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0:00:36 – Speaker 1
So these last couple weeks, we’ve been doing some shows on kids who are questioning questioning their sexuality, questioning their gender, questioning their faith. I think, as parents, sometimes what we want to do is we just want to quote, unquote, fix our child, like we just want them to be a certain way right. And when we go at it like that, it is not going to go well, because it is really about understanding our kid, like why are you struggling? Help me understand. And as we’ve been doing these shows, we’ve been consulting our counselors. Specifically here We’ve got Jamie Mershawn. She is one of our counselors on our advisory council team. We trust her. She’s great. So, jamie, i know you’ve been on before, but can you introduce yourself? tell us a little bit about you. We just love and adore the work that you’re doing.
0:01:27 – Speaker 3
Oh, it’s so great to be here. My name is Jamie Mershawn and I’m a licensed professional counselor. My background is in school counseling and teaching, So I’m very familiar with the schools. And then I became a mama to three littles with my husband, Michael, And just because of the availability I wanted to be with them and whatnot I started a private practice. I’m here in San Antonio and just been amazing to see the Lord what he’s been doing in this little office of mine. So that’s a bit about me.
0:02:01 – Speaker 2
We’re so glad you’re here. We send people to you all the time and hear nothing but great things. As we prepared for the show, we knew you were the one to be on it with us to help explain, from a counselor perspective, what parents can do to support their kids when they’re asking these super difficult questions. That sometimes brings up a lot of fear for parents because they’re not sure how to answer it and they’re afraid that they’ll lead their kid down the wrong path. So maybe let’s rewind a little bit and start with the first show that we did. When your kid is questioning their sexuality or their gender, what are some things you can do? I mean, we talked about that on our show. But as a counselor, where would you come from?
0:02:41 – Speaker 3
When I think of Jesus, he pursues us and we need to pursue our children. And so what does that look like? That looks like entering into their world. And so, like you were saying earlier, with the whole fear piece, oftentimes, rather than becoming reactive, we need to become more responsive. And so when we’re reactive, we normally get defensive or attackful or we want to think that we know best. And so when you catch your mind wanting to go to that place, replace it with get curious. And so get curious about their world, sit with them. Who do you follow on Instagram? Why do you like this account? What do you learn from it? Let’s go thrifting together. Enter into their world. Why do you like this style of clothes? or how does this make you feel?
Talk to them about it doesn’t even have to be about their gender. It can be all the things that make them up. I think that we tend to catastrophize or make the gender that it thing, but there’s so many aspects and parts to your child aside from that. So I think it’s pursuing them and entering into their world. I think another big thing is acknowledging that it’s hard to be a kid. You know. We see so many mom memes and stuff like Oh, it must be nice being a kid, they get a nap or they get somebody to make their dinners and stuff like that. So we kind of joke about that. Oh, it’s so easy being a kid, but the reality is it’s very hard being a kid And acknowledging that and telling your children how proud you are of them, telling them that, or just even asking them what is it like going to school or what is it like being part of this group of kids, you know, i think. I think that’s really important.
0:04:32 – Speaker 1
You know the understanding, your kid portion. I think it’s so extremely important today to do that than we were kids even because it was. We were kids before Internet, before social media, and it has literally changed our kids childhood and how they’re growing up, and it is kind of foreign to us the pressures that are put on them today, and so I think this is where a lot of parents, me included, misstep, because we automatically go to well, we’re wiser, we think we know better, and there are some things, yes, that we have wisdom about and life experience about, but they have a life experience that we don’t know, and I think that’s extremely important to acknowledge as a parent in the digital world.
0:05:19 – Speaker 3
I agree with that.
0:05:20 – Speaker 2
I think the key word you said about being curious if we can pair that curiousness about them because when you’re curious about something, you dig, you want to know more about it, you want to get into it, the thick of it and into the details And if we pair that curious with our wisdom, then we can probably help our kid a lot more. because, yes, we have wisdom to bring to the table but it may not apply in a way that makes sense to them because their world is so different. But if we get to know their world then we can appropriately apply wisdom that will make sense to them and can actually make a difference in the conversation.
