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.”
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.”
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
Entertaining Insights Podcast Guest
I’ve kept a journal since childhood. Beyond that writing always seemed to come attached to a punishment. I had to write sentences or an essay about how I felt. I’m not sure that’s the best way to encourage kids to write. Writing is about the use of language and literacy so you can’t start later and just say “write this down.” I really believe it starts when you’re young and teaching kids the context and language of the world that they live in. Teaching them how to articulate how they feel. Before they even write it on paper if you can help them find the words for their five senses and articulate that to you, it’s almost a version of emotional intelligence.
Read more parenting advice from Bonnie HERE.
It was my husband’s insight that helped me plan for “quarantine cooking.” I tend to draw from my parenting experience when I write so it was nice to start with Felipe this time. 😊 While Frozen Pizza and Mac-n-Cheese flew off the grocery store shelves my husband steered us towards the international isle to load up on rice, beans, and bouillon cubes. My husband’s mother is Mexican born and knows how to cook delicious meals from scratch using basic dry stock goods.
Chef Farhana Sahibzada has the impulse – to return to traditional food cooked from dry stock goods that have a long shelf life. She says her quarantine cooking habits start with lentils and homemade paratha. Her recipe she was gracious enough to share with me for the article. It’s from her cookbook Flavorful Shortcuts to Indian/Pakistani Cooking for families to try at home. She also has YouTube Tutorials for some of her recipes that are helpful.
“Most families have only so much freezer space. Instead of stocking up on ready-made mac-n-cheese or frozen pizza, save that space for perishables like meat, dairy, and vegetables. Then stock your pantry with basic dry ingredients that have a long shelf life. This pandemic has given many families the gift of time, so why not use some of that time for cooking meals from scratch, together?”Bonnie Jean Feldkamp
If you like this article about Quarantine Cooking check out a few of my other links about #QuarantineLife:
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