Teaching a class of 25-plus kids requires some uniformity and consistency in expectations for the day to run smoothly. Why then, are people advocating for “parent’s choice” when it comes to school mask mandates?Read the full column linked below
So many things in the press recently have come with a mental health cry for our children. Mask mandates, Critical Race Theory, Transgender rights… “Our poor children.”
In this back-to-school mental heath series I take a look at what the mental health issues of back-to-school really are, with the help of a few mental health experts along the way. Below, is the result. Both in a 50-minute podcast and four short columns. I hope you’ll listen, read and share.
Dr. Dan talks to award-winning columnist Bonnie Jean Feldkamp about her new three part Back To School series which focuses on therapy, mental wellness, parenting mistakes, adolescent milestones, masks, and more. Bonnie passionately believes that prioritizing mental health is even more important than other Back To School essentials like backpacks, new sneakers, and haircuts.
Read the Back-to-School Mental Health Columns
Unmasking Support for Mental Health in School
If you are pro-mental health of kids or pro-suicide prevention, then you should consider supporting policies that benefit youth mental health across the board.
Mental Health Matters More Than Adolescent Milestones
Though I didn’t have a pandemic to contend with, I saw my bright, talented kid struggling and wanted the best for her. But taking a “timeout” for mental health seemed like it would just add to her hardships down the road.
Therapy Is a Valuable Parenting Resource
Vulnerability requires courage, and parents should cultivate trust and create a safe space for their children to be vulnerable in both good and challenging times. Creating emotional equity in regular conversations that prioritizes mental health and normalizes talking about our feelings will help diffuse some of the shame that society has attached to psychological wellness.
Making Peace with Parenting Mistakes
I love my children, but love doesn’t make anyone perfect. I know my intentions, but I also know that I still don’t agree with every choice my parents made for me. My goal was to do better than my parents, but it turns out I’m not any better; I’m just different. Now that I’m older and have children of my own, I do understand more, but I’m also trying to understand it from both ends.
This is my bonus column for the back-to-school mental health series.
If you missed the first column read it here: Unmasking Support for Mental Health in School,
The Second one is here: Mental Health Matters More Than Adolescent Milestones
The Third one is here: Therapy Is a Valuable Parenting Resource
This week’s column is linked below.
“Conversations with my daughter revealed that she feels some of my parenting choices have even caused her lasting damage. I love my children, but love doesn’t make anyone perfect. I know my intentions, but I also know that I still don’t agree with every choice my parents made for me. My goal was to do better than my parents, but it turns out I’m not any better; I’m just different. Now that I’m older and have children of my own, I do understand more, but I’m also trying to understand it from both ends.”
This is the third column in a back-to-school mental health series. If you missed the first two you can read them here:
Unmasking Support for Mental Health in School.
Mental Health Matters More Than Adolescent Milestones
The third column is linked below.
“Vulnerability requires courage, and parents should cultivate trust and create a safe space for their children to be vulnerable in both good and challenging times. Creating emotional equity in regular conversations that prioritizes mental health and normalizes talking about our feelings will help diffuse some of the shame that society has attached to psychological wellness.”
My Grandpa Lou was my dad’s stepdad and the only grandpa on my father’s side I ever knew. Once, on a visit with him, I lamented that I would have to take a typing class in the fall. I was 15 and entering my sophomore year of high school. We sat at a picnic table in a park and watched my younger cousins run and play. Grandpa assured me that learning how to type would be a vital skill for me as I entered the job market. I was offended. It was 1990 and I was certain he meant that I was destined to be someone’s secretary. Had he not seen me playing my guitar on his front porch that very morning? I was to be a musician. I loved to write, too, and I would surely journal about his expectations of me later. It would seem we were both full of assumptions.
I would learn way too late to tell him that I was wrong.
Read the whole column by clicking below.
“I did not attend my high school graduation. My family had a lot on its shoulders. My dad and stepmom were going through a divorce. I was told the Friday before my senior prom that it was over.
Graduation photos are all over my social media feed, and even The New York Times featured prom photos on their front page. High school graduation is no doubt a rite of passage and a major transition in life. But there was no point in pomp and circumstance for me. It would seem my future was not so bright anyways. I was a horrible student. Don’t get me wrong, I loved to learn, I just didn’t learn well in a classroom. For others, college would be the next logical step, but I barely had the grades to graduate high school.
I clung to the words of Chuck Keller, my junior year English teacher. He had told me, “Your success in high school does not determine your success in life.”
Read the full column by clicking below
Mother’s Day means I can put flowers in the ground without fear of frost. It’s the commercial name given to my annual ok-to-plant day. It’s time for warmth and new growth. Any other reason to honor the day has been determined by someone else. Consumers are expected to spend $21.2 billion dollars in honor of Mother’s Day this year and I wonder if my plants are included in that total.
When I was seven I lost my mother to a car accident. It happened in February and I still had to make a Mother’s Day craft with the rest of my second-grade class in May. I was told she would still see it in heaven. That set the tone for the rest of my school days. Whether it was a craft to make or a poem to write, the day served only to twist the knife for what I didn’t have. I was the minority along with foster children and others who have lost. We are the ones you can’t plan around because then the majority suffers.
My Dad remarried when I was eight. I got a stepmother. I love her very much. But that only made this Mother’s Day thing more confusing. Other children of blended families must have felt the same way. A stepparent in the mix is certainly more common than the death of a parent. Am I supposed to celebrate her on this day? I wondered. Do I give her my homemade gift? If I do, am I betraying my other mom? It was a hard enough struggle to try and understand how I could love my stepmother and all of the opportunities that she brought to my life. It made me feel that if I appreciated my stepmother then somehow that meant that I was glad that my birth mother was gone. This prompted me to grieve my birth mother even more. I had to know that I still loved and missed her and in my adolescent head that meant that I must actively mourn her. Otherwise I’ve just forgotten about her, right?
As an adult I’ve wrapped my brain around it a little better. I understand that I am allowed to love them both. Now, I am a mother. I am both a bio-mom and a stepmom in a blended family. We’re a miss-matched perfect set of genetics and love on our second-time-around.
We don’t celebrate Mother’s or Father’s day. Knowing the stress it put on me as a child, the last thing I want to do is make my kids feel as if they are obligated on this specific day to honor me, analyze my title and place me in some pre-determined category. Who I am and what I mean to my children is as individual as they are. No. On Mother’s day we plant. We put flowers in dirt and let the commercial expectations of maternal celebrations pass us by. In mid-May there’s no danger of frost on the ground or in our hearts.