Parenting children with mental health challenges can be isolating and lonely. On this podcast we will be meeting with therapists and other experts to provide resources and help with parenting kids with special needs. We will discuss subjects such as ADHD, Tourette syndrome, anxiety, depression, suicide prevention, IEP's, 504 plans.
071 Radical Self Compassion with Allie White
Women's empowerment, business and life coach Allie White shares beautiful perspective on life's challenges. Here are a few of her thoughts:
So much is piled on us that we attach our goodness too to measure internal worth. That’s not how it works.
When life gives us challenges it can be easy to take that worth and purpose that is finished the second we are born. You’ll never find you’re more important and as much worth any stage of the game.
If our parenting isn’t going perfectly we attach some not true things to us
If our purpose is just to be us, those things that pile on us, our purpose is to take those off. We don’t associate our identity with our accomplishments or our parenting
As parents one of our trickiest pieces is projection, projecting our insecurities onto our children and other peoples judgements of us
When we are in struggle its easy to focus on the gaps
Why are you the perfect parent for them? Why are they the perfect child for you?
I love you enough to learn your language. Let’s guide each other. I’m not here to fix you We don’t play all the roles for our kids
I'm Not attached to being the hero in your story, I’m attached to my child being the hero in their own story.
"I just chipped away at what wasn't David." Michelangelo
You have things within you that are perfect for those kids you are leading because you have the opportunity to see underneath all that marble and see those things that aren’t them, that life piles onto them. You’re not all that other stuff piled on
When life says to you, there is literally nothing you can do to control this. Nothing negligent occurred, it’s just what happened.
Sometimes when we overlook its because we are too dang tired or are in trauma and are in fight or flight and we are truly doing the best we can do.
Where does the choice fall. Base it on your value systems.
Do I want to have post traumatic stress or growth.
Every piece of pain we go through can become an ally. Can become a piece of our story, compassion, personal acceptance, understanding of what others go through.
I don’t know one single person who sustains healthy growth because they were beaten there.
STaying in stress frequency, is rooted in guilt and shame. I need to protect and prevent and fix everything.
Threats coming at our kids daily, getting wounded daily.
How I want to orient myself is not fighting darkness I want to orient myself by facing and seeking light. You will see two different worlds.
If we are seeing, we live in a time where we have more threats, darkness, issues.
There is the opposite, there is more light, strength and love in the world than there has ever been. That’s where I want to approach it.
As heavy as things are, never have there been more resources.
We have more strong, resilient, more savvy, more capable young people. They are perfectly equipped for their lives, they are powerhouse beings.
How do we focus on that strength?
Focus our home on that light, on that goodness. Orient our homes to solutions, not problems.
I want my home to be the safest space for my children to fail.
What a gift to give our kids a safe space to fail.
You are in the best time to parent that kiddo and there’s never been more resources or a tribe to find support.
YOU'RE CRUSHING IT PARENTS!!
You are built for what you have been called to build. These kids are yours. You are not in accidental surroundings. If you picked epic, you’re built for it.
Come home to yourself.
070 Healthcare concerns with Duane Cardall
This episode is very personal, June 9, 2009 my brother in law Brian Cardall was killed by police due to mental illness. Today June 9, 2022 I share his story on the podcast.
My father in law Duane Cardall is my guest and shares more about Brian and his life, about his illness and details about his death. Duane also shares the contrast in care he observed between two sons. Duane's oldest son Paul was born with a severe congenital heart defect and has had multiple complex open heart surgeries and has always had world class care. Brian started to show symptoms of severe mental illness in college and it was so difficult to find even adequate care for him when he was in crisis. He was often held at the hospital for 48-72 hours, given medication and wished good luck. The inadequacy of the mental health care system is something that absolutely should be addressed and fixed.
The stigma surrounding mental illness is still so prevalent and speaking up and speaking out about is one way to lessen the stigma and let people know they aren't alone.
Read more about Brian's death
LGBTQ, pride, love, empathy, support
How can we support and love our LGBTQ+ family members, neighbors, church goers, students etc? In this episode I chat with Allison Dayton the founder of the organization Lift&Love and the mother of a gay son and a sister of a gay brother about how to love others better.
When we get to know people's hearts, it changes where we focus our energy. When we see the actual people and don't get caught up in the extremism and political banter it changes our energy and we can focus on that person we know and love.
