Show cover of Raising Mentally Healthy Kids with Michelle Nietert

Raising Mentally Healthy Kids with Michelle Nietert

You’re listening to the raising mentally healthy kids podcast with host Michelle Nietert who’s been a licensed professional counselor for over 20 years, An award-winning Author, previous creator of a large school district crisis counseling program and the clinical director of community counseling associates located in the Dallas Texas area. With the increase in mental health statistics regarding kids and teens along with climbing suicide rates, Michelle is passionate about equipping parents To understand and talk with their kids about the mental health issues they encounter in our culture every day.

Tracks

Empathetic Listening, Managing Screen Time, Adequate Socialization, and Back-to-School Anxiety
If you've listened before, you'll notice something different about today's episode. Over the past four months, I've been doing a radio segment called Mental Health Monday for Magic 104.1 in Oklahoma City. We've covered a wide range of topics from how empathic listening can help our kids manage anxiety to setting healthy boundaries with our kids while we work from home. You can text any questions you'd like me to answer in upcoming segments to 405-460-5104! Topics we cover: 🧠 (1:14) How can I know if my child is mentally healthy? What can we as parents do to help raise mentally healthy kids? 👂 (6:05) What is empathetic listening and how can it help my child's anxiety? 📚 (10:17) How can parents support a child who's struggling in school? 📱 (14:16) How much screen time is too much screen time? How can I help my kids use screens responsibly? 💔 (17:28) How can I help manage my child's loneliness when they're spending time home alone over the summer? 😱 (21:14) How do I keep my sanity when I'm working from home with kids in the house? 👭 (24:53) How do we know our kids are socializing enough?  🎮 (27:33) Is my child spending too much time in their room? 🎒 (31:26) How can I help my child process their back-to-school anxiety? Follow My Magic Morning Show: website | Instagram | Facebook
35:10 08/02/2022
Hope When Your Teen Struggles with Chronic Illness & Depression with Jennifer Dukes Lee & Her Daughter Anna
Most of us don’t love change, but for our teens, times of transition can be especially stressful and lead to anxiety and depression. But don’t lose hope, parents! In this episode, I’m excited to share my conversation with author Jennifer Dukes Lee and her daughter, Anna about how their journey through Anna’s depression and chronic illness has actually made them closer and their faith stronger. We also discuss when to offer help, when to stick it out and when to move on, and Anna shares some practical things that have helped her process her emotions in a healthy way. Key points from our conversation: ❓ Teens have the biggest struggles during times of transition because of the uncertainty it brings. It’s common to run through “what-if” worst-case scenarios. They can reframe that thinking by remembering that things could be good and even if not, they’re resilient enough to bounce back. 💭 It’s hard to ask for help, especially if you’re a teen. But as a parent, if you notice flat emotions, disinterest in things your child used to enjoy, or lethargy, offer them the option to seek counseling. They may not have the energy to get help then, but it can assist them in beginning to think about how they plan to manage difficulties in their life. 🤝 It’s important to have a support system in place. We’re not meant to go it alone. We need community. 🎢 Getting better is not a linear process. Emotions are rollercoasters; they come in waves. There is not just one area of treatment to address. We must address the whole – mind, body, spirit, and environment. ✨ It can be difficult to know when to stick out a hard situation to build resilience and when to withdraw from an environment. If something is consuming your teen’s identity, consider making a change. Our kids need to be in a place they feel safe. We must consider what is best for our child in this season of their life. ☀️ A few practical things Anna has done that have helped are exercise, getting sunlight, reading the Bible, journaling, taking her medication, and surrounding herself with a supportive community. Name the emotion you feel, identify where you feel it in your body, and choose a movement to let it go. If we don’t process through emotions, they will loop and become more exaggerated. 💕 If your teen is struggling with depression, don’t lose hope. Jennifer and Anna are closer now than ever because they’ve experienced the struggle together and learned to trust God. Resources mentioned: Growing Slow: Lessons on Un-Hurrying Your Heart from an Accidental Farm Girl Follow Jennifer: website | Instagram | Facebook Follow Anna: website | Seed Apparel Instagram | personal Instagram
49:26 07/19/2022
How Our Thoughts Affect Our Physical Health with Debra Fileta, M.A., LPC
The best way to teach our children healthy behaviors is by modeling them, but as parents, we often find ourselves too busy to exercise, eat healthy meals, or get enough sleep. In the second half of my chat with licensed professional counselor and author Debra Fileta, we discuss how faulty perceptions affect our decision-making, why seeking professional help for mental health is taboo in the Christian church, how our emotional health is linked to our physical health, and some practical ways to develop good sleep hygiene.  Key points from our conversation: 🧠What you think impacts how you feel, which impacts what you do. When talking about mental and emotional health, we always want to start by addressing a thought process. 🚫Cognitive distortion is a faulty way of thinking that affects our decision-making. Examples include an all-or-nothing mentality, mindreading (assuming you know what another person is thinking), and catastrophizing. 🕒 It’s important to stay in the present instead of focusing on what happened in the past or what may happen in the future. ✝️ Often Christians are afraid to admit they need help because they believe it indicates a deficit of faith. Struggling with mental health does not reflect a character issue, it reflects a chemical issue. 🙁 It’s important to help our children process through the hard stuff. Trauma doesn’t have to be abuse or abandonment, it can be grief or disappointment. We often try to ignore trauma and hope time will heal, but things can get worse if not addressed. 🏃‍♀️ Your physical health is linked to your emotional health. We need to be intentional about regular physical activity, balanced nutrition, and adequate sleep and model it for our children. If you notice a pattern of disrupted sleep or a change in appetite, energy levels, or ability to concentrate, it could be a sign of a deeper issue. 💤 Some practical ways to develop good sleep hygiene include limiting screen time, aroma therapy, drinking something warm, limiting caffeine intake, and keeping similar waking and bedtime hours. Resources mentioned: Are You Really OK?: Getting Real About Who You Are, How You’re Doing, and Why It Matters More Than Moody: Recognizing and Treating Adolescent Depression Follow Debra: website | Instagram | Facebook | podcast
29:36 07/05/2022
How to Create Emotional & Spiritual Health in Your Home with Debra Fileta, M.A., LPC
I want to ask you a simple, but hard question - “Are you really okay?” In this episode with licensed professional counselor and author Debra Fileta, we’re focusing on how we as parents can do the hard work of building emotional awareness within ourselves so we can normalize talking about emotions within our homes. Debra also shares how our view of God, others, and self affects our spiritual health and offers a practical exercise you can do with your child to help them explore their emotions and create healthy conversations. Key points from our conversation: 🩹 Healthy people make healthy relationships. So much of what we learn is modeled, so one of the best things was can do is take care of ourselves. 🌋 It’s crucial that we build emotional awareness. If we don’t release the emotions building under the surface in healthy ways, they will show up in an emotional outburst. 🎨 To help your child unpack their emotions, try the “feeling in my body” activity. Have the child draw an outline of their body and have them color it using different colors to show emotions in the body. The magic of the exercise is in the conversation it creates. It normalizes that it’s good and normal to talk about emotions. ❓ There are over 500 different emotions. Asking questions expands your child’s emotional vocabulary and helps them discover what they’re feeling and why. ✨ Emotions are real, but they are not always true. What makes emotions right or wrong is not feeling them, but what we do with that feeling. Emotional control means lining up what you feel with God’s truth. ✝️ Our view of God, others, and self are a big indicator of spiritual health because we often transfer our hurts to what we think about God. We must know what we truly believe about God. If we believe the wrong things, then our actions are rooted in the wrong things. The why is crucial. ❤️ What you believe about yourself determines the kind of relationship you believe you deserve. Resources mentioned: Are You Really OK?: Getting Real About Who You Are, How You’re Doing, and Why It Matters Printable feeling wheel The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma Follow Debra: website | Instagram | Facebook | podcast
