So many of my conversations during the pandemic have steered toward mental health, especially when talking about parenting. So, I thought who better to talk about it than Registered Child Psychologist, Dr Vanessa Lapointe? Episode 92 with Dr Vanessa on parenting is one of our most popular episodes, so I know you will get so much out of this interview as we talk about:
- Types of mental health issues facing our children today
- How to effectively start conversations with our kids
- Serious issues like self harm / cutting
and much more. If you would like to pick up some gems on how to parent in today’s world you have come to the right place!
Show notes: www.elaineskitchentable.com/132
Connect with Dr. Vanessa Lapointe:
- Website: https://drvanessalapointe.com/
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/dr.vanessalapointe/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/drvanessalapointe
Connect with Elaine:
- Website: https://elaineskitchentable.com
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/elainetancomeau
- LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/elainetancomeau/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ElainesKitchenTable
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/chatwithelaine
Get a free chapter from Elaine’s book, Sell Your Passion: https://elaineskitchentable.com/book/
Easy Daysies – help your family have easier days!
Elaine Tan Comeau 0:00
It's time to create better, create better family health,
business and self Welcome to Elaine's Kitchen Table. This is where we share tips about business and parenting. Being a mom of three CEO of the award winning company Easy Daysies speaker and educator, you're going to learn the tips and secrets of successful and incredible people. Elaine wants you to be inspired, challenged and motivated, and that person you want your kids to grow up to be this is real talk for real life.
Elaine Tan Comeau 0:30
I welcome to Elaine's Kitchen Table where we talk about how to create better how to create better family health, business and self. Today we're gonna talk about an issue that has been on the surface of everyone's conversation over this past 20 months of of the pandemic and COVID and that is mental health. But we're gonna narrow it down to kids and mental health and teens and youth and mental health. Because you know what they are our future. And right now, the statistics are showing that is 1.2 million children and youth in Canada that are affected by mental health issues. And by the age of 25 20%. That's one one to five humans, young adults will be diagnosed with a mental health issue. And so, whenever these topics arise of how to raise kids, how what should I do to have a better human and more confident human? I think of my wonderful dear friend and Dr. Vanessa LaPointe. Now this woman if you see her right now because she's on a video zoom with me. She just lights up the room any room that she enters look at her smile. She is a mom. She has two amazing boys. She's a registered psychologist, parenting educator, Best Selling Author, international speaker. She is also the founder and director of the wishing star LaPointe developmental clinic. And she has been supporting families and children for almost 20 years. Now, Dr. Vanessa, she is known for helping big people to really see the world through a child's eyes. She believes that if we can do this, if we can see the world through our kids eyes, we are beautifully positioned to grow our children up the best possible way am I love this human. Dr. Vanessa, say hello.
Dr. Vanessa Lapointe 2:29
Hello, Elaine, thank you so much for having me on. It's always magical to be in your presence.
Elaine Tan Comeau 2:35
You are lovely. And we were reminiscing before we started recording of, of how we met. And that was Oh my goodness. I don't know, like I'm gonna say over 10 years ago,
Dr. Vanessa Lapointe 2:47
probably 12 or 13 years ago now. Yeah. And
Elaine Tan Comeau 2:51
it was like a, like a fair for kids are damned. And I was selling Easy Daysies My daily visual schedules. And here this beautiful child psychologist came over and shared how much she loved and totally saw the necessity of a daily visual schedule a whole other conversation right there. But But how are you doing today?
Dr. Vanessa Lapointe 3:15
Doing very well, thank you, the sun is shining, and all as well in my world.
Elaine Tan Comeau 3:20
That is wonderful. That is wonderful. And I love everything that you do and stand for and every time you speak so much wisdom. And I'm really honored to have you on this podcast. And I know that COVID and pandemic has made mental health issues more prominent and upfront. And not that they didn't exist before. But people are talking about it more, I think because we are at home, we see our kids more people are isolated or have been and issues have come about. And I wanted to ask you, what are some of the most common mental health issues that children are dealing with today?
