I am so excited for you guys to hear this episode! I was pumped when Janessa reached out to me and said she was willing to share her experience as a therapist, as well as coping skills and strategies for so many situations in life. Janessa also shared about her own loss and what grief was like for her.* This is one to take notes on!
When Janessa was in College, she had started dating a guy and unfortunately, he was in a car accident and did not survive. She shares about how they were fighting before and all the should have, could have, would haves. It was her first real loss. The first time she had ever got “the call.”
We talk about sand tray therapy and how kids in broken families have to adjust to going back and forth to each parent’s home. We talk about what to say and how to prep the child to leave each time. We talk about dating and the emotional build up that comes along with that. Many things that we don’t even realize are affecting us.
On Instagram, someone asked to know what mental illness warning signs in kids to watch for. A big thing is behavior. Janessa suggests you be in contact with your child’s teacher at school (or daycare or wherever your child is spending a lot of time) because your child is going to act different at school than they do in front of you, at home. Watch for changes in things they usually like to do and then suddenly don’t anymore. Bed wetting is a huge sign of trauma or any other sort of regression – not eating as much or overeating, not sleeping much or sleeping all the time. Be consistent as a parent and make sure to FOLLOW THROUGH!!! When things happen, notice them. Be aware and alert. Self-care is just as important for kids as it is for adults. Your kids will pick up on your behaviors and tendencies. Teach your child how to practice self-care and how to work through their problems. You can also take your child in to see a therapist for an evaluation. You can go just one time to see if you can figure out what’s up and try to work through it on your own – or maybe they are just being a typical child.
To help reduce anxiety, practice your breathing skills. Feel yourself tense up, then feel yourself relax. This can help you figure out your triggers. Focus on what is in front of you right now. Go to the safe place in your mind – the place you feel the safest and calmest. Calm your body down and your mind will follow.
Be open with your children (age appropriate, of course). Think about the way you react to the little things.. If you react so negatively to something that really is no big deal and the child sees/understands that, imagine when something really bad happens. Do you think your child will want to come to you? No, because they saw how mad you got when you drew on the wall and this time the situation is way worse than that. It’s okay to not respond right away. If you need to send the child (or spouse or sibling or whomever) to their room so that you can cool down, otherwise you’re going to punch their lights out, that’s okay! Address the situation when you have a clear mind. But make sure you do address the problem – in any situation. Don’t just slip it under the rug.
Simple things such as bed wetting, not wanting to take a bath, not wanting to wash certain parts of the body or excessively washing certain parts of the body all can be signs of sexual abuse.
Listen to the full episode for all of the amazing tips and skills Janessa shares.
*Please note: this is the guest’s story. Their story is how they perceive it. It is not my judgement or responsibility to determine whether or not this story and the things said are true. Please be open minded when listening to/reading these stories.
KEY TAKEAWAYS FROM THIS EPISODE:
-You’re all resilient! “Resiliency is such an amazing thing that a lot of people, I think, don’t realize that they have until they go through something hard.”
-Children’s frontal lobes are not fully developed, so the way they respond is usually emotional, instead of rational.
-Therapy is for everyone. Even if you think you’re fine. 😉
-WATCH GREY’S ANATOMY!!!!!
-If there is something you need to say, say it because you never know when that person may not be there anymore to hear it.}
-Taking medication is okay. I love the example she used.. “If your doctor told you that you need to take this pill every day or else your heart will stop, you would take the pill every day. So if your body is depleted of some kind of hormone causing your happiness or not happiness, why would you not take that pill?”
-Emotions and mental health stuff is unique to each person. Not everything works the same for everyone. Everyone reacts differently.
-Promises with children are hard because you never know what is going to happen the future. Give them realistic hope instead.
-If your children are in a split home, it is absolutely critical to not talk badly about the other parent in front of the child. All this does is make the child anxious and will likely lead to some hatred and other potentially serious mental problems in the future.
-It’s okay to not know all the answers to your child’s questions.
-Being consistent and following through as a parent is HUGE! If you do not follow through with your child, they will NEVER learn the lesson. (Obviously, you can tell I am passionate about this. ;)) If you say you are going to take their phone away, TAKE IT AWAY! If you are going to say “you’re grounded if you do XYZ” and then the child does XYZ, GROUND THEM! By not following through, you as a parent, create HUGE problems for their future. Same goes for a reward.. If you say “if you get 100% on your spelling test, I will buy you an ice cream,” BUY THE ICE CREAM!
-Be realistic. This is something mentioned already, but telling your child “if you don’t eat your dinner, then we are never going to do XYZ again,” that is not realistic because chances are you will do XYZ again.
-Always trust your gut!
-Too much of anything is not a good thing.
LINKS TO THINGS MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE:
–Episode 2, Emilie Farrer
–Episode 6, Shailee Garnier on grief
–Picture book for your child to take when they go somewhere without you (click this link to get a free 8×8 photo book)
-Decorated hand for when the child needs to feel close to you
–Maslow’s hierarchy of needs
–Weighted blanket (helps with anxiety)
–Episode 4 with JaKale Park
–Adult coloring books
–The 5 Love Languages Book – Relationship, Children, For Men
–Love Languages quiz
–“I Wish You Bad Luck” commencement speech
-Janessa’s favorite author: Brene Brown
-Janessa’s song recommendations: Head Above Water by Avril Lavigne and Good Vibes by Chris Janson (listen on the Hard Knocks guest playlist on Spotify)
–My solo episode for June (episode 12)
-Ending song: Don’t Ever Let It End by Nickelback (listen on the Hard Knocks playlist on Spotify)
“When something feels off, it is.” – Abraham Hicks
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