Expert Support for Parenting Your Teen or Young Adult's
Eating and Emotions
July 2023 Newsletter
Your Teen and Your Own Support
We have been hearing more and more about the crisis that is teen mental health. Especially since COVID, the CDC, the Surgeon General, and experts across many fields are sounding the alarms, telling us that our kids are not okay.
But what about their parents and caregivers?
This old saying is often mentioned in my office and during my parent coaching talks: “You are only as happy as your least happy child.” So if the kids are not okay, that means that the parents and caregivers that support them, love them and see them in struggle are also really not okay.
As a parent, it can feel almost impossible, if not “wrong” to take care of yourself first. That old oxygen mask thing- you know, put yours on first- how many of us roll our eyes and wave off that idea as absurd, if not outright judge it as selfish? Many of us believe, that to be good parents, it means putting them first: their needs, their wants, their struggles are number one.
But here is the thing.
If the flowers in your garden are wilting and need water, you know you can't pour from an empty cup.
In fact, I am so convinced you know this, that you wouldn't even try.
I can almost guarantee that, to take care of your flowers, your first step would be filling the cup up with water.
(Am I hitting you over the head enough with this analogy yet?)
Parenting is the same. Which is why I don't lecture parents on self-care anymore. (After seeing how quickly a room of exhausted caregivers' eyes will either glaze over or be filled with rage at the sheer whiff of the mention of a bubble bath, I have learned my lesson.)
Instead, I invite parents to think about what they can do to Refuel. Because you can't parent on an empty tank. Because you can't afford to break down on the side of the road, waiting for a kind stranger with a gas can. Because it is more efficient- for all of you in the car- for you to stop, fill the tank, then keep going. It isn't just "self-care", it is ensuring that you can continue to provide the care you want to those you love.
So dip your toe in the water. Ask yourself this question: What would I do today for myself, if I saw it as an essential, necessary, non-negotiable Refuel?
There are some great resources below too. Please take a moment to look at these (especially The Eating Disorder Foundation Mentee Program- applications are due TOMORROW- Tuesday, July 18th) and, if you need more, reach out. I am happy to help.