Be careful who you hate, it could be someone that you love. Careful what you say about political issues, about pride month, about the LGBTQ+ "agenda" because it could be greatly affecting someone you love who hasn't come out yet. I promise you they will remember and it may damage them and your relationship...and if they don't remember it, their mama will!
We don't give up anything in our values to just love people. We may have different beliefs and recognize they live differently than we do but we can really want good, loving and awesome things to happen in their life.
We can say things like, "This is a tricky, complicated thing, how can I support you?" Ask how their child is doing in school, how is their mental health? We can speak up and not be silent, we can let people know they are seen and valued.
When Allison's son came out one of her brothers in law said, "I don't know what supportive means, but I'm going to learn!"
Little acts of kindness make a huge difference for people. Flying a rainbow flag or wearing a pin is not pushing an agenda, but is acknowledging there are people out there who need to see support, who live differently than we do and we want them to know they are loved and that we are a safe space. It's no different than tying a yellow ribbon around a tree or flying your college football team flag on a Saturday afternoon.
We all will be touched by someone we love being in the LGBTQ+ community. It is one of the greatest opportunities of a lifetime to grow in unconditional love for others.
068 What Happens When Life Comes Crashing Down with Dr. Christina Hibbert
Dr. Christina Hibbert clinical psychologist/therapist, shares her life experiences with us in this episode. She has suffered multiple traumas in her own life including loss by suicide, adopting her sisters children, a breast cancer diagnosis which came with multiple surgeries, infections, hospital stays and life threatening complications. In her social media she has been so open and real with her struggles, her emotions and her triumphs.
In this episode she shares:
Give yourself permission to be angry. You have to freely feel the emotions to move through it.
It feels so good when people acknowledge us and validate the trauma we are going through.
Her formula for our mental health:
Life experiences + hormones+brain chemistry =mental health
When there are shifts in our life changes or brain chemistry or both, it won't go back to where we were. Its' helpful to understand that life circumstances, aging, hormones, trauma etc. change our brain chemistry.
Dr. Hibbert is a believer in self worth over self esteem. Our self worth never changes, our self esteem can ebb and flow with circumstances, relationships etc. Tune into who we really are and let your experiences change us into who we are and who we are meant to be.
When we are hurting, grieving, going through trauma etc, stop and give yourself compassion. Give yourself love and grace. Put a hand on your belly and other on your heart. Be kind to ourselves, give yourself what you desperately need.
Reach out for help, it is hard to work through on your own and extra support can be essential. People that refuse to go to therapy may have the biggest problems because they refuse to look for answers and support.
067 What We Wish People Knew
May is mental health awareness month. I wanted to feature families who are in the trenches with it so I asked for input from hundreds of families and these are the responses they gave me
From a meme I saw on Instagram:
“Back in my day they didnt have all this autism and ADHD and anxiety and stuff.
I think what you mean is that people used to go undiagnosed and get absolutely no help and were forced to suffer through their lives because they had zero support or understanding.”
Mental illness isn’t trendy, it isn’t “contagious”. It is being diagnosed more because we know more, we have better education about mental health, we have better diagnostic tools now. We also live in a society that is anxiety inducing, we’ve lived through a two year pandemic, we have a toxic political culture, we have regular school shootings, our kids have technology and social media and pornography in their hands.
What I want people to know is that this is hands down the hardest most soul crushing thing I have ever done. I NEVER thought this would be our life. My motherhood journey. We didn’t CHOOSE this…AND this journey, these experiences, this CHILD is a gift, a blessing. I would love to take the pain away from my child, for our family, but I would never choose to change who he is. There’s too much GOOD there. There’s too much MAGIC. I guess what I want people to know is that it gets to be both. The pain and the pleasure. The anguish and the MAGIC. It’s messy and I wouldn’t change it, because if I did, Id have to change my brilliant child.
I wish people knew how isolating and lonely it is.
Ask me questions, believe me when I say my kids has OCD. I’m not every exaggerating, I know my kids.
Dont act like its a dirty little secret.
Stop blaming our struggles on our parenting.
Some things I wish people understood: how lonely it can feel, how hard it is to watch a child struggling and how it depletes you physically and emotionally, how expensive quality professional help is & the strain that can cause. Positives: I have cultivated friendships with other moms in the trenches. I love these women & feel safe with them. I have developed compassion, empathy and am less judgmental now. I’ve learned to trust God and surrender faster.
I think that it helps when I find others are battling the same things. Because it is so challenging that it feels better when you can look and see others struggle with this challenge too.