Dr. Vanessa Lapointe 4:06
Yeah. So I mean, we've seen a really interesting trend actually lean is that we're calling it the k curve, because there's actually a sub population of kids who previous to the pandemic, were really struggling with things like anxiety and depression, and through the course of the pandemic have fared very well, we think because their lives, the volume button got turned down and they got to spend all this glorious time at home with their families. So that's something that we can shine a positive light on. On the other hand, there's a curve that's trended down very sharply. And that I think, is why this topic of mental health is so much at the forefront of our minds and in our conversation, where there is in a subsection of the population that has really, really struggled through the course of the pandemic. And what we see in those groups of kids, generally speaking, and specifically what we've seen coming through our doors at the clinic She has an incredible amount of anxiety that's manifesting in a lot of interesting ways. We see disruptions in mood, including depression and increased suicidality. Kids thinking about those kinds of things, we've actually seen quite a bit of an increase in terms of eating disorders over the course of the pandemic, related to anxiety, we've seen a sharp uptick in obsessive compulsive kinds of men. And generally kids who are presenting as very challenged to focus and unable to kind of get momentum going. We could call that ADHD but probably more aptly, it would be better terms. It's just general dysregulation.
Elaine Tan Comeau 5:50
What did you call it general
Dr. Vanessa Lapointe 5:52
dysregulation, so the granulation Wow, regulated state. And when you're in a dysregulated, state, your job is to survive, which means your brain goes into scan and search kind of mode, rather than focused and concentrated. And then, you know, kids are having to pretend to do school, all these other things, and it's been very challenging.
Elaine Tan Comeau 6:16
And parents are pretending to do work. Right? It's I actually will say that I don't think I've ever heard of that term, general dysregulation, separate from ADHD, just a more specific need to try to focus on something that they're supposed to do.
Dr. Vanessa Lapointe 6:39
I think it gets very regularly misunderstood and labeled as ADHD. But if we were to sort of peek underneath the surface of that, and really understand where that presentation of inattentiveness and, and a lack of motivation, and all of those kinds of things, where it's coming from, it's coming from this just like vibrational, you know, kind of energy. Wow,
Elaine Tan Comeau 7:03
that is very insightful. That's something I'm sure our listeners are listening like. Hmm, I think I might recognize that in our home. Absolutely. Wow, the lack of motivation, that's a key key one that people forget. They just think it's multi distractions, but it's lack of motivation to get going, while we're actually talking about that distance through a slight curveball in that. So if if we see this in our child, that lack of motivation to get into their schoolwork, or do what they're supposed to do, is there like a quick tip or strategy to for SSA, hey, let's pause and let's address it.
Dr. Vanessa Lapointe 7:50
Yeah, cuz the temptation is often to go directly to the symptom to try and push through the task or push through the activity. But we're actually better served to go deeper underneath the surface to the root cause, the root cause in this case would be this dysregulated nervous system. And we know from the science of child development, that the ultimate antidote to a dysregulated nervous system is actually connection, emotional, human relational connection. And so, in fact, what we want to do if our kids are struggling with these kinds of things is retreat. And we want to scoop them up. And we want to have some really focused targeted time of listening to them, having them feel seen and heard connecting, and deepening the relationship, and watching that nervous system just come to rest.