30:49 06/21/2022
Repairing Damage in Family Relationships with Ann Taylor McNiece, LMFT
In our last episode with Marriage & Family Therapist Ann Taylor McNiece we talked about how we can engage in healthy discussion and avoid conflict that destroys. In the second part of our conversation, we’re discussing how we can repair the damage that’s already been caused, specifically in our family relationships. Key points from our conversation: 🩹 What you consider a repair may not be what the other person considers a repair, but your repair attempts count. 👂 Own any part of the problem you can gets your partner out of the attack cycle. Try reflective listening - reflect what you hear the person say, ask if you heard them right, own what you can. 💍 69% of problems are going to be unsolvable because they have to do with personality and preference. You can have a very happy marriage on the 31% you can work out. 💕 We are called to love and give sometimes more than we receive. You either have rejected the person or you’ve accepted that in your commitment, this isn’t a deal breaker. It’s not a character issue, it’s a preference. It’s not abuse, addiction, or adultery. 🙏 Being intentional about reflecting on what your grateful for about your spouse will create a more positive perspective in your marriage. This can be extremely difficult if you’re experiencing depression. 🤝 Counseling isn’t an effort to “fix” someone, it’s to find out how you can work better together. 🥪 Practice using the sandwich method - give a compliment, submit your request, follow it with the positive it will bring. 🧠 If you want to raise a mentally healthy kid, focus on your mental health first. Resources Mentioned: Gottman Bible Guide The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work No More Perfect Marriages: Experience the Freedom of Being Real Together Boundaries in Marriage: Understanding the Choices That Make or Break Loving Relationships Follow Ann: website | Instagram | Facebook
32:54 06/07/2022
Key Communication Skills to Engage in Healthy Conflict with Your Family with Ann Taylor McNiece, LMFT
As much as we may try, we can’t avoid conflict and have healthy relationships. In this episode with Marriage & Family Therapist Ann Taylor McNiece, we’re sharing some skills to help you engage in healthy discussion and avoid conflict that destroys. While most of this conversation is focused on spouses, these communication skills will impact every relationship in your life and change the dynamic of your household. Key points from our conversation: 💍 All marriages struggle, but you can choose to engage in a way that shows honor or one that causes destruction. The first 5 to 7 years of marriage are hard with the hardest being the year when you have your first child. ❤️ A sound relationship begins on the firm foundation of knowing each other. Partners should begin by building a “Love Map,” which is the essential guide to your partner’s inner world. In an ideal relationship, you and your partner know each other better than anyone else. Start by listening to each other one minute at a time. 💋 Couples need to be comfortable talking about sex outside the bedroom. You’re also going to need to be able to talk to your kids about sex. 😡 Before engaging in a conflict discussion, emotionally self-regulate so that you can approach the other person softly. A hard approach can cause unwanted conflict. Don’t have conversations when you’re hungry, angry, lonely, or tired. 🕒 When you feel yourself moving out of your tolerance window, set a time and place to revisit the conversation. 🧠 Teach kids coping skills to use when flooded such as listening to music, watching a funny video on YouTube, or calling a friend. The “four horsemen” of conflict: Criticism – Criticizing your partner is different than offering a critique or voicing a complaint. Criticizing is an attack on your partner at the core of their character. Contempt - When we communicate in this state, we are truly mean. The target of contempt is made to feel despised and worthless. Contempt is the single greatest predictor of divorce. Defensiveness - This is typically a response to criticism. When we feel unjustly accused, we respond in a way that guards you so that you can’t get to the root of the issue. Stonewalling - Stonewalling occurs when the listener withdraws from the interaction, shuts down, and simply stops responding to their partner. Resources Mentioned: Gottman Bible Guide Soul Grit Podcast Soul Grit Counseling Solution-Focused Pastoral Counseling: An Effective Short-Term Approach for Getting People Back on Track Gottman Card Decks App Sound Relationship House Celebrate Kids When Sorry Isn't Enough: Making Things Right with Those You Love Follow Ann: website | Instagram | Facebook
37:01 05/24/2022
Overcoming Dysregulation through Families Trying Softer with Aundi Kolber
In this episode, I'm continuing my conversation with author and therapist, Aundi Kolber and digging into what it looks like to try softer with our families and the profound effect co-regulation can have on our children's nervous systems. We also walk through a practical technique you can use to ground yourself and share some encouragement for parents who feel their house is constantly dysregulated.  Key points from our conversation: ❓ Become curious about the type of home you grew up in. It will give you ideas and information about your own body. 🔎 Examine if there are things in your routine that habitually cause you anxiety. Notice how your body feels. Try grounding techniques – practices that use your 5 senses to bring you to the present moment. 🚀 "5,4,3,2,1 Blast Off" technique – identify 5 things you can see, 4 things you can hear, 3 things you can touch, 2 things you can smell, and 1 thing you can taste. ✨ Regulating is a skill. When we’re dysregulated, we don’t have the capacity to solve problems strategically. Anything you can do to build your regulation will produce more goodness and life because you can evaluate what’s working. 🧠 Our regulation shapes our children's nervous systems. The more we ground, it translates to them. The more you practice, the faster you can regulate 💛 If you grew up in a dysregulated home, honor that your response to how you've survived your life is valid. Have compassion for how hard it’s been to get where you are today. 🩹 Compassion brings integration that allows for growth and change. Every single moment is a new moment and the sooner you begin to turn with compassion for your own story and your kids, the closer you have ever been to healing. 🥰 When we find compassion for ourselves, we can extend it to our kids. 🤝 Cognitive knowledge does not equate to embodied knowledge. Kids need to experience co-regulation with you. They need safety to be able to be open to what it looks like to problem solve. 🗣️ Connect, then correct. Do they feel heard? Kids aren’t open to learning if their bodies are dysregulated. Resources mentioned: Try Harder Connect with Aundi: website | Instagram | Facebook | podcast
40:48 05/11/2022
Moving Families Out of Anxiety, Stress, and Survival Mode with Aundi Kolber
In society we're often told to try harder, but what would it look like to try softer? In this episode, I'm joined by author and therapist, Aundi Kolber who shares about what it means to try softer, how we can help our kids process the trauma stuck in their bodies, and what it means to co-regulate.   Key points from our conversation: 🧠 Trauma is anything that overwhelms our nervous system and its capacity to cope. That trauma gets stuck in our bodies and must be processed.  🧬 When trauma is "stuck," it doesn't metabolize through our bodies and our brains cannot recognize the difference between the past and the present. Certain cues may trigger a past experience as though it was happening now. 👁️ Trauma always involves a perception element that is influenced by development. 🩹 When a parent's nervous system is in the window of tolerance where it is functioning well, we have the capacity to help our kids experience connection and safety.  ✨ Our communication is mostly non-verbal. First, regulate yourself, then help your child by being present with them reassuring them that you see them and that they matter. 💙 Trying softer is learning to pay compassionate attention. It creates resistance because it isn't easy. It takes faith to trust that God will work when you are not.  💪 Softness does not equal weakness. It is hard work to be soft. We don’t get there by pushing ourselves beyond capacity, it's a different kind of work that requires courage. 🤗 There is nothing more predictive of mental health than the ability to have a sense of safety internalized in your body. Resources mentioned: Try Harder The Body Keeps the Score The Search for Significance Connect with Aundi: website | Instagram | Facebook | podcast
36:49 04/26/2022
Overcoming Mindset Struggles with Brooke Tilghman
