Your Child’s Mental Health Matters

Growing up Black, children didn’t have permission to have issues. We weren’t allowed to be stressed because how could a child possibly be stressed? We didn’t have to go to a 9-5 everyday, pay bills or support a family. Our “little” struggles in no way compared to what the adults were experiencing.

Growing up, the mental struggles of children were often minimized and dismissed based on the beliefs that they weren’t that serious. The minimizing of my struggles led to my first suicide attempt in 1996. Now, at that time having kids weren’t in the cards for me but once I became parent I vowed to always listen and take into consideration what my children expressed. I vowed to pay attention to the things they said and the things they didn’t say.

As cliche as it sounds, a mother always knows. God gave us a special kind of intuition that allows us to see into the souls of our children. I’ve talked about listening with your heart in a previous blog.

Fact, kids go through things and while they may seem insignificant to you, it’s a big deal to them. In my 40 plus years here on Earth, I’ve learned that we don’t get to tell people how to feel. As adults we’ve developed skills that help us to deal with issues, children are still in the molding stage.

Recently I started doing weekly mental check-ins in our family group chat. I simply text, “Mental health check-in! How y’all doing?” I give them the option of texting me individually in the event that they don’t want to share with everyone.

A few weeks ago my son expressed how school was stressing him out and how life was hard for him in the moment. He felt like he needed a mental health day, which I allowed him. Now, in addition to allowing your children moments to decompress, teaching them how to successfully deal with adversity is even more important. Life ain’t always pretty, and they have to be strong enough to deal with the not so great moments.

I had a conversation with someone recently about today’s generation of children and their inability to deal with hard situations. Can we blame them? I at times feel like we who were raised by “old school” parents have handicapped our children emotionally by trying to NOT be as hard on them as our parents were on us. Well let me speak for myself, I know I’m guilty.

Providing them a safe space that supports their mental health is important. Not making the topic taboo or linking mental health and crazy together is also important. Teaching them to talk about what they’re dealing with while you listen without judgment. The other piece of this is teaching them how to deal with problems and issues. Helping them to understand that life won’t always be favorable.

Here are three easy ways you can help your children with their mental health:

  • Have a conversation about the importance of mental health
  • Weekly check-ins or however often you feel is appropriate.
  • Incorporation of therapy if necessary.

I hope that this helps you to start healthy conversations with your children about their mental health!

Until next time…🦋

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Planting Seeds In Children

What’s growing from the seeds you’ve planted in your children?

I’ve said many times on the blog that parenting is one of the most difficult yet rewarding jobs you’ll ever be blessed to have.

When planting seeds in the literal sense, once the seed is planted, it takes root. Once it takes root, it begins to grow. This same process applies to the seeds we plant in our children. How conscious are you of the seeds you’re planting? With your words, your actions and your reactions.

Have you ever said to your child, “I don’t want you to be like me, I want you to be better than me”. While I understand the intent behind this statement, what are you really saying?

Are we planting seeds of doubt by speaking about the things that we feel incapable of doing? Are we planting seeds of fear based on our own fears?

Children arrive here with a blank slates. They don’t think Brussels sprouts are nasty or roller coasters are scary. We teach, program and plant seeds. So much of what they do is learned behavior. Something as simple as food. Parents, have you ever said that something was nasty and your child followed suit? Sometimes without taking a bite. Now, 20 years later they don’t eat that particular item because they believe it’s nasty. That’s how it works, it’s that easy!

So what if we chose to plant seeds like courageousness, Faith, boldness, bravery, adventure and hope instead? Imagine what they could do!

I as a parent have planted some not so good seeds, but I’ve consciously made an effort to point them out and make corrections. That’s the beautiful thing about children, they’re pliable; teachable.

Until next time…🦋

Blending Families 

 

Y’all, I have tried making this topic a YouTube video and it just hasn’t worked out. Most recent attempt, my mic wasn’t working and the entire video was muted, so that means, you get a blog!

Let’s talk blended families! 

First, what is a blended family? “A family consisting of a couple and their children from this and all previous relationships.”

In 2019, if you’re dating, you’re most likely dating someone with children or you have children yourself. When I entered the dating world some 14 years ago, I was a single mother of 4. Whom ever I chose to become involved with automatically put me in the Blended Family category. 

When you choose to involve yourself with someone that has children, you not only say yes to them, you say yes to their children. And depending on the relationship between them and their ex and you and yours, that also comes with it. It’s truly s package deal. 

Through my own experience I’ve noted several things you should talk about before blending families. 

  1. How you parent This one is so important. This conversation did not happen prior to my blending family experience and has been the biggest source of contention in my household. This discussion is mandatory. Also, just because they don’t parent like you doesn’t make the way you parent wrong and vice versa. There is a way to come to a happy medium, and if there isn’t, keep it pushing. 
  2. Household rules – equally important as #1. Will there be chores? Will chores be equally distributed? Is there an expectation based on age? Will there be bedtimes? 
  3. Talk to your children separately and as a unit. You owe it to your children to allow them the opportunity to express their point of view, to see how they feel about moving in with other people. Having a conversation as a family. This is to discuss expectations, get out any concerns and address them on day 1, not years down the line. 
  4. Discuss how you manage money. I have seen finances ruin a lot of families! How you manage your finances is huge! Spending habits. Savings goals. Joint accounts. Allowances. Investments. Retirement. Managing finances is a joint effort. Even if the two adults involved decide not to commingle their money, a discussion still needs to be had to ensure that all parties involved meet the expectations set.
  5. Dealing with children who don’t like you. Whew child, I could write a book on this one! My introduction into this one was rough! The key is patience. Understanding that it’s new for everyone. Most times the dislike has nothing to do with you and everything to do with not being able to process you now being with their parent and changing the dynamics of what they’ve known their whole lives. I can assure you that it will get better, my situation is proof!
  6. Communication styles. How you communicate in general. How you communicate during disagreements? Do you speak up or do you remain silent and blow up later? You owe it to yourselves to establish open lines of communication from the very beginning. 
  7. Respecting the new life you chose. Understand that this new life will look different from what you’re accustomed to. The size of the house will change. The noise level may increase. Finances will look different. Bills will increase. Privacy may decrease. Bottom line, things will change and you’ll have to adjust accordingly. Your outlook on these changes will determine your level of happiness. 

These are a few things to start with if you’re thinking about blending families. Don’t be so blinded by love that you forget to build a rock solid foundation with these basics. If this blog helped you, or you feel that it can help someone else, please share! Are you in a blended family? What was your experience? Share it the comments!

Until next time…🦋