Elaine Tan Comeau 8:46
Possible from there. Wow. So would you say like, just just remove that child from that task that that circumstance and just take them and go do something else, like go make a sandwich together or, or just like say, hey, you know what, let's go play, go fish together for a moment, like, like just shift gears,
Dr. Vanessa Lapointe 9:09
shift gears and really honor them in the experience of what it is that they're going through, I can see that this is really hard for you, sometimes our brains just don't want to focus. And that can be so tricky. And I know a way that might help make it feel better. Take my hands come with me, we're gonna go on a walk in the forest, or we're gonna go you know, something where you're connected. And if you can have it involves physical movement. And if it just so happens that it also involves being out in nature, all of those things have been shown to be significantly effective in calming and dysregulated brain as well. And so, yeah, you know, a three for relationship, movement and nature. Other ones say,
Elaine Tan Comeau 9:56
Wow, let's say those three things again, we're relationship, relationship, movement, nature, nature, relationship movement, nature. Okay. So if you were listening and you wanted to write that down, it was relationship, movement, and nature. And you know what I love, but those is they didn't cost any money. They weren't prescribed that you had to go to some pharmacy to go pick up right now. But just to remember relationship, movement, nature. Wow. Okay, we can end the podcast. I can talk to you forever. Vanessa, Dr. Vanessa. So let's let's, let's hone into some of these. And my conversations over these past months, these, there's three mental health issues that really surfaced and you know, when I was in a classroom, I knew that, you know, so many numbers are working against our children, like one and two are coming from broken families, one in four are dealing with anxiety issues one and five with mental health issues. And the list goes on so many things working out against our kids. And then of course, throwing a pandemic and, and it's just different and, and so much more in our face. And the three that I was wanting to touch on is anxiety, OCD, and depression. And I would love for you in in your expertise, and to give us a Reader's Digest short definition of what those three things are. Yeah. So anxiety.
Dr. Vanessa Lapointe 11:49
So anxiety in general starts with a child experiencing some kind of an ultimate experience of lack of control, and figuring out ways to feel more under control. And sometimes that becomes very sort of obvious and concrete. And other times it's just Verbling. Under the surface in this constant sort of agitated state. The way that we would see that manifests chemically in the body is that there would be an increase in stress hormones present in the blood system at all times. And we would generally see disruptions in terms of sleep, disruptions in terms of attention and concentration. Sometimes because behavior is communication, we see really interesting behaviors begin to seep out of our children. And we can also see significant changes in mood typically in our, you know, preteen adolescent population that presents us irritability, anxiety, OCD, obsessive compulsive disorder is actually one of the anxiety diagnoses. So it's, it's under that same umbrella. But very specifically, it involves obsessions. So certain thoughts that are very sticky that you can't get out of your mind. And then you develop compulsions in order to cure yourself of the obsessive thoughts. So if the obsessive thought is germs and cleanliness, which is, you know, an interesting thing to be talking about during a global pandemic, thought of germs in cleanliness than the compulsion might become hand washing, or might become, you know, a really ritualized approach to how you touch things or how you move through certain spaces or that you have to decontaminate clothing before you can do certain activities. So you have this obsession, and then you develop a compulsion in order to feel more at ease about the obsession. The problem is, you can never win the race. And so you typically exhaust yourself, trying to come up with compulsions that are good enough to beat out the obsessions. And it can be, you know, an entirely defeating and really tiresome, wow.
Elaine Tan Comeau 14:11
My heart, my heart, I just feel all these. It's very overwhelming, very overwhelming, and depression.
Dr. Vanessa Lapointe 14:20
Yes. And that's an interesting segue into depression, because there is typically this experience of overwhelm in the midst of depression, where the brain is kind of chugging. There's a general sense of feeling stuck. We often see disruptions in sleep, either hypersomnia sleeping a lot, or you can even see insomnia where sleep is becoming quite disrupted. relationships tend to take a hit, because kids especially but adults, as well, don't relate to the people around them in the same kind of way. And we'll see cognitive processes begin to slow so kids that may be If you speak could have handled a certain social situation or handled a certain problem that had presented now might look like they're just, you know, spinning their wheels and struggling to find their way through it.