In the last two episodes, I’ve been joined by Todd and Brooke Tilghman who have shared about their journey with their son who has battled with depression and anxiety, but this episode is a bit different. In this conversation, Brooke gets candid about her mental health struggles with post-partum depression and anxiety, as well as the tension she’s felt as a Christian who has found medication effective in treating her symptoms. She also offers hope to struggling parents that the situation is temporary and you don’t have to be driven by your feelings or fear. Key points from our conversation: ✨ It might feel as though things will never change, but that’s a lie. It requires intentionality, but we can have hope through bad feelings. 💜 Your diagnosis is not your destiny, it’s a snapshot of your life. We’re bigger than our worst moments. The struggle doesn’t change who you are as a person. 💊 It’s difficult to experience God when you’re depressed. Taking medication helped balance Brooke neurochemically so she could fight spiritually. 👎 You may not recognize when you’re stepping into depression. Be on the lookout for feelings of hopelessness and worthlessness. 🧠 People want to feel a certain way, but you have to learn how to think a different way and that takes time. Give yourself grace. Just because you don’t feel happy doesn’t mean you’re not doing the work.   🤝Accept feelings and stop judging them. Don’t let them drive. ✝️ Learn to recognize when symptoms are coming and use the tools you have. Remember that the worst-case scenario is getting depressed again, but the Lord brought you out last time and He can bring you out again. Don’t let fear drive you.   Resources mentioned: Make Up Your Mind: Unlock Your Thoughts, Transform Your Life Connect with Brooke: Instagram | Facebook
30:27 04/12/2022
Winning as a Parent When Your Kid has a Mental Health Issue with Brooke & Todd Tilghman
In the second half of my conversation with the authors of Every Little Win: How Celebrating Small Victories Can Lead to Big Joy Brooke and Todd Tilghman, they’re sharing their journey of supporting their oldest son Eagan through difficulty in school and mental health issues that arose as a result. In this episode, they explain why and when they chose to seek professional help for their son, what the process looked like for them as parents, the changes they made to promote Eagan’s mental health, and different ways we can “win” when our children struggle with mental health complications. Key points from our conversation: 🗣️ If your child tells you they’re struggling or self-harming, believe them and ask how you can support them well. 👂 School counselors may not be able to offer one-on-one counseling, but they are equipped to listen and connect parents with resources. ❓ A therapist can help by giving you knowledge so that you can ask your child better questions without violating their confidence. 🧠 If the mental health issue is severe, a counselor can send the child for an in-patient evaluation. If hospitalized, the child should be put on a treatment plan that helps them learn skills for healthy emotional processing. 🏥 Parents are often separated from the child for a short period after they’re admitted for in-patient treatment to give the child an opportunity to stabilize and focus on getting themselves well. Stays typically only last a few days before the child is sent home for a partial hospitalization program or intensive outpatient program. 🎒 You are your child’s biggest advocate. If their school environment is toxic and the administration is unable or unwilling to help, remove your child. There are multiple education options available. 🏆 We win when we confess our mistakes as parents. We win when we fight for our kids when things get hard. We win when we find others who can help in ways we can’t. We win when we ask our kids how can we help them. Connect with Todd: website | Instagram | Facebook Connect with Brooke: Instagram | Facebook
36:06 03/29/2022
Getting Your Child Help for Depression with Brooke and Todd Tilghman
In this episode, I’m chatting with the authors of Every Little Win: How Celebrating Small Victories Can Lead to Big Joy Brooke and Todd Tilghman. You might recognize Todd as the winner of season 18 of NBC’s The Voice, but in this conversation, he and Brooke share how their focus on joy and celebrating every little win has helped them to overcome numerous challenges over their twenty-plus-year marriage. They also help us understand how we can help our children (and ourselves) battle negative thoughts through daily practices. Key points from our conversation: 👂 It’s important for parents to say less and listen more. Try holding family meetings and allow each child to express what the family is doing well at, what the biggest issue is from their perspective, and what they think you could do better as parents. 🧠 Managing fear and anxiety comes from monitoring our thoughts, which affect our feelings. It’s important to model this for our children by battling our own thoughts first. 🙁 You’ll know when a child’s neurochemistry begins to change when overwhelm turns into hopelessness or depression. 🙏 The work of eliminating negative thoughts will take time. Pray, seek counseling, do the daily work, and if necessary, consider medication. 💊 With every major life transition comes grief. There’s no shame in getting some extra help with medication for difficult seasons. ✝️ We can’t rely on others to fix us, we have to turn to God and do the hard work of fixing ourselves - hopefully with the support of our partner. 🤝 We win when we can share our struggles with others and help them see they’re not alone.   Connect with Todd: website | Instagram | Facebook Connect with Brooke: Instagram | Facebook
38:33 03/15/2022
How to Talk to Your Kids About Loss with Georgia Shaffer
In our last episode, I spoke with author Georgia Schaffer about what healthy grieving looks like for our kids. In the second part of our conversation we’re digging into how to talk to kids about loss and answering some of the questions we hear most like is it okay to use the word “death” with my kids? Should I have my children attend the funeral of a loved one? And is it okay to keep my kid out of school while they grieve? We also offer some practical suggestions of how you can help grieving families.   Key points from our conversation: 😢 When deciding how to tell your child about the death of a person or pet, consider what their experience has been with loss to this point and how the death occurred. Was it sudden or did you know it was imminent? 💀It’s okay to use the word “death” when speaking to your kids. Young children often don’t understand what “passed away” means. The more direct you can be, the better. 🐶 It’s not a good idea to replace a pet to hide a loss. The death of a pet is sometimes the first opportunity to prepare your kids with healthy mechanisms to deal with loss in the future. 💬Ask your children how they want to grieve. It could be a memorial service, drawing a picture, or writing a letter. There is no one way to grieve, it’s dependent on personalities. Just provide the child a chance to talk about what they experienced and allow them to work through it.  ⛔ The fact that a person died is public knowledge, but how they died isn’t always for everyone. We need to be respectful of that. It’s okay to not know. Be careful not to overstate things. 🎒 If someone in the family dies it’s okay to keep your kid out of school, but not too long. Being a little busy is good to help you not get lost in the pain, but moving past the suffering too fast can stunt the grieving process. ⚰️ Talk to your kids about attending the memorial service of a loved one. If they’re not ready for a funeral, perhaps they might want to attend the viewing, graveside service, or process in a different way. 🗣️Some kids process verbally and need to talk about a loss, others only want to share a few words about what they’re feeling.  If they do talk, help them feel heard by practicing reflective listening. 💕Some practical things you can do for grieving families include babysitting, getting the kids something off their wish list, giving money to be used toward food delivery services, and checking in on significant dates. ✨When kids lose a parent at a young age people think they’ll have trauma forever, but that child understands loss in a way others can’t. It helps them develop empathy and compassion the average person wouldn’t as well as equips them with a well-developed emotional vocabulary and resilience. 🧠 If a child is acting out or shutting down, get them a mental health check-up with a professional. ✝️ There is a time to grieve and a time to dance. Grief is hard, but there’s a lot of love that happens in that season. And you can bring that light to others when they grieve. We have hope in Christ that we’ll see them again. ⚱️ Think ahead about how you will handle loss. Talk about grief with your children before it happens. Ask what grief means to them. Planning isn’t being morbid, it’s being real. 💛 If you’re experiencing loss, allow others to love you well. If you can’t accept it, let others love your children. Resources mentioned: Mourning Glory Minute When Dinosaurs Die: A Guide to Understanding Death I Wasn't Ready to Say Goodbye: Surviving, Coping, and Healing After the Sudden Death of a Loved One Become a Better Listener download  Connect with Georgia: website | Instagram | Facebook
42:59 03/01/2022
Empowering Your Kids to Grieve in a Healthy Way with Georgia Shaffer