0:05:54 – Speaker 3
I agree, and I think that kids subconsciously are kind of testing us, so they’ll tell us little snippets. How do we handle that? And if they’re like, oh, mom was really cool about that, or mom really wanted to know more about that, or dad really was supportive of that, then they’re like, ok, i can trust them with more. And so when we pursue them, they feel knowing. And that is so huge for kids, it’s so huge for all of us. You know, and like you were saying earlier, the whole fear piece.
Something that I think is really important is replace what you don’t know about your child’s future with what you do know about God. And so he’s not shocked by the brokenness our kids face. He’s grieving with us, he’s merciful, he loves our children more than we do And he shows grace. And I think when we even enter from that aspect, it’s OK. I’m going to enter this conversation with what I know about God’s character and instead of what we run off of, because we tend to run off of beliefs more than we run off of reality, and so our belief is I fear my child is going down this road and that’s going to be their future. I kind of compare it to a book. Don’t write chapter 10 when we’re only in chapter three, because if we write the whole book, then we’re running off of fear, we’re running off of beliefs. We think we already know where they’re headed and it’s staying here and now, because that’s what God has given us the grace and mercy for. He’s given us the grace and mercy for here and now.
0:07:25 – Speaker 1
Okay, I’m in a counseling session up in here today because this, as a parent of a teenager, Jamie, this spoke to me. What you just said about being heard, them being heard and then not writing chapter 10 when you’re on chapter three This is great advice for parents. I’m seeing my kid do that. My teens do the same thing with me. Throw things out there and see how I’ll react When I don’t overreact and I’ll say well, I see that point of view, but let’s think about this I’m in there listening but then also instilling some beliefs or some scripture that may be relevant to them in the moment.
0:08:10 – Speaker 3
I think that’s really important.
0:08:12 – Speaker 2
Yes, jamie, i just have to ask you because, as Mandy was talking, i was thinking about how some of the conversations that I know are going on with parents and teens and you’re saying don’t write chapter 10 when we’re here in chapter three. I loved that too. It really spoke to me. I think the world also that our kids are being exposed to is also doing that for them. They’re saying, okay, this is what you’re doing now. Well, here in chapter 10, that means you’re this or that means you’re that They’re being inundated with. This message of the book is already written, so you might as well live that life.
0:08:46 – Speaker 3
Yes, we’re in a world of instant gratification. I think that it’s really good that kids see us, as parents deny ourselves the things we want. It I was saying I don’t have teenagers, i have little ones. Sometimes I’m like, oh, i really want a Starbucks, but I’ll say I have the money for it, but I don’t need one Today, i’m not going to get one. What I mean by that is that they need to see us wait. They need to see us say no to things that could easily be a yes out of comfort, or I want or I have to have. It’s modeling patients. It’s showing them the wisdom and waiting, because there’s so many good things that come from waiting Sex before marriage or even debt, so many things in life. I think that we’re in this world, like I said, with that instant gratification, where everything’s now. When you think about even gender, it’s like they think that everything has to happen now.
0:09:42 – Speaker 1
I think about when I think about that. I’m hearing you say we got to be the model, which is what we know, but it’s hard actually living that out, to have this self-control and discipline that we want to see in our kids, but we need to do that in our own life, right?
0:09:57 – Speaker 3
Yeah, and I think it’s just that intentionality of just looking for little moments where they see us deny things that could easily be a yes. When we start modeling that, then it’s helpful for them to put an example with what we’re asking them to do.
0:10:15 – Speaker 1
Well and I think this plays into what I’m thinking about is feelings versus logic, because feelings are real, absolutely, and we need to acknowledge our kids’ feelings and their questions and all of that. Like you said, we need to be curious about it. We don’t need to judge it, we need to get in there and dig and figure out what’s going on and get context, but, at the same time, our job as parents is just not to jump on a bandwagon and go along with feelings that are against God, but to actually bring them into a logical way to look at it from God’s perspective, right.
0:10:49 – Speaker 3
Absolutely, because feelings are influential, our stories are influential, but they’re not authoritative. God is authoritative And I think this is another place where we can also just bring in grief, and so if you can feel it, you can heal it. And so I think, as parents, there is a level of grief that we have to grieve that our kids maybe aren’t having the childhood we thought they were going to have. We have to grieve what our parenting journey isn’t what we thought it was going to be. And so don’t avoid, don’t stuff or ignore, because then it will come out in other ways.
