Therapy Is a Valuable Parenting Resource

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.”

Read more from Bonnie Jean HERE and HERE.

Mental Health Matters More Than Adolescent Milestones

This is the second of three columns in a back-to-school mental health series. If you missed the first one read it here: Unmasking Support for Mental Health in School.
The second column is linked below.

“My daughter was a good student with a part-time job and friends in the marching band. I knew she didn’t like school, but what choice did we have? We had to get her through it. She cried each day on the drive to school. I hounded her about personal hygiene and tried to understand what was going on, but I just didn’t. I’ve never experienced depression, and because of that, I didn’t recognize when she was in mental health trouble.”

Read more from Bonnie Jean HERE and HERE.

Unmasking Support for Mental Health in School

Ezra showing off his Fiona Mask from the Cincinnati Zoo

This is the first of three columns in a back-to-school mental health series.

“Mask debates have returned to school board meetings. Many districts are mandating masks for everyone in the classroom, prompting the mental health cry of “these poor children” all over social media.”

Read the full column at the link below

Read the second in the series at the link below

Read more from Bonnie Jean HERE and HERE.

Is Your Car Childproof?

My newborn son asleep in the car

Parents are busy. New parents especially are stressed and exhausted. It takes its toll. You must understand how ridiculous it sounds to the parents when they have to answer to the authorities. They had just made the ultimate mistake, and all they could come up with is the horrific utterance, “I forgot.”



Read more columns from Bonnie Jean HERE and HERE


Abortion and the Catholic Currency of Shame

“Though I appreciated that particular priest, I no longer consider myself Catholic. The recent meeting of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops is a great example as to why. The bishops voted to draft guidelines for receiving the Eucharist with the goal of ultimately preventing lawmakers, including President Joe Biden, from receiving Communion if they supported a woman’s right to choose. Catholic leaders are exerting their power through public shame, hoping to influence decisions of our supposedly secular legislature.

“It is the same powerplay that Catholic bishops in New York state exhibited in1967 that resulted in something unexpected from their religious peers. It’s a nugget of little-known history that would serve Catholics a great reminder.”

Read the full column at the link below

Read more from Bonnie Jean HERE and HERE

Love, Loss and Pandemic Puppies

Bella in 2019

My daughter got Bella at her dad’s house shortly after the divorce. My ex even called the sweet yellow lab “the divorce dog.” Visits with dad also meant time with Bella, which was great when my daughter was 8 years old, but the teen years brought work, band practice and a social life. Visitation with dad became more sporadic. Then, my ex asked if we would dog sit. Bella was a senior dog by then, and we were all smitten. We asked if we could just keep her. He said yes.

Bella and I bonded in a way I hadn’t anticipated. I worked from home, and she was my constant companion. My daughter grew up and moved to an apartment of her own, but Bella stayed with me.

COVID-19 brought with it a puppy boom as people sought comfort and companionship during quarantine and isolation — but for me, Bella was there. We took walks in the woods and played in the yard with my son. Our circle got smaller as the pandemic began to rage. Schools closed, my husband was furloughed, and then, just as everything shut down, we had to say goodbye to Bella. That stacking of hardships is known as collective — or cumulative — grief, and I wasn’t sure I could take it.

Read the full column at the link below


Read more from Bonnie Jean HERE and HERE.

For Father’s Day, I Wish I Could Tell Grandpa He Was Right

Grandpa Lou retired in 1990 at the age of 70. That same year, he tried to impart some wisdom on his rebellious granddaughter who was begrudgingly headed into a typing class.

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.


Read more from Bonnie HERE and HERE


Every Path Is Valid

“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


The Privilege to Push Against Progress

Two supporters help up a banner at the back of the auditorium to show their support for the proposed social equity course.

critical race theory

“I recently moved back to my hometown of Fort Thomas, Kentucky, located just across the river from Cincinnati, Ohio. I promised my husband, who’s Hispanic, that it is more progressive and more diverse than when I was growing up. I also sold him on the fact that it is one of the top school districts in the state. But, as I sat in a community meeting in our local high school auditorium and listened to my fellow community members make public statements about a proposed elective course on social equity, I worried that I was wrong.

Many of the comments at the microphone were in favor of teaching social equity. Some shared a personal story to illustrate why it’s important to them. But those who spoke out against the course hammered home the same sound bite that’s been echoing across the country as states seek to ban critical race theory (CRT) from public education.”

Read the full column at the link below.

Read More of Bonnie’s work HERE and HERE.

What’d I Miss?

Where Chronic Illness and Mental Health Intersect

Life doesn’t happen inside neat little schedules. Plus, my zest for life doesn’t quite match the illness’s demand that I slow down.

Click Below to Read the Full Column

Read More From Bonnie HERE and HERE