One of the questions I get asked most is how to talk to kids about grief. Unfortunately, there's no magic formula to speeding up the grieving process. And grieving isn't just about the loss of a loved one, there are a number of losses we grieve, from loss of a dream to loss of health. In the first half of my conversation with coach Georgia Shaffer, she explains what health grieving looks like.   Key points from our conversation: 💊 Kids are more susceptible to addiction when a loss occurs. 😢 6-18 months after a loss can be more difficult due in part to the loss of support you get immediately after death. Shock and numbness wear off and reality sets in. 💔 The "Five Stages of Grief" - denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance – are not accurate. Grief takes far longer than anyone talks about. 🕰️ Time does not heal, it gives us tools and perspective to cope with our loss. 🤷‍♀️ We can’t ignore when our kids are grieving and we don’t understand why. 🥺 Modeling healthy grief means not ignoring the pain or covering it with busyness, comfort eating, or addictions. 😭 It’s okay to cry in front of your kids. It’s important to be able to talk about our feelings with our children. 😩 Sad is a basic emotion. Ask younger kids “how sad are you?” to gauge their level of emotion. Ask them when the last time they cried was. This is especially important with men to break the myth men don’t cry. If you don’t, it typically comes out in unhealthy anger. 😡 Dig deeper with words like "anger," "disappointed," "devastated," and "overwhelmed." Consult a feelings wheel to broaden your emotional vocabulary.  ⛹️‍♂️ Everyone grieves differently. Some withdraw, while some want to talk. Try doing an activity with your kids to give them the opportunity to open up. ✨ No feeling is good or bad, it’s what we do with the feelings that can be negative. 🧸 Kids sometimes want to cry, but they can’t. Play therapy can help them reconnect to their emotions. ⏳ Parents will need to be patient as kids grieve. If you stop the grieving process too soon with smaller losses (pets, etc.), they may not be comfortable sharing about the bigger losses. 💨 We can only deal with the pain a little at a time, so you have to let the pressure out gradually. ☹️ People experience emotions differently. You cannot compare grief, even within a family. Your pain is your pain. 👩‍⚕️ Therapy can be helpful because kids aren’t always comfortable revealing certain feelings to their parents, especially if it’s about that parent. They need someone they feel safe and comfortable speaking to.  💙 It is not our kid's job to take care of our emotions. It’s our job to take care of them.  Resources mentioned: A Gift of Mourning Glories: Restoring Your Life After Loss Grief Share Connect with Georgia: website | Instagram | Facebook
34:05 02/15/2022
Setting Healthy Boundaries with Your Teens and Tweens with Dr. John Townsend
I’m so excited to kick off our new season with this rich conversation I had with psychologist and author Dr. John Townsend about how we can set healthy boundaries with our teens and tweens. We cover a wide range of topics including three skills every parent should utilize to raise mentally healthy kids, how to build a stronger relationship with kids moving toward autonomy, connecting with kids struggling with gender identity, and so much more. Key points from our conversation: 💬 Some parents tend to fragilize their kids rather than setting healthy boundaries. Enter their world and find compassion. If you’re not sure, take your child to a counselor to help determine where they are. ⛔ A “trigger” isn’t when something upsets you, it’s a clinical word used when something brings up traumatic experiences that affect your ability to function. ✨ There are three skills every parent should utilize to raise mentally healthy kids – Warmth – connect and enter the child’s world Appropriate strictness – there must be boundaries and structure Realistic expectations - neither child nor parents will be perfect 🤝 As your children become autonomous, moving toward them in the negative moments will help build a stronger connection. Sit with them, but still enforce appropriate disciplines. 💕 Support doesn’t mean you share an opinion, but that you love them completely. 🧑 Kids struggling with gender is a normal experience today. The most important thing is that you stay connected, address if there’s any danger, and give the information you have. Help them with their character because healthy character will make the right decisions. 🗣️ Healthy character comes from learning to bond and connect, helping children speak up and set boundaries, getting rid of the inner critic, and accepting themselves and reality. Our job as parents is to work on the character. Remind them that they are more than one thing – their gender shouldn’t be their full identity. 🧠 You can determine if your child’s detachment has become unhealthy by asking if they’re emotionally engaged with the family, helpful, vulnerable, and doing okay with school and their hobbies. 👣 If your child is hesitant to spend more time with the family, try an activity. An activity with less eye contact like walking can make them more comfortable. They want to be understood and are waiting to open up, but it’s our job to come up with the framework. 👂 Practice listening without judgment. Lead with curiosity instead of aiming to correct. You earn the right to give truth with grace and listening. The order matters. You have to put in the time. Resources mentioned: Boundaries with Teens: When to Say Yes, How to Say No Connect with Dr. Townsend: website | Instagram | Facebook
28:45 02/01/2022
How to Find a Counselor for Your Young Adult with Melissa Spoelstra
With so many young adults struggling with anxiety and depression as they return to school after the holidays, I wanted to release a bonus episode answering questions from author Melissa Spoelstra about parenting young adults who need to find a counselor. In this episode, we’ll discuss some practical aspects such as insurance coverage and the variety of mental health professionals available to help your child as well as offer you some tips on questions to ask prospective counselors, when it’s time to seek professional help, and how to encourage your child to get help without offending them. Key points from our conversation: 🩺 If insurance is a deal-breaker, call your company and get the names of 10 Christian counselors that are in-network, then narrow them down by finding out who is taking new patients. Have your child do research online like reading bios and watching videos to see who they connect with best. Telehealth may be a good option if you’re in a rural area. ✝️ Therapists use different approaches when it comes to treatment. When interviewing prospective counselors, have your child ask if they are a Christian who does counseling or if they integrate faith into best counseling practices. Also, ask if they are a biblical counselor who doesn’t integrate psychology and if they are a directive or non-directive therapist. 🚨 If your young adult tends to change their mind about counseling, but chronic problems persist, encourage them to find a counselor as quickly as possible. Use the urgency to prevent a future emergency. 🗣️ If your child is resistant because they view counseling as a sign of weakness, normalize it. Since 2020, 40% of young adults 18-24 are experiencing diagnosable anxiety and depression. Practice empathic listening and try changing the verbiage from “you need counseling” to “you could benefit from counseling.” 😖 Panic attacks are immediate criteria for therapy because it means they’re at a place where their mind is not able to control the body in such a way that things happen that are out of control. 🥼 Seeing a therapist should be as normal as seeing a doctor. When in doubt, check it out. 🧠 You may not notice ADHD in your young adult before college because home life and school can provide a structure they can manage. Smarter kids can take even longer to diagnose because their intelligence compensates for their lack of executive management skills. 👂 When your young adult comes home and shares struggles, reassure them that you get it and they’re not alone. Engage them by asking how they would like to try to solve the problem. Offer to get them help, even if they get offended. If you’re the authority, you make the call even if they don’t want to. You know what’s best for them. Resources mentioned: Smart but Scattered by Peg Dawson Connect with Melissa: website | Instagram | Facebook
49:39 01/05/2022
Season 3 Wrap Up
We're halfway through December and I'm wondering how you're doing because it has been hectic around our counseling center. I don’t know why you listen to the show, but I’m so grateful for the guests we’ve had this season and the topics we’ve been able to cover - everything from managing screen time to eating disorders.  We're excited about the guests we have for you next season including Dr. John Townsend who talks about setting healthy boundaries and connections, Georgia Schaffer shares her expertise on grief, and Danny Huerta speaks about Focus on the Family's initiative to address suicide in the church. As we enter 2022, I want to encourage you to slow down, take time to enjoy your community, and spend time reflecting on how mentally, spiritually, emotionally, and relationally healthy your lifestyle is as well as where you want to make changes. I also want to urge you to talk to your kids and listen to them without trying to fix them. Try asking them these 3 questions - How do you want to solve this problem? How can I make your life easier today? How can I pray for you? Thank you for your support this season and we look forward to offering you more resources to raise mentally healthy kids in 2022!