Elaine Tan Comeau 15:11
Wow. Now, there are so many numbers that will show that, that it's not uncommon for children to go through any of these. Like, I think that's an adult, we know that we've felt anxious daily, weekly. And there are times where we will feel sad, to a point we might feel depressed. Now, one, I think a blessing during the pandemic is mental health issues have become more real and normalized in the sense of it's not like a stigma of Oh, you have mental health issues, but everybody has mental health issues. And, and your mental health is as important as your physical health. And I think that is such a beautiful normalization, I want to say, or realization, rather, that, that mental health is very important. Now, you know, I don't know if that's why parents and friends are talking about it more, and not feeling ashamed or embarrassed to say, Hey, this is happening in our household. And my, the scary part is, how do we recognize it? And not when it's too late? But how, how do we recognize these issues? And you could pick any of those three that we're talking about? I mean, I know, sometimes you're like, oh, I can see the anxiety about you know, when a child has separation anxiety, we can see that, but our children are also very good at at not showing it to until it's too late. So how do we recognize these things.
Dr. Vanessa Lapointe 17:06
So I would be as a parent really watching for changes that make you go. So when a child, you know, previously with sleeping and had certain patterns around that, and then it, it kind of seemed to just like that change, eating habits just like that change their friends, groups, suddenly, you know, the kids they used to hang with are no longer coming around, and they've retreated and have a and seem to be kind of isolated, but it's just like that. Or if you see other big changes in terms of daily habits, maybe they had big interests in a sport. And now they're like, Man, I don't care anymore. So whenever you see big shifting like that, anything that would make you go hmm, you want to stop and think, Okay, what's underneath this? Where is this coming from? How can we slow down time right now. And really, again, retreats to relationship in order to see and hear the child so that we can make sense of whatever it is that's going on for them, whether it be, you know, the development of a mental health issue, or a blip in the journey of life that's made current times a little more difficult for them.
Elaine Tan Comeau 18:26
I love that, like, Okay, so see, and a big change and obvious change. Because that that should stop us in our tracks to say, okay, something's going on here. Then then what happens? What what do we say? Because, you know, whether it is an eight year old or a 14 year old, how do we begin that conversation?
Dr. Vanessa Lapointe 18:54
You know, this is one of those things where you really have to be able to read the room. And I'm often saying, for myself, it's a mom, I think about this. And I also offer this out to a lot of the parents that I get to work with, which is as a parent, you have to show up for work, whether you're put to work or not. And that means that you are very available to the open door, have a conversation when that opportunity presents. So in the evenings in my home, you will find me hanging around the kitchen. Because as Elaine mentioned, I have two boys age 14 and 17. So I know where the heart is, where the food is, right? And I'll just get busy puttering away doing my tasks, but I'm in that that communal space, and I watch for the pause at the bottom of the stairs. And I know that that's my entry point with my kids. Because I'm around and I'm listening. I'm listening to what's not being said. that, then when that opportunity presents, you, you sort of creek that door open a little bit. And it might be something like, Tell me about that. Or I've noticed this or, you know, I was thinking and you drop a little seed and see what happens. And be very aware unless we're, you know talking about safety for a child. We don't need to kick the door open. They're not ready to open the door, but you've planted the seed. And so the next day or a week from now, they'll circle back around and, and want to pick up where you've left off. And mother, whom were parents who are in the lead and Phyllis swagger. We have that sort of deep well of knowingness with within us this sort of wisdom that lets our kid note and let us know. We're gonna get it sorted out.
Elaine Tan Comeau 21:01
I love that, like just presenting a safe place for them to open up. And to listen, I love what you said, but you're there and you're listening for what's not being said. I love that so much. And I liked your your starters there of you know, tell me more or I noticed this, like with no judgment with no, I'm here to fix it. Yeah, attitude. But just tell me more. And yeah, have that opened door.
Dr. Vanessa Lapointe 21:31
As soon as we go to, I mean, any kind of shame or blame, as soon as there's even like a little hint of judgment. So fix it shame and blame or judgment? Shut down.
