It’s a Different Dance
Remember when your kids were young and there was a certain rhythm you felt? There was routine, days were predictable. Not easy, just mostly predictable–maybe like a waltz. Your kids had difficult moments or maybe even hours but not usually bad days. And then came adolescence and the dance changed: still beautiful but sometimes feeling more like a mosh pit on a roller coaster. The dance is hard to follow and it’s a whole lot of work, but no less important. Making sure your kids know you’re still dancing, providing some privacy but creating accountability. It can feel like an impossible dance but every once in a while, the ease of the waltz returns.
I love the adolescent dance, a time when kids begin to know who they are, separate from us; they develop their very own beliefs and ideas. But it can also be scary in the mosh pit. For lots and lots of reasons, our kids’ lives are very complicated, with more information coming at them, more distractions competing for their time and more influences than any of us, their parents, had when we were growing up. Sometimes it’s hard to know where the line is drawn between “growing pains” and something more serious. What’s typical? What’s a warning sign?
When families face behavioral health challenges, including anxiety, depression, and other illnesses, the stakes are even higher. At these times parents need the knowledge, courage, and resources to navigate a complicated system. A good place to start is a primary care doctor or Carolinas HealthCare System’s 24 hour behavioral health call center, 704-444-2400. These qualified counselors will help you chart a course.
Maureen O’Boyle, news anchor at WBTV News, is tackling a parent’s worst nightmare—teen suicide. I had the privilege of being part of her important story to help parents better understand signs, resources and available help. Check out Maureen’s Facebook page and the story on WBTV Monday night at 6:00. Big thanks to Maureen for shining a light!
Be hopeful. Most kids grow to be healthy, contributing, fulfilled adults with effective coping skills.