You see, in our house, we talked about my therapy, my medication, my counselors, my highs and lows. Mika and I shared what we believed was appropriate for our kids to know based on their ages and maturity. But their normal was watching their dad fight for his mental wellness and that impacted our relationships.
I believe that the openness -my willingness to confess how I was doing with my kids taught them that life is better lived when we are honest about our wellness. Checking in with one another was a natural rhythm of our lives.
I get asked these questions –
- Can kids get therapy?
- How can I help my kid that just doesn’t seem happy?
These are all important questions. And I know they are questions that may be keeping you up at night. Please keep in mind, I am not a licensed counselor-I am a pastor and I have spent many hours counseling folks trying to do the very best by their kids. I have learned a thing or two and maybe you could learn a little something from my experiences.
Yes, Kids can get therapy. Make sure the therapist holds your same values. Make sure you are comfortable with them. Be sure that you feel confident and comfortable with them. Therapy is emotionally challenging. It can be incredibly helpful, and my life has not been the same because of it. Consult your pediatrician, even check with school staff and teachers. One thing to remember-you are not alone. Mental wellness is a journey-therapy for your kiddo can be one of the stops along the way.
Kids get the blues. Kids can have off days. Kids can seem unhappy just like adults can. If you see your child is struggling, check in with them. Spend time with them. They may pull away, but you go with them. Be aware of how much they isolate. Give them the space that they need, but don’t let them completely disengage. The real key to this is to spend time with them regularly so that when you have concerns, the rhythm of your relationship is to spend time together. Don’t wait until things start going south to spend time with your kids. Commit to spending time with your kids in their highs so that you can be there in their lows.
Like I said earlier, I am not an expert. But I have learned so much about mental wellness through my life experiences. You know what the beauty for ashes thing I mentioned earlier-well, that has been so special. You see, I believe that the way Mika and I openly and honestly talked about my mental wellness modeled what healthy discussions around the topic really can be. We didn’t get it right all the time. But when my kids struggle, or their spouses struggle or their friends struggle-they know they can come to me. I am often times the first person they turn to. It’s a beautiful thing.
Be open about your struggle.
Listen to your kids.
If they pull away, you go with them.
Know that you are not alone.
Those feelings I had of failure and isolation have motivated me to build this community. The heart of Goby is to help families reframe conversations regarding mental wellness. We want to be here for you. You are not alone. And we have so much to learn together.
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