Elaine Tan Comeau 21:44
Mm hmm. Mm hmm. Such great points, such great points. And I loved your analogy of you know, if you go to work, you show up, whether they put you to a certain task or not. You are there and just being present. Being present? Am I love? detriment? So how you said that, you know, you'll putter around the kitchen. And you know, and having that familiarity, that consistency allows your children to know Okay, Mom's gonna be in the kitchen tonight. Anyway, go walk by, maybe have that conversation with her tonight. Or maybe tomorrow because I know she'll be there. And yes, I understand is tricky, you know, busy schedules, life gets hectic. But, you know, establishing a family time, a time when you know, or allows your children to know that mom's going to be there. Dad's going to be there in this room at that place at this time. And I can chat. And you know, even when I was a classroom teacher, we had these weekly meetings that I called thorns and roses. And we do them every week. And it was one of our favorite times. Like I was always amazed no matter whether I taught kindergarten or grade five. My kids they loved our Thorns and Roses roses meeting, where we arose is when you got to share an appreciation to somebody in the room for something anything, it could be as simple as Thank you, Billy. Billy lent me an eraser this week, too, you know, thank you to Amanda for asking me to play with you. And I didn't have any buddy to play with. But thorns now, you weren't allowed to pass on a rose, you always had something you should be grateful for it because there's something very sad that you didn't have somebody to say thank you. For anything this Be grateful always right. And life is just so much happier if and when you have at grateful heart. But the thorns was something that made you sad that day, this week, because we did it once a week. And it could be anything, it could be that your goldfish died. Or it could be you were sad, because you thought you were having a certain sandwich for lunch. And you didn't get to have that sound, anything at all, nothing is too small to be something that made you sad. And, and we did this every week, and you know, it allowed my kids to share a little bit more about them. And I shared too, because I'm a part of the class. And and you know, and that's we we role model all the time, even when we don't even know it. And so I think having that consistency, but you pottering in the kitchen, or if you're an educator to have that weekly slot and don't cancel it because they look forward to opening it up. Even if it's a child who says pass on the thorn, one day they won't pass and they will share and it's so awesome.
Dr. Vanessa Lapointe 24:50
And that one day. I mean, I have had kids that I've worked with in my practice, who at age 16 Remember the one day in grade two When that teacher heard them, and it saved their life, you know, so you can never underestimate the power of human connection. I actually just finished reading this incredible book by Bruce Perry and Oprah Winfrey, it's a relatively new release called What happened to you, rather than what's wrong with you? What happens to you? And they drop many, many pearls of wisdom, but one of them, Bruce Perry said, disconnection is deceit. Wow, wow. As humans, we need to be connected,
Unknown Speaker 25:37
and we need to be connected. Absolutely. As you were
Dr. Vanessa Lapointe 25:41
talking, Elaine, you reminded me of something that I think is really important for us to land on. Parents and for educators out there. When kids come forward with those thorns, or when you know, they they open up a conversation, or they say to you that they've been, you know, really down or very anxious or, or having suicidal thoughts or cutting or whatever it is, that it's incredibly important for us as the big people to maintain our position of being in the lead in that moment. If I think back over the last year and a half, and the kids that have come through the clinic, that I've spoken with, who have you know, really heightened levels of anxiety, depression, all of the things that we're talking about, the number one thing amongst those kids is that they hadn't talked to their parents. Wow. And the reason that they hadn't talked to their parents is because they were too afraid of upsetting their parents, either, because it's not their parents would be angry with them, or because they thought their parents wouldn't be able to handle it. Wow. Yeah, we don't keep a secret a secret keeps us. And so when kids have to carry the burden of, you know, this really intense feeling of darkness on the inside of them, that they cannot share with the people that are meant to be their most trusted providers. This is a devastating experience. It is the ultimate form of disconnection, which the disease and it makes it the depression, the suicidality, that harming behaviors all much bigger and much louder. So when your kids come to you, keep yourself in the lead, you're allowed to be human and have emotion, but you own that. And you take care of that for you. And let them know that you've got that for you that your job right now as a mom is to cry, because that's what moms do. But don't you worry, darling, because I'm going to dry my tears just like I'm going to try yours.