14:02 12/14/2021
Managing Screen Meltdowns without Losing Your Mind with Arlene Pellicane
According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, kids ages 8-18 now spend, on average, 7.5 hours in front of a screen for entertainment each day. In this episode, I’m continuing my conversation with author Arlene Pellicane about how we can help our kids manage screen time in a healthy way by setting clear expectations and consequences. We also talk about managing expectations and helping our kids fail forward, Arlene’s five A+ skills that every child needs to master, and some practical ideas on how and when to introduce new screen time boundaries with your family. Key points from our conversation: 📱 It’s important to set expectations about screen limits with kids as young as 3 and follow through with the predetermined consequences. Training is the most successful when we’re also modeling healthy behaviors. ✍️ If your children are older, it can be helpful to include them in the process of thinking through consequences for violating screen rules. Write them down so the expectations and consequences are clear. If a child can’t use screens responsibly you may not need to remove screens completely, but instead, supervise them differently. ⛔ Expect your children to fail but help them fail forward. Breaking rules is not necessarily an indicator of a character issue or something to take personally, the child simply made an impulsive decision. Remain calm and they will too. If you can’t be calm, wait until tomorrow. 😌 How we approach our kids is important because they don’t want to disappoint their parents. Don’t accuse. Gather the facts. Remain calm. They need to know you’re on their team. You’re there to help. We’re all human. Be their advocate. 🤝 If we handle their failures well, they can learn from their mistakes. If we shame them, they will hide things better next time. We want to create a cooperative relationship of transparency. 🖐️ Arlene has identified five A+ skills that every child needs to master: affection, appreciation, anger management, apology, and attention. 💻 If you want to set new boundaries with your kid’s screen time, try starting with a family screen fast day or choose a time when your routine will already be disrupted, like camp or vacation. 💕 There are endless wonderful things online that are beneficial. Consider how you and your family can use devices to bring you closer to God and the people you love. Resources mentioned: Bark monitoring Total Family Makeover: 8 Practical Steps to Making Disciples at Home Screen Kids: 5 Relational Skills Every Child Needs in a Tech-Driven World Calm, Cool, and Connected: 5 Digital Habits for a More Balanced Life Happy Home University Happy Home podcast Connect with Arlene: website | Instagram | Facebook
30:22 11/16/2021
Helping Kids Manage Screen Addiction with Arlene Pellicane
One of the things I get asked about most in the counseling office is when and how much time kids should be spending on screens because of the correlation between mental health and screen use. With the holidays right around the corner, I want to give you some practical ways to better manage how screens are used in your home. In the first part of my conversation with author Arlene Pellicane, we’re discussing how we address the screen life we have within our families and with our kids. Not all screen time is bad, but it matters how much time we’re spending and what we’re gaining from that time. Key points from our conversation: 📺 Kids from Gen Z have had access to screens and portable devices since they were born. We need to have parenting tools to help equip our kids to find activities to entertain themselves other than screens. 🧠 When young kids spend time on screens it affects the neurochemicals that build connections in their brain. “Digital candy” experienced through things like gaming, social media, and YouTube provides a rush of dopamine and puts them into the fight-or-flight mode by shutting off blood from the pre-frontal cortex – the part of the brain responsible for decision making. 👀 Screens are a struggle for adults as well, so it’s important to model healthy behaviors to help teach digital social etiquette such as looking away from the screen and looking your child in the eye when they’re speaking to you. 📱 There’s no specific age to give your child a phone, but it is wise to have some safeguards in place. They should be able to be responsible in other areas of life and understand that the rules set for their devices applies no matter where they are. It helps teach integrity. 🎮 Playing games isn’t bad. Certain games have modes that develop creativity rather than something that puts them in fight or flight. Encourage them to build social dynamics into their play. If you’re fighting them to get off, they’re overstimulated. Resources mentioned: Screen Kids: 5 Relational Skills Every Child Needs in a Tech-Driven World Calm, Cool, and Connected: 5 Digital Habits for a More Balanced Life Happy Home University Happy Home podcast Connect with Arlene: website | Instagram | Facebook
35:52 11/09/2021
How Do I Find a Counselor Who Specializes in Self-Injury (NSSI) with Lori Vann, M.A.
In the second half of my conversation with Certified Licensed Professional Counselor Lori Vann, we’re continuing our discussion about non-suicidal self-injury (NSSI) including why it can be dangerous to punish or ignore a child engaging in self-harm, what’s involved in a good treatment plan from a specialized counselor, and what to do when you don’t see your child’s behaviors improving. Key points from our conversation: 💣 It can be dangerous to punish or ignore a child involved in self-harm. Although self-injury is not a suicide attempt, there is a suicide correlation. The intent matters. 🗣️ It’s vital to find a counselor who specializes in self-injury. Interview the counselor and ask general questions. There are a lot of resources and different therapies that are effective. ✍️ For a coping skill to be effective, it needs to match the trigger for self-harm. Often the child wants people to know how they’re feeling, but they don’t have the words. It can be helpful for some kids to draw on their skin. Skin-to-skin touch can be a calming technique and it grounds them on a visual and physical level. 😔 It’s important the child doesn’t feel shame. Model self-compassion and be a safe family to talk about emotions feely. Meet the child where they are and help them manage their emotions in different ways. ✨ Perfectionism and self-injury have a connection. There’s a control dynamic. It’s not an act of rebellion, it’s a cry for help. 🤝 Treatment should be a collaborative effort among the counselor, parents, and child. Parents should get updates and tips from the counselor to better understand what’s happening. If the parents and child are in conflict, it can be beneficial to get family counseling from a different counselor. Good family therapy addresses the family’s communication style and rules as well as how they deal with emotions. 🩹 If you have previously engaged in self-harm, be honest with your child about it. Teach them the coping skills that helped you learn how to get through it. You don’t need to go into detail or give a lecture. Let them know you’ll answer any questions. Resources mentioned: Lori interviews Dr. Phil about Self-Injury and Suicide Institute for Non-Suicidal Self-Injury Instagram Lori Vann has been privileged to be called by her professional peers “the Guru” and an “authority” on Non-Suicidal Self-Injury, in addition, to being considered one of the top counselors in the Metroplex when it comes to developing interns into highly ethical and professional counselors who are sought after by counseling centers.  Her 20+ years of counseling experience in a variety of locations from inpatient psychiatric, non-profit, school districts, outpatient clinics to private practice has provided her with a unique, well-rounded perspective that benefits not only her staff, her interns, the licensed counselors she trains during her ethics’ events, but also the community. Follow Lori: website | Instagram | Facebook
39:20 11/02/2021
What Every Parent Needs to Know About Cutting, Self-Harm, Self-Injury, and NSSI with Lori Vann, M.A.
