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.”
“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.”
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This year, Mother’s Day is especially painful. Thanks to COVID-19, we have lost loved ones at an alarming rate. So, if this Mother’s Day is hard for you for the first time, I’m here to tell you it’s OK to sit this one out. It’s OK to say no to this holiday that feels like everyone is celebrating “at” you.
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“They’ll understand when they’re older.” It’s meant to be comforting: When our kids are parents struggling to do the right thing, they’ll realize how tough it all is. But the part no one tells you is that just because they may one day understand that you did the best you could, that doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll agree with your decisions.
A lot of recent conversations with my 19-year-old daughter have revolved around parenting decisions I made in her childhood that she disagrees with. She feels some have even caused lasting damage. Ouch. That hurts. I love my children, but love doesn’t make anyone a perfect parent. We’re all still human, just doing the best we can. I know my intentions, but I also know that I still don’t agree with every parenting decision my parents made. My goal was to be better than my parents, but I’m not any better—I’m just different.
Read what learned from the experts in my latest column below:
Read more of my work on child development and parenting
Whether we’re quarantined or not, spring is here. We could all use a little more wellness in our lives, and gardening may just be the answer for you and your teen. As an adult, my garden is my happy place.The seeds of this love were planted as a child. I call it “dirt church” now and, it turns out, there’s some science to it. When gardening, you can foster mental health with gardening.
My love of gardening led me to a pediatric psychiatrist Dr. Rameshwari V. Tumuluru, in Pittsburgh who developed a wellness garden for her hospitalized patients. I know gardening helps me cope. She helped me apply mindfulness concepts to gardening in quarantine with teens.
I also interviewed Scott Beuerlein, the Manager of Botanical Garden Outreach, and Shasta Bray, the Manager of Interpretive Exhibits, Visitor Research, Conservation Communications & Fun both with the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden. They provide practical advice for starting small and emphasized that every litte bit helps our environment.
Green space and flowers for pollinators have become scarce in some urban and suburban areas, the value of grass and roadside weeds to the birds and bees is minimal. Even a potted flower on the balcony provides an option that wasn’t there before and the pollinators will find you.
Think of the bird who finds a boat and stops to rest on its trip across an ocean. That’s what your garden provides for pollinators. Your garden, or the pot of flowers on your front porch, provides refuge for both you and the butterfly that finds you.
Read the article in the link below to see how you and your teen can Foster Mental Health with Gardening.
You might find these articles on helping teens through this pandemic helpful:
CDC Guidelines: 10 Quarantine Do’s and Don’ts for Teenagers
Asymptomatic Teens and Mental Health Concerns
Grow Flowers and Foster Mental Health: The Benefits of Gardening
For a complete list of articles by me, visit my Articles and Clips page.
Foster Mental Health with Gardening