Elaine Tan Comeau 27:55
Mm hmm. I'd like to dig more into that. But when you say that you've said so many great things. I love that you said you know, we don't keep secrets, a secret keeps us and that weight on a child, a teen and tween to feel like you know, I'm I'm hurting myself because I'm hurt. But I can't tell you and I want to be held I want someone to lean on. And you know, and thank you for sharing how you know, the number one reason that they aren't telling their parents because they're afraid to tell their parents because they think they're gonna get angry or that their parent can't handle it. And so what do you mean by stay in the lead? What does that mean? Like? How do we allow a child to think know that we are approachable as a parent?
Dr. Vanessa Lapointe 28:49
Yeah. So the parent child, the educator, child, the big person child relationship is hierarchical by design, which means that the big person is is up here, if you could see me with my hands right now. And the child is down below and not in a yucky way, in a beautiful way that allows for the child to be emotionally and otherwise at rest. Because when there's a leader, the child gets to lean in to the care and provision of the leader. And so if our child comes to us, and you know, maybe we find out they've been skipping school, or suddenly it's end of term and they haven't handed any of their assignments in, and we go to I cannot even believe that you would lie to me about these things. Or I cannot even believe that after all I've done for you. You've dropped the ball and not submitted any of your assignments. I gave you life and this is what you, you know, we go into all of that. Now we're not in the lead, because we've essentially flipped our lives. It's our limbic systems, we've become emotional in a process of trying to figure out how to keep our own feet on the ground. And our meanwhile, is meant to be leaning into us in that moment, but they gotta lean in. And it's like, Have you ever played that game where you're supposed to be developing team skills and you're supposed to pretend like you're a tree that got chopped and you fall backwards into your your team members arms and they catch you. And then there's this big moment of trust, where your kids are going to lean in right now. Your Ma, or whatever it is that your reaction is, and they smack their faces on the ground. They don't come back around for a second go.
Elaine Tan Comeau 30:40
Wow. Wow, great analogy. Yeah, they don't want to lean into an explosive bomb.
Dr. Vanessa Lapointe 30:46
That's an explicit bomb that's yelling, shouting at them, they want to run away from that for a jellyfish weeble wobbly response of a really sniffily. And I'm not making fun. What I'm landing on is what the experience would be like for the child of a sniffily sad, sad cry cry parents, because that parent can't hold them either. And the child's like, Whoa, what is what's happening? People right now, even if that child 17 and taller than you?
Elaine Tan Comeau 31:18
Hmm, wow. Well, I I liked that. You said, I'm such a visual person. So I'm picturing that child is leaning on the parent, because they're just needing that emotional rest. That is such a beautiful picture that you're painting here. And they're supposed to be a little rest on S. And, you know, like, you know, and I, God bless parents, because that's a big job is a big job. And, you know, like, you know, I'm always constantly, my kids are now tweens and teens and newly young adults. And, and so much going on in their lives. And, and, you know, even when they were little and, and I, I'm such a person who likes to fix things and make things faster, easier. And, you know, and I, and I told myself for like, since my oldest, who's a daughter was a young little girl, my husband be like, you know, keep the communication going, because she's gonna be a teen zoomed in. And you can always fix things for them, like, just let them make mistakes, let them let them and it's okay. And until, you know, to bite our tongue sometimes to not say, Oh, it's so much better and faster if you could do it this way. Like, why are you not doing it this way? And to let them let them learn this way? And trust that, that it's going to be okay.