And so, with our kids, we want to be responsive and not reactive. And so when you think about an ocean, the waves come in and they come out. And so I think that a lot of us have grown up in a generation where feelings are uncomfortable and we don’t know what to do with them. But if we are able to sit with our feelings and just acknowledge what, what am I feeling? You know, lots of times we see anger and it’s actually sadness, and so if we can sit with it and not be scared of it and just say, okay, what am I angry about? I’m angry that my kids are having to deal with this. I’m angry that the world is playing tug of war with their hearts.
It’s one of those things where you can even model that to your children that we’re not just running to the next activity, we’re not just going to go binge watch TV. I’m actually going to sit with this feeling and it’s okay to feel this way. And so, like I was saying earlier, that wave is going to come in. Don’t stay stuck there, but just acknowledge it, figure out what you’re feeling, why you’re feeling that way, and then let the wave go back out. I think, by doing that that’s a healthy form of grief, because we truly are grieving the reality of what we thought just parenthood, and what we thought our kids were going to have.
0:12:43 – Speaker 2
Everything you just said made a lot of sense to me, from, you know, kids questioning their gender or sexuality to even questioning their faith. The other show that we did. You know, in the moment when your kid is struggling and they’re coming to you, being able to model that waiting, like you said, can speak into both of those questioning moments, because that is an emotional response to something they’ve either heard or their friend said or they’ve experienced it. And if the emotion feels good and they haven’t learned how to wait, then I could see how they’re like this is who I am, or this is not what I am, or I don’t believe in this. But if we can model that wave for them, like, hey, sit here with this, let’s talk about it, if they offer you a different perspective, then maybe that wave will go out and they’ll be able to see clearly truth. They’ll be able to see maybe I’m not this way or maybe I don’t feel this way. Is that what you’re meaning by that?
0:13:37 – Speaker 3
Yeah, exactly, i also think too. It’s just like when you see your kids upset not that let’s go up for ice cream or let’s watch our favorite movie It might be an opportunity to say you know what? let’s sit with this, what do you think you’re feeling? and let’s just sit with it. Because I think that feelings can make us uncomfortable and we want to fix where the reality is. We just have to sit with them and let them know this is hard, this sucks, let’s pray about this, what does scripture say? or even not talking and letting them know like it’s okay to be upset, it’s okay to be confused. We’re not going to stay stuck here, but we’re going to sit with this and then we’re going to process it together.
0:14:21 – Speaker 1
I think this is such a great advice because what I’m seeing is kids being forced to check a box really fast and this advice that you’re giving of sit with it and feel it.
I love how you said feel it so you can heal it. Our kids, their brains aren’t developed yet and these are big labels that they’re throwing on themselves at a very early age and it’s hard to break out of a label. I just think of somebody calling you stupid as a kid and then you carry that and you think you’re stupid your whole life. Any kind of label is hard to break out of. I think this is so important that we learn to sit with it, like you said, and not rush to a judgment, and offer both perspectives and really listen. I also loved your little one liner that you said be responsive, not reactive, like I just think that’s so good as parents, because we do tend to overreact, because we’re mama bear and it comes out and we’re like this is not the plan I had for you And that makes us sound like God. Right, because we’re not God.
0:15:28 – Speaker 3
We aren’t God and we tend to go to fear. And I think you know when you bake a cake, you need baking soda. No, baking soda isn’t going to help the cake Too much is going to ruin it. But the right amount is going to make a great cake. We need the right amount of fear, so it’s not to say don’t be fearful, and it’s not to say live in fear, but it’s have a healthy amount of fear. We need that because that keeps things on our radar, that keeps us intentional, that keeps us in tune, and so I believe that God really has given us that feeling for a reason, and it’s out of protectiveness. Now we don’t want it to control us or rule us, but we also don’t want it to be like God’s got it. We have been entrusted with these children And so with that there is a stewardship on our part, and with that we need that healthy amount of fear.