I wish they knew that that judging and pitying and gossiping about mental illnesses further compound the problem.
Hopefully my saying this doesn’t make me sound heartless but here goes. We have been struggling for years with my brothers mental illness and have helped him over and over and over when he has been very mean. He refuses to get any help or get on any meds. There came a point a couple years ago when I feared for my family’s safety because of him becoming violent. That was when we had to say I’m sorry you are struggling but we will not have you in our lives anymore unless you admit something is wrong and get the help you need. It has been a very heartbreaking situation and many many tears shed but I had to put my childrens & my moms safety first. Mental illness is SO hard. It’s a constant struggle every day to choose to get up and keep going through the motions even when you don’t want to and working toward those days when it’s not so hard to get out of bed each morning.
We live in a world today where we are quick to label everything as toxic. We are praised for cutting it out to better our mental health. And I want to challenge that. So many of us that struggle with mental illnesses are cut off from support and loved ones because they label us as toxic. What I wish people knew is that we aren’t. For most of us, we are trying, we are striving to be our best selves, we have good days and bad days like everyone else. They are just more intense. How aw
066 The impact on mothers of raising a child on the autism spectrum with Dakin Stovall
In this episode I interview Dakin Stovall who is a research psychology PhD student at BYU about her research on the impact of autism on families and on mothers specifically. Here is some of her findings. If you aren’t raising an autistic child, you probably have a friend who is.
o 1/44 by age 8 new CDC estimates from Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring (ADDM) Network https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/autism/data.html
o You’ve probably seen a mom wrestle a kid at the grocery store, maybe you thought, “Why can’t she handle her child?” and I hope after this interview you might think with compassion, “Raising a neurodiverse child doesn’t come with a manual. It comes with a mother who never gives up.
o Parents of ASD kids experience significantly more stress when compared to parents of typically developing children (Lai et al., 2015; Pisula, 2007)
§ and even when compared to parents of children with other disabilities (Dabrowska & Pisula, 2010). Down syndrome
§ researchers followed moms of adolescents with ASD for 8 days, found stress levels similar to combat veterans (measured hormone). (Seltzer, Greenberg, Stawski, 2010), 2x tired, 3x experienced stressful event
o Mothers of children with ASD report greater stress than fathers.
o depression diagnosis more likely (Cohrs & Leslie, 2017).
o Rates of parental depression further increase when there is more than one autistic child in a family (ASD runs like a river through families).
o Negative emotion is more common in depressed parents, minimizing positive responses to children, straining the parent-child relationship (Shaw et al., 2006).
o autistic child is directly affected by the strain,
o research shift toward prevention measures to aid parents rearing ASD children.
o it is critical that parents have the strategies needed to first care for themselves
§ if mom isn’t ok, no one is ok
o parents need skills to improve relationship with their chil
Emotional Intelligence/competence – your emotion, others, regulation
§ “The moment we realize that how we react to our kid’s behavior has more to do with how we’re feeling than what our kids are doing, is the moment we understand that our main job as parents must be to keep ourselves emotionally healthy.”
§ Gottman (PMEP), explained that parents’ own feelings about their personal emotions guide the ways in which they parent.
· Emotion dismissing (not attending to emotion, ex: child comes home from school and throws his backpack on the island and mumbles something under his breath, you don’t look up from your phone, bc you’re reading an article and he walks into the next room) vs emotion coaching (30% = successful) (You notice the throw, you hear the mumble and recognize this could be an opportunity to connect with your child about his day. You ask about child’s day, listening, offer empathy.
o reflective parents provide favorable responses to child emotion.
Tuning Into kids 5 steps:
o Notice emotions – rumbling volcano o Recognize emotion as opportunities to connect
o Label emotion
o Empathy and understanding
o Set limits, Problem solving
BYU has a Facebook group for parents of kids on the spectrum that anyone is welcome to join. Link below
BYU autism behavior lab
See if you qualify for the latest study on kids on the spectrum and the impact on families.
look at the research opportunities
Cheryl is one good mother!
I feel like I know her. After following on IG, reading her deeply moving posts about her own family and struggles. Her podcast is an extension of her and it comes through with every word in every episode!
Lives up to the name!
Cheryl and all her guests know how to advocate for their kids and love them no matter what. Her passion is contagious. Raising teenagers is full of challenges and so much joy and I love how this podcast makes room for both.
Helpful and authentic