Recent studies suggest that 30% of the population will struggle with non-suicidal self-harming behaviors over their lifetime. For teenage girls, the risk is 1 in 4. In this episode with Certified Licensed Professional Counselor Lori Vann, we’re discussing why so many children cope through self-injury, the signs parents can look for if they believe their kids may be harming themselves, and how to approach your child in a way that leads to lasting change. Key points from our conversation: 💬 It’s important to be proactive in talking to your kids about self-harming behaviors. They start getting exposed to these behaviors as early as elementary school through media, so parents should be keenly aware of what messages they’re receiving through television, movies, and music. 📺 When you notice self-injury references in media, ask your kids what they think the reference is about and what they think about the behavior, but be careful with your tone. Kids are intuitive and may change their answers if they sense you’re anxious. 🔪 Cutting is often considered the main presentation of self-harm, but Lori has identified 28 forms of self-injury. By the time a child has escalated to cutting, it’s likely there have been years of smaller forms of abuse. The escalation occurs when the action is no longer providing the emotional, psychological, and/or physiological release than it did when they first started doing it. ✨ The endorphins released during a self-harming behavior will relieve physical pain as well as emotional pain. Sometimes kids will teach other children to use these behaviors as a method of coping. 🩺 If you find out your child is self-injuring, don’t overreact. Be proactive and calm and seek help from a professional. Self-injury is an addiction and should be treated as such. 🧠 You’re not a bad parent if your child is harming themselves. Kids get influenced in a variety of ways and they’re using it as a coping mechanism because they lack the skills to figure out what’s going on. A primal part of their brain is trying to regulate itself. 🤐 Overreacting to self-injury can actually cause more damage and cause the child to hide the behavior. Model having healthy hard conversations by making sure your emotions are in check before engaging with them and making sure they understand that they are not in trouble. Punishing self-harm exacerbates the issues you’re working to heal. Resources mentioned: A Caregiver's Guide to Self-Injury Cutting: Understanding and Overcoming Self-Mutilation A Bright Red Scream: Self-Mutilation and the Language of Pain Stopping the Pain: A Workbook for Teens Who Cut and Self Injure SAFE program Lori Vann has been privileged to be called by her professional peers “the Guru” and an “authority” on Non-Suicidal Self-Injury, in addition, to being considered one of the top counselors in the Metroplex when it comes to developing interns into highly ethical and professional counselors who are sought after by counseling centers.  Her 20+ years of counseling experience in a variety of locations from inpatient psychiatric, non-profit, school districts, outpatient clinics to private practice has provided her with a unique, well-rounded perspective that benefits not only her staff, her interns, the licensed counselors she trains during her ethics’ events, but also the community. Follow Lori: website | Instagram | Facebook
34:12 10/26/2021
4 Principles That Help You Parent More Positively with John Trent, PhD and Dewey Wilson, PhD
Over the past two episodes, I’ve been speaking with doctors John Trent and Dewey Wilson about how we can raise relationally intelligent kids. In the last part of our conversation, we focus on four key principles that positive parents think and practice that are effective for all ages. We also discuss how both we and our children can get swept up in “culture currents” without even noticing and the hope science gives us about the power of neuroplasticity. 4 Principles That Help You Parent More Positively: 🔎 Focus on the children first. Become a student of your child. The secure attachment will strengthen as you learn more about them.  It’s never too late to start. 🗣️ Be proactive instead of reactive. Healthy boundaries are the ones that are established before the problem occurs.  📚 Develop and learn themselves. We need to know and understand what’s happening in our kid’s worlds. Take the time to intentionally learn good parenting skills. 🔀 Make midcourse corrections. When you realize something you did had a negative result, apologize and take ownership. Empathize about how it could’ve affected them. If you want something different, you have to do something different. Resources mentioned: TheRelationallyIntelligentChild.com FREE empathetic listening printable Connect with John: website | Instagram | Facebook Connect with Dewey: website | Instagram | Facebook You can find more resources about mental health, parenting, and coping with anxiety at MichelleNietert.com.  Please be sure to subscribe to the Raising Mentally Healthy Kids podcast on your favorite podcast player so you never miss an episode! And if this episode helped you we’d love it if you’d leave a review to help other parents find this resource. And don't forget to join the conversation about raising mentally healthy kids with Michelle on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter!
31:41 10/19/2021
How Understanding Personality Types Can Reduce Conflict in Your Home with John Trent, PhD and Dewey Wilson, PhD
As parents we want to believe we know our own kids, but without understanding their temperaments we don’t have the full picture. In the second part of my conversation with John Trent and Dewey Wilson we’re breaking down the different personality types we have in our homes according to Dr. Trent’s four animal personality assessment and discussing how we can use that understanding to help encourage each other rather than cause friction in our relationships by exploring how they interact with one another. You can take the assessment for free at TheRelationallyIntelligentChild.com. The Four Animal Personalities: 🦁 Lion Strengths: Bold, adventurous, determined, and competitive, lions are “take charge” types who love solving big problems. Challenges: Impulsive decision-making; can be too direct or impatient with others or doesn’t listen; may seem more interested in their goals than their relationships; bored by routine and chit-chat 🦦 Otter Strengths: Energetic, fun-loving, and optimistic, otters can chat for hours and are great at motivating and inspiring others. Challenges: Energized by novelty and so avoids details or lacks follow-through; overly trusting; may set unrealistic goals or seem unconcerned about risks or meeting deadlines 🐕 Golden Retriever Strengths: Easygoing, empathetic, and loyal, golden retrievers are patient listeners and peacemakers who highly value their relationships with others. Challenges: Easily hurt or holds a grudge; needs routine and time to process change or major decisions; ignores their own needs to keep the peace; explanations meander Beaver Strengths: Analytical and detail-oriented, beavers like to do a job well and to ponder all the implications before making a decision. Challenges: Can frustrate others with their precision and desire for details; their impulse to troubleshoot new ideas can make them seem like a “wet blanket”; too critical of self and others. Resources mentioned: TheRelationallyIntelligentChild.com The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love That LastsFREE empathetic listening printable Connect with John: website | Instagram | Facebook Connect with Dewey: website | Instagram | Facebook You can find more resources about mental health, parenting, and coping with anxiety at MichelleNietert.com.  Please be sure to subscribe to the Raising Mentally Healthy Kids podcast on your favorite podcast player so you never miss an episode! And if this episode helped you we’d love it if you’d leave a review to help other parents find this resource. And don't forget to join the conversation about raising mentally healthy kids with Michelle on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter!
26:38 10/12/2021
Raising Relationally Intelligent Kids with John Trent, PhD & Dewey Wilson, PhD
With our children often connecting over screens, we have a felt need in our culture to help them develop relational intelligence.  In this episode, I’m speaking with two experts on that subject, John Trent and Dewey Wilson, authors of the book The Relationally Intelligent Child: Five Keys to Helping Your Kids Connect Well with Others. We discuss what relational intelligence is and why it’s so important, four elements that are essential to relational intelligence, and the power of giving your kids freedom to fail. Key points from our conversation: 🤝 Relational intelligence is an applicational construct. It’s the ability to learn, understand, and apply the relationship skills that God has equipped us with. 🔗 Relational intelligence helps relieve social anxiety by equipping children with skills that give them the confidence to connect with others more easily. 👨‍👩‍👧 Children with secure attachment feel protected by their caregivers and a though they have a safe space to process emotions. 🏠 When a child has a secure attachment at home, it gives them the confidence to fearlessly explore their world. As their world expands, they will fail, but resilience is built through “failing forward.” 💪 Kids take stress cues from their parents. If we want our kids to be resilient, we must model resiliency. Let your kids know you’re struggling and show them how to fail well. 🤩 Brighten your eyes when you see your kids. Only 7% of communication is verbal, so your reactions and tone matter. 🧠 The area of the brain responsible for the evaluation of consequences doesn’t mature until the mid-20s – 30s, but the area responsible for risk is active in adolescence. Resources mentioned: The Blessing: Giving the Gift of Unconditional Love and Acceptance FREE empathetic listening printable Connect with John: website | Instagram | Facebook Connect with Dewey: website | Instagram | Facebook You can find more resources about mental health, parenting, and coping with anxiety at MichelleNietert.com.  Please be sure to subscribe to the Raising Mentally Healthy Kids podcast on your favorite podcast player so you never miss an episode! And if this episode helped you we’d love it if you’d leave a review to help other parents find this resource. And don't forget to join the conversation about raising mentally healthy kids with Michelle on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter!