0:16:17 – Speaker 2
Man, i’m so glad you said that, because that fear feeling is like a red alert for me because it comes on so strong and so immediate. I’m like I got to pay attention to this. But you’re right, living in it is not healthy to me or my kids, but recognizing it helps me know there needs to be an action here, like something’s going on that I need to pay attention to. I’m so thankful that you put that towards, because it’s so easy, i think, especially if you’re a believer, to think that if you’re fearful then you’re not relying on God. That’s not an okay emotion, so I love the way that you put that.
0:16:53 – Speaker 1
Yeah, i love what you said about fear too, because the Bible does tell us to fear God, not out of an abusive, protective sort of way, but more of a respect. I respect you so much And I think, as parents, if we have that fear of God, we do want to raise these kids right because, like you said, dreamy, they have been entrusted to us. I think this is such a valid point And I think it also Christian parents sometimes have a lot of shame in living in fear And, like you said, it’s not about living in it or it dictating your life, but a good amount of oh, something’s wrong here. I need to take notice of this. I need to get curious. In the spot is a good, healthy thing.
0:17:35 – Speaker 3
Right And just how we model living under God’s authority. I think kids can sometimes struggle with authority And so when they see us live out we’re submitting to God’s truth and God’s authority in love, his biblical truths in the Bible. I think that’s important to model that too, that we’re under an authority just as much as they are, and so become curious versus reactive, because reactive is defensive and attackable. And I think parents get that because they wanted to defend their parenting Like I raised you better than this. You know it’s a pride thing, really, absolutely. I tell parents it’s like you put in the bananas and you’ve got stir fry. You’re like, uh, how did I get the stir fry kid? I put it in the banana bread. And they want the banana bread because that’s comfortable And that’s what they thought they were creating.
And when they get the stir fry kid, it’s shame, it’s. You know they condemn their kids, they make them feel bad, when the reality is it’s like okay, lord, what are we going to do with the stir fry? There’s so many amazing things that can come out of stir fry. I just wasn’t expecting it, you know. And so I think that’s really big, because I always tell kids you’re the stir fry kid, and they’re like, yes, and it’s not a bad thing, we can celebrate stir fry, we just want to make sure it’s in biblical context, you know.
0:18:51 – Speaker 2
Well, and the crazy thing is you take these bananas and you put them into three different ovens, like I did, and I got three different dishes. I got stir fry, i got banana bread And then I got like strawberry shortcake, and so I’m thinking over here that I’m parenting the right way, the way God called me to, but that doesn’t work for these different dishes, and so I totally relate to that. It has really hit me in the pride spot. I really got to rely on the Holy Spirit if I am going to serve the stir fry the way God meant it to be served and not at the ice cream shop.
I love food analogies. It’s food is my life, you know, so that made a lot of sense to me. In fact, everything you have said today has spoken to my heart in such a deep and impactful way, and I know our parents who have kids that are struggling with their sexuality or their gender or their faith are maybe in this moment of fear, and I hope they can grasp onto something you’ve said today because I feel like this is the sweet spot, like, if we cannot react and we can respond with curiosity, what a huge impact we can have for our kids. Really, truly. Thank you, jamie.
0:19:59 – Speaker 1
Jamie has really taught us the right amount of baking soda to add to that. You know Like seriously we’re all over the food analogies, but it’s true. It is that perfect balance, that perfect combination of curiosity and letting them be their own self, but then also coming alongside of them with that submissiveness to God. Jamie, we just love you, we thank you. Every time I’m with you, i feel like I’m literally in a counseling session and I love it. I come away better, a better parent, because of you and your advice. For those in San Antonio, how can they reach you?
0:20:35 – Speaker 3
Yes, and so you can find me. My email is hello at jamiemershawncounselingcom J-A-M-I-E-M-E-R-S-H-O-N. And I also have an Instagram account with all my information on it, so that’s in Facebook as well. So Jamie Mershawn Counseling is where you can find me.
0:20:55 – Speaker 1
Awesome. If you are inside the state of Texas, they can contact you, because you do telehealth too, right.
0:21:01 – Speaker 3
Telehealth exactly, And so I’m licensed in Texas, So anywhere in Texas that works for me.
0:21:06 – Speaker 1
Thank you, Jamie. No-transcript.
Transcribed by https://podium.page