Dr. Vanessa Lapointe 32:51
Yeah. Where there is darkness, there will be light and without challenge, there cannot be
Elaine Tan Comeau 32:57
growth. Wow. Without challenge that cannot be growth. I know you just touched on self harm. And this one's a scary one. A difficult topic. And you know, Why are kids cutting? Why would they do that? I, I can't fathom it. I don't understand it. But I I've heard so many conversations in my own circles in my own world. And it breaks my heart, it breaks the parents heart. Why are kids cutting and? And how do we have a conversation around that with them?
Dr. Vanessa Lapointe 33:44
Yeah, well, there's a few things around cutting. Sometimes when the noise from our internal world is so loud, and so unbearable, we have to find ways to mute out that noise. And so it's similar to like if you were telling me something that I didn't want to hear, and I put my fingers over my ears like that, because I want to mute it out. I want to find some way to discover it all up. When the inside world is loud and overwhelming. with anxiety, depression, these kinds of things, cutting can become a coping strategy for muting out the inside world. So we make it loud through the cut, so that we don't have to then seal all that seeds underneath the surface. It's really kind of distraction from the loudness of the internal world. The other thing that we know about cutting is that when kids have had a history of trauma, which you know, doesn't mean that they've experienced some kind of giant, huge acute sort of trauma. It might mean that They've had some disrupted relationships with their key big people along the way, trauma is different for every single person. And when kids have trauma of a certain kind, and the timing of that is all just so in terms of formation of the nervous system, they can become easily triggered into a dissociated state, which means they've kind of taken their minds offline as a means of being able to survive cope with the daily reality of their world. And when you're living in a frequently triggered kind of dissociative state, you want to feel a why. Wow. And so when we cut, it reminds us that we are still feeling we are still here, we are still alive. A lot of parents confuse cutting with suicidality, they're not the same thing. In fact, most kids who are cutting aren't are not suicidal, and are not doing that as a means of, you know, practicing or getting closer to that experience of attempting suicide, if that puts any parents minds a little bit at risk. And I think the biggest thing is to if we find this out about our kids, Oh, do you ever need to be in charge? Wow. Wow.
Elaine Tan Comeau 36:29
So when so many great insights there and that key one that you just said that it cutting is is not directly connected to wanting to end one's life. But so many other things, like the need to feel like they're still living, the need to tune out everything else the noise and to be distracted by this other loud noise of this action of, of hurting themselves. Which is just so painful to know. Now what when you you know, that your child is cutting? What do you do? Like, do you? Like, do you take them aside and do that are m n which is what I call it now. The relationship connection that meant and, and major, like, what do you do? How do you talk to them?
Dr. Vanessa Lapointe 37:36
The big thing is, you're going to talk by listening,
Elaine Tan Comeau 37:40
talk by listening, there you go talk by listening.
Dr. Vanessa Lapointe 37:45
And that means that your only interest in that in those initial moments, is to really have them feel seen and heard. And so there is a moment of being, you know, bold and firm. I saw when you were, you know, getting ready to go out to the pool the other day that there was some marks on the inside of your thigh. Tell me about that. And then they may say, What are you talking about that law? Yeah, I get that it would be really uncomfortable. For me to say that to you. Because probably you've been trying to keep that hidden. It makes a lot of sense to me. In my head, were in your shoes, I'd be trying to keep it hidden too. And I want you to know, no matter what you ever say Think or Do we are well, I will always love you. And we're gonna find our way through this. Tell me about it now. Or you can tell me about it after dinner. Or you can tell me about it a week from now. And at some point, we are going to talk about it.
Elaine Tan Comeau 38:54
I love that. I love that allowing them to feel heard. And then when you are saying you know I get it, I would feel like I need to hide that too. So that they feel like you understand and you're not angry and not yelling up, grounding them. banning them from all their friendships and and other things, but to say, Hey, I'm here. I see you I hear what you're not telling me. But I am here and I'm ready and nothing has changed. Because we are good. Yeah. And I need you to know that. And I love that you gave them options to say we can talk about it now or after dinner or in a week from now. But I'm here for you.