31:30 10/05/2021
Helping Your Child Grieve the Loss of a Pet with Sissy Goff, M. Ed., LPC-MHSP
Often our children’s first experience with death is the loss of a pet. In the second half of my interview with Director of Child and Adolescent Counseling Sissy Goff, M. Ed., LPC-MHSP, we’re talking about how we can help our kids process loss and teach them about grief. We’re also offering some helpful tips on how to gauge how well your child is moving through the grieving process and when it’s time to seek professional help. Key points from our conversation: 🐶 It’s important to honor the loss with kids and give them the time and space to grieve. Sometimes we don’t want to see our kids hurting so we circumvent the process. 💔 Sometimes acknowledging your child’s pain is enough. All kids experience grief differently and will need to honor their pets in different ways. 🤐 Sometimes because we’re also grieving children won’t express their emotions because they don’t want to make us sadder. Their grief may be more significant than we know. 🧠 Normalize mental health checkups. It gives your child a safe place so if something happens, they already have an established relationship. ✉️ Encourage your child to write a letter to the pet or memorize it some way. Tell your kids that it’s okay to talk to their pets in heaven. Remembering is not bad, it’s good. 😢 Occasionally ask your child on a scale of 1-10 how sad they are about the loss. The number should be naturally going down over time. If not, it’s time to seek a counselor. 💬 Communicate to your kids that there’s nothing we together with God can’t get through. Give them hope and strength in the knowledge that you are capable. It might require help, but it’s okay to ask for help. If you do appear fragile, they will likely hide things from you. Resources mentioned:Braver, Stronger, Smarter: A Girl’s Guide to Overcoming Worry & Anxiety Dog Heaven FREE empathetic listening printable Connect with Sissy: website | Instagram | Facebook | podcast You can find more resources about mental health, parenting, and coping with anxiety at MichelleNietert.com.  Please be sure to subscribe to the Raising Mentally Healthy Kids podcast on your favorite podcast player so you never miss an episode! And if this episode helped you we’d love it if you’d leave a review to help other parents find this resource. And don't forget to join the conversation about raising mentally healthy kids with Michelle on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter!
22:49 09/28/2021
What to Do When Your Child Has Worry and Anxiety with Sissy Goff, M. Ed., LPC-MHSP
As we talk about raising mentally healthy kids, I can’t think of a more relevant topic right now for all of us than anxiety. Worry and anxiety seemed to have peaked in our country as COVID-19 hit, but it certainly has not disappeared. And while we as adults tend to focus on the big life things, kids are still dealing with the natural anxieties of adolescence. In this episode I’m talking with the Director of Child and Adolescent Counseling at Daystar Counseling Ministries Sissy Goff, M. Ed., LPC-MHSP about some practical things we can do to help our kids socially, emotionally, spiritually, and functionally develop well. Key points from our conversation: 💕 When we view our child’s behavior as manipulative or controlling, it’s important to remember that behavior is a form of communication. Understanding that we do not face the same dynamics as our kids can help us move us to a place of empathy and compassion. ⚖️ Our goal should not be just to teach our children how to respond but to learn how to respond in a way that best suits them. We may have to self-regulate ourselves first as parents. 👂 When kids talk about their worries, reassurance can sometimes come off as minimizing or fixing. And when parents minimize, kids respond more dynamically to be heard. You kids are going to have worries; it’s important to slow down, listen, and validate their worry even if you don’t share their perspective. 😠 Children who struggle with anxiety care deeply which means they may bury what they consider negative emotions because they don’t feel they’re appropriate. Perfectionistic tendencies can lead to eating disorders or self-harm. Practical tips to help your child manage anxiety: 🤢 If your child struggles with anxiety causing vomiting or an upset stomach, speak to their teacher and let them know the student may need to exit suddenly. Seat them near the door and make sure they have a safe place to go like the nurses’ office. ⏱️ Some kids need to sit with their emotions longer than others. When you get frustrated that they aren’t moving faster, give them 10 more minutes. 🧏 Practice reflective listening to make sure your child feels heard and understood. ✨ Avoid telling your child there is hope. Instead, ask them where they feel there is hope. 🗣️ Ask “is there anything else you want to share about that?” If we fill in the gaps with our own words, our kids are less likely to share openly, especially adolescents. 🎧 When you’re in the car and want to ask your child questions, try turning on music to give them space so they don’t have to speak. Allow them time to decompress. 🐶 Pets can be good therapy for kids. Petting can be soothing but having someone who loves you unconditionally can do immeasurable good. Having something to talk to can help kids get what is on the inside to the outside. Resources mentioned: Are My Kids on TrackRaising Worry-Free Girls: Helping Your Daughter Feel Braver, Stronger, and Smarter in an Anxious WorldRaising Boys and Girls Instagram FREE empathetic listening printable Connect with Sissy: website | Instagram | Facebook | podcast You can find more resources about mental health, parenting, and coping with anxiety at MichelleNietert.com.  Please be sure to subscribe to the Raising Mentally Healthy Kids podcast on your favorite podcast player so you never miss an episode! And if this episode helped you we’d love it if you’d leave a review to help other parents find this resource. And don't forget to join the conversation about raising mentally healthy kids with Michelle on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter!
32:24 09/21/2021
Treating Your Child’s Diagnosed Eating Disorder with Ashley Ariail LPC, CEDS
In the last episode of my series with clinical therapist Ashley Ariail about understanding healthy eating and eating disorders, we’re discussing what happens after your child is diagnosed with an eating disorder and what’s typically involved in a treatment plan. Ashley also walks through different types of beneficial behavioral therapies and offers some practical questions and resources you can use to keep your child focused on their values for long-term success. Key points from our conversation: 🧬 Research is still being performed to determine if there is a genetic component to eating disorders, but we do know they can be mediated by environmental factors such as modeling appropriate eating habits and positive self-talk. 🩺 An eating disorder diagnosis rarely comes without an additional diagnosis of anxiety and/or depression. After your child has been diagnosed, their care team will include a doctor, counselor, and dietitian to address each condition. It’s not all about eating, it’s about mental health. 🧠 Treatment plans focus on control through various methods like cognitive behavioral therapy to reshape thoughts that aren’t rational or dialectical behavioral therapy to address mindfulness, intercommunication skills, distress tolerance, and emotional regulation. 🤝 If you’re the parent of a child with an eating disorder, externalizing the disorder can be helpful in recognizing it as an internal conflict, not a character issue. Focus on connective behaviors, not corrective. 👤 Kids with eating disorders often have an externalized identity instead of an internalized identity. ✝️ For treatment to have long-term success, you must replace the passion the person had for disordered eating with something else. Many people find spirituality or the belief in something bigger than themselves to be effective motivators. 🔎 Acceptance and commitment therapy involves determining your values and repeated assessment if your behaviors are aligned with those values. Resources mentioned:Children’s Health – Childhood Eating Disorders Treatment FREE empathetic listening printable Life without Ed Help Your Teenager Beat an Eating Disorder Skills Based Caring for a Loved One with an Eating Disorder The Secret Language of Eating Disorders 8 Keys to Recovering from an Eating Disorder You can find more resources about mental health, parenting, and coping with anxiety at MichelleNietert.com.  Please be sure to subscribe to the Raising Mentally Healthy Kids podcast on your favorite podcast player so you never miss an episode! And if this episode helped you we’d love it if you’d leave a review to help other parents find this resource. And don't forget to join the conversation about raising mentally healthy kids with Michelle on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter!
