faster than most parents can keep up with. I would argue that the pressure on our children and the responsibility is higher than ever before as most households have parents at work all day.
Parents Supporting Parents –
Can we as parents support each other in dealing with these issues together? How can we have open, mature conversations with our children who may be dealing with friends who have nowhere else to turn to but another child ill equipped for the responsibility of keeping that friend from killing themselves because they are so fragile mentally? Can we demonstrate play, joy, growth, family and love when we too are connected to that same technology?
Parenting Moving Forward –
You are never alone in your day to day parenting and you are not failing in parenting when you or your child struggles in any area, especially in dealing with mental health. My experiences over the last 7 years have allowed me a perspective too many parents have experienced as well. My courage in being the mom I set out to be 19 years ago has taught me to keep searching to find answers and ways of connecting so no other parent feels as alone and as scared as I did in going through my own experience. There is no shame in asking for help. There is no question that is not worth asking. Reach out to me through parentsnevergiveup.com and on Instagram and Facebook under the same name, because we don’t know what we don’t know, but we all want to be the best parent we can be.
For more resources – www.parentguide.ca