Dr. Vanessa Lapointe 39:46
I love that. There's also a space a time. For example, if you found razors, hidden in your child's room, know that they're cutting. You will say to them My darling part of my job as your mom is to care for you, and to keep you safe. So I'm not going to let you cut yourself. I've taken him. And we can talk about how we're gonna walk forward from here. So that whatever is going on, that has the feeling like you have to cut, we're going to get it figured out. And we're going to find another way.
Elaine Tan Comeau 40:30
I like that boldness of saying, it's my job to keep you safe. And I am not going to let you cut yourself. Is that what you said? I'm not going to let you cut yourself? Because
Dr. Vanessa Lapointe 40:45
I wouldn't let anybody else cut you.
Elaine Tan Comeau 40:51
Yeah, yeah. Wow. deep conversations here, but very real and necessary. So many great insights from you, Dr. Vanessa? Is there anything else you feel it we need to know as parents or educators? On the topic of mental health for our kids?
Dr. Vanessa Lapointe 41:13
Yeah, if I were to identify or shine a light on what is the ultimate answer, we are raising children in a time of relative disconnect and isolation compared to generations past. If we're wondering why the numbers are one in five, and one in four, and we think at this point post pandemic, or, depending where you live in the world, mid pandemic, those numbers have soared to one in three. So we're wondering, you know, why is that happening? Why are kids struggling so much, it's because we are by design, is social species, we are meant to live in contact and closeness with one another. If you look back over time, we raised our young always in a village where there was a whole community at the back of parents, championing them and folding them up and stepping in as mentors and stepping in as support people and, and really just weaving this gorgeous network of care around the family unit, a rams, the parent and the Rams the child. Today's children, by and large, do not have that experience. And our nervous systems as a result are a little fried. The ultimate answer is to find our way back to a guiding source of connectedness, as the way that we live, the way we set up our homes, the way we set up our lives, the way that we set up our communities, the way that we set up our schools, that the the foundation of everything to do with raising human beings to become the very best that they were intended to be, always comes back to relationship. And we have to get very big and very real, about what that means. Wow. In our modern day times,
Elaine Tan Comeau 43:24
I love it. I love it. I love it. So many great, great points that you have brought up. And that last one is the connectedness of relationships, and like human connections, and you know, and I can picture like, you know, decades ago, when families got together and neighbors got together and you felt safe we can I remember growing up and I would play hide and seek in the whole neighborhood with all the other kids and we'd hide around people's houses and it was all fine and all good because everybody knew everybody. We'd feed other children and and it was just safe and you could talk to anybody you could talk to your aunts, your cousins. And and now there is that isolation. So let's break that. And reshift back to relationships. I love that. You are amazing and wonderful. Dr. Vanessa, now our listeners if they wanted to find you and connect with you, where should they go?
Dr. Vanessa Lapointe 44:24
Drvanessalapointe.com is my website you can find links through to all of my social channels. From there I hang out primarily on Facebook and Instagram. And my books are discipline without damage and parenting right from the start. So yeah,
Elaine Tan Comeau 44:41
amazing. And I will have all of your links and websites on in our show notes as well. So if you are driving or hiking and listening, please just go to our show notes at Elaine's kitchen table.com and you will find all you need to do to connect with Dr. Vanessa. Vanessa, you are wonderful and Appreciate you my friend. And I wish you a most fantastic, wonderful day and week. Thank you for joining.
Dr. Vanessa Lapointe 45:07
I sent it all back at you appreciate you having me on.
Elaine Tan Comeau 45:10
And to our listeners. Thank you for joining us. It was a deep conversation today about our children and mental health. Mental health is just as important if not more important, I think than physical health. Because our physical health is connected to our mental well being. And if we leave you with nothing at all, but to just say Hey, be present, and enjoy that relationship with your child, your children, your nieces, your nephews and let them know that you hear them you see them and you are there for them. So thank you, and God bless and have a great, great day. Bye for now.
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