45:28 09/14/2021
What to Do if You Think Your Child has an Eating Disorder with Ashley Ariail LPC, CEDS
Have you noticed changes in your child’s behavior that have led you to believe they could be developing an eating disorder? In today’s episode, I’m continuing my conversation with clinical therapist Ashley Ariail about how we can approach our kids about unhealthy conduct, how to talk about our bodies without labels or judgment, and why it’s important to tackle the emotions behind eating disorders. Key points from our conversation: 🗣️ Talking about an eating disorder will not trigger an eating disorder in a child. Approach them in a non-accusatory way and be honest about the unhealthy behaviors you’ve noticed. They may need to be addressed by a health care professional. 😥 Children often become concerned about their weight after a comment from someone else. It’s important to first ask them how the comment made them feel. “Eating disorders are fueled by suppressed emotions, so you’ll never go wrong by going after the feeling with your kid.” 💕 Our bodies are not for judging. They are our Earth suits and they’re to be treated with kindness. Teach your child to focus on what the body does for them, what they’re grateful for, and how to take care of it. ✨ Be vulnerable with your kids about your own eating struggles and body image challenges while sharing what’s helped and what you’re working on. 🥦 Food is not good or bad, it’s fuel for our bodies. Variety and moderation are the keys to everything. Resources mentioned: Children’s Health – Childhood Eating Disorders Treatment Dietitian Anna Instagram FREE empathetic listening printable You can find more resources about mental health, parenting, and coping with anxiety at MichelleNietert.com.  Please be sure to subscribe to the Raising Mentally Healthy Kids podcast on your favorite podcast player so you never miss an episode! And if this episode helped you we’d love it if you’d leave a review to help other parents find this resource. And don't forget to join the conversation about raising mentally healthy kids with Michelle on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter!
25:09 09/07/2021
Understanding Healthy Eating and Eating Disorders with Ashley Ariail LPC, CEDS
Eating disorders are on the rise in the US as COVID has given kids more opportunities to spend time online. We know that social media impacts how we (especially girls) feel about our bodies, increasing anxiety and fueling eating disorders. In the first part of my conversation with clinical therapist Ashley Ariail, we’re discussing the different factors that can contribute to eating disorders, how you can identify if your kid is struggling with unhealthy eating behaviors, and advice about how to model appropriate behavior for your child. Key points from our conversation: 🍴 Negative body image isn’t always involved in an eating disorder, especially in kids under 10. It could be avoidant restrictive food intake disorder (ARFID) which is not driven by body or weight concerns. It could be they’ve had a bad experience with choking or allergies, GI complications, etc. ⬇️ There is no standard of average healthy weight loss per week. If you notice your child is losing weight rapidly, it’s important to focus on the how and why they’re losing rather than the number of pounds lost. ⭐ There are many factors that can contribute to eating disorders including genetics, personality and temperament, and social influences. Children that struggle with eating disorders are typically perfectionistic high achievers. 🏃‍♀️ Parents can help by being good students of their kids and making sure they’re getting their nutritional needs met despite their difficulties. It’s also important for parents to model healthy behaviors concerning food, exercise, and how they speak about their own bodies. 🍎 Research shows that because they’re based on rules, diets don’t work long term. Working with a dietitian can help you with your weight loss goal while modeling appropriate behavior. (It may even be covered by your insurance as preventative care.) Resources mentioned: Children’s Health – Childhood Eating Disorders Treatment The Encouraging Dietitian The Feel-Good Dietitian FREE empathetic listening printable You can find more resources about mental health, parenting, and coping with anxiety at MichelleNietert.com.  Please be sure to subscribe to the Raising Mentally Healthy Kids podcast on your favorite podcast player so you never miss an episode! And if this episode helped you we’d love it if you’d leave a review to help other parents find this resource. And don't forget to join the conversation about raising mentally healthy kids with Michelle on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter!
36:15 08/31/2021
Teaching Your Kids to Be Thought Detectives with Dr. Caroline Leaf
In the second half of my interview with Neuroscientist and Mental Health Expert Dr. Caroline Leaf, we’re continuing our discussion of how we can learn to retrain our brains by systematically managing our thoughts, feelings, and choices. In this episode we dig into how invalidating our kid’s feelings can affect their mental and physical health, different techniques for temporarily containing instead of repressing anxious thoughts, and Dr. Leaf breaks down her 5 Step NeuroCycle. Key points from our conversation: 💭 We need to be comfortable sitting with our thoughts. If you’re awake, you’re thinking. Those thoughts have feelings associated with them which led to choices. ♻️ Don’t suppress or invalidate your child’s feelings, instead let them know that feelings are helpful messengers that allow us to explore what’s going on and redesign the pattern. When emotions are suppressed, they recycle in the body and the mind. 🚫 There are no shortcuts to cleaning up your mental mess. It takes at least 63 days to create behavior change. 🧠 Your mind is either managed or unmanaged, but it never stops. 🔎 The first step to being a thought detective is to spot a pattern. Once you recognize it, accept it and prepare your brain for change through breathing and movement exercises that change your neurophysiology. 🧬 Dr. Leaf’s 5 Step NeuroCycle – gather, reflect, write, recheck, and active reach 📦 Neuroplasticity practices like the box and window techniques can provide a way to temporarily contain your anxious thoughts until you can calm down and process through the neurocycle.  Resources mentioned: Cleaning Up Your Mental Mess Neurocycle app Cleaning Up the Mental Mess Podcast FREE empathetic listening printable Connect with Caroline: website | Instagram | Facebook You can find more resources about mental health, parenting, and coping with anxiety at MichelleNietert.com.  Please be sure to subscribe to the Raising Mentally Healthy Kids podcast on your favorite podcast player so you never miss an episode! And if this episode helped you we’d love it if you’d leave a review to help other parents find this resource. And don't forget to join the conversation about raising mentally healthy kids with Michelle on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter!
31:45 08/24/2021
Retraining Your Brain with Dr. Caroline Leaf
Did you know that by managing your mind you can change your physical brain? In this episode, I’m speaking with Neuroscientist and Mental Health Expert Dr. Caroline Leaf about how understanding the difference between the mind, the brain, thoughts, and emotions as well as how they work with one another can help us realize the agency we have over our lives. Through her work specializing in cognitive and metacognitive neuropsychology, Dr. Leaf has developed a 5-step program to further demonstrate the effectiveness of mind-directed techniques to help relieve mental ill-health problems such as anxiety, depression, and intrusive thoughts. Key points from our conversation: 🧠 Your brain is a physical part of you; your mind is what drives you. It is your “aliveness”. It is the thing that generates energy through the brain itself giving us agency and a sense of control. ⛓️ In psychology, our mind is reflected through thinking, feeling, and choosing. They cannot be separated. 🤒 Every cell in the body is run by the mind. When we have a messy mind, we have a messy body which makes us vulnerable to illness. ⚠️ We need to look at mental health differently. Anxiety and depression are not illnesses. 100% of people battle with these feelings because they’re normal reactions to adversity in life. They provide a warning signal of an underlying cause. 🥺 We’ve become too focused on the brain and the body, but not the underlying cause in the mind. If we teach it’s okay to get anxious and depressed, that it’s a normal response, it helps identify the root cause. 🌳 Thoughts look like trees in the mind. Thoughts have root memories and branch memories. Root memories are what’s happening, the branches are the interpretation. 🔎 We need to recognize the emotional warning signal, be a thought detective and find the root of it, then uproot the thought by reconceptualizing how to best manage it. Resources mentioned: Cleaning Up Your Mental Mess Neurocycle app Cleaning Up the Mental Mess Podcast FREE empathetic listening printable Connect with Caroline: website | Instagram | Facebook You can find more resources about mental health, parenting, and coping with anxiety at MichelleNietert.com.  Please be sure to subscribe to the Raising Mentally Healthy Kids podcast on your favorite podcast player so you never miss an episode! And if this episode helped you we’d love it if you’d leave a review to help other parents find this resource. And don't forget to join the conversation about raising mentally healthy kids with Michelle on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter!
33:18 08/17/2021