0:00:00 – Speaker 1
nextTalk sponsored by nextTalk.org contains content of a mature nature. No-transcript. nextTalk sponsored by nextTalk.org contains content of a mature nature. Parental guidance is advised. Upbeat music playing. Welcome to nextTalk Radio with Mandy and Kim every Saturday at 10 am on AM 630, the Word. Mandy is the author of Talk and I’m the director of nextTalk, a non-profit organization helping parents’ cyberparent. Follow us on Facebook, instagram and Twitter, find videos and subscribe to our weekly podcast at nextTalk.org. Are you ready for the nextTalk?
0:00:33 – Speaker 2
Today’s show is about teaching our kids how to handle stress. You know, over the last several weeks we’ve been talking about some big topics Suicide, cyberbullying and cutting. Big stuff, heavy stuff, Heavy stuff. On the last show we had a professional counselor on the show. We focused solely on cutting, and one of the things that she told us was you know, cutting is a coping mechanism, Any kind of self-harming, and we’re seeing a surge in it, an increase in it, because kids are under an amount of stress today that is just unparalleled to anything else.
0:01:09 – Speaker 1
Yeah, she talked about coping mechanisms and, yes, the cutting, but also hair pulling. All these things that you might even see in your younger kids fidgeting with your fingers, all kinds of stuff, because the stress level is crazy.
0:01:23 – Speaker 2
Yeah, and I liked what she said. She said you know, self-harming doesn’t automatically mean you have a suicidal child on your hands, but it also shows that there’s an underlying problem that needs to be addressed, and so if that problem is not addressed, it could lead to suicidal thoughts or a severe case of depression and anxiety, that kind of thing.
0:01:44 – Speaker 1
Well, with stress and anxiety and all of that being on the forefront of our culture right now, we thought this might be a good show to pause a little bit and also do some self-reflection. Yeah, you know, we as moms and dads and families in general, are just coping with high levels of stress. How are we modeling this for our kids?
0:02:02 – Speaker 2
Yeah, if they’re seeing us freak out and, you know, go into crazy parent mode all the time and not be able to communicate in a way you know and process these high stress feelings that we’re having, we’re not teaching them healthy habits.
0:02:18 – Speaker 1
Yeah, what we model is what they usually will bring into their own coping world. So if we’re freaking out, they’re going to freak out and unfortunately it could display in different ways of coping.
0:02:29 – Speaker 2
Yeah, and the cutting is a new thing. It’s like foreign to us. I didn’t know anybody cutting when I was a kid, but today it’s like very prevalent.
0:02:37 – Speaker 1
It’s really common. I do want to say if your child is depressed or has severe anxiety, please see a medical doctor, Get referred to a counselor or a psychologist. Love on your child, of course, but this is this show is specifically about dealing with stress that has not reached that level of severity.
0:02:56 – Speaker 2
It’s really about being proactive and preventative. Like what can we do so our kids don’t reach the stress level where they start self-harming or they go into addictions or whatever? We’re going to do a show on addictions next, because I think that’s another way kids cope with stress. But, yeah, it’s just like trying to prevent it before it gets to that point. That’s what this conversation is really about today. Yeah, well teen stress.
0:03:18 – Speaker 1
It’s a thing, it’s huge. I don’t have teenagers yet. I have people in my life that do, and that is a very common conversation Is the level of stress and anxiety they’re dealing with. The culture has shifted and you add in social media and all these other things and our kids are freaking out.
0:03:35 – Speaker 2
Let me give you a quote, yeah, from the American Psychological Association. This is a quote. Studies find that anxiety has increased so much that typical school children during the 1980s reported more anxiety than child psychiatric patients did during the 1950s. So let’s talk about this for a minute, because the 1980s, that’s us, that’s us, that’s when we were in school we didn’t have near the stress that our kids have.
0:04:06 – Speaker 1
No, not at all.
0:04:07 – Speaker 2
I didn’t have these AP classes that counted for college. I didn’t have club sports. That wasn’t a thing when I was.
0:04:16 – Speaker 1
No, it’s interesting. I think, that kids are trying to juggle a level of expectation for sports and for academics that is beyond anything we’ve ever seen before. And then that Social media, social media you add that in there.
0:04:33 – Speaker 2
I mean, I don’t even know how to process social media. Sometimes it makes me anxious like I have to step away from it, and this is a whole new thing. And so you know, if you’ve got this quote saying kids have more anxiety than than people in the 1950s, the psychiatric patient, and they’re saying 1980s, imagine now 2017 yeah. I mean, I can’t even imagine and here’s the thing stats, things are changing so fast, studies are being done, but we we can’t keep up with it.
It’s such a rapid increase because of technology and how it’s changing.
0:05:11 – Speaker 1
You know what I think is one of the hardest parts about this conversation is, yes, we need to do some self-reflection. Look at what’s like for me, I’ll be honest, when my environment starts to get crazy because I’ve over scheduled yeah, because I haven’t given my myself enough sleep, I haven’t nourished myself Well, I haven’t spent quality time in conversation with my husband. I know the factors, I know what it is and I can feel it welling up, and then it breaks loose Like crazy town, and it usually comes in the form of yelling about something that important, like you know what I mean. Yeah, break over something Stupid, stupid, just not important.
And then kids are crying and they’re like why, my mommy, why? And then you think they’re going to be in with the psychiatrist and you’ve ruined them for life and it’s this whole thing. It happens over and over in all of our homes to some degree and you know learning how to cope with that. But I think the first part of that is recognizing it in ourselves and helping our kids recognize it in themselves and and listening when they do, which is what I think we’re missing. We’re missing it. We’re missing.
0:06:24 – Speaker 2
Well, we’re so stressed out I’m speaking from my family, yes I’m so stressed out that sometimes, when my kids are talking, I’m thinking about all my stress and all my to-do lists and I’m not really hearing their stress. Yeah, so I’ve got two things going on I’m not dealing well with my stuff and then I’m not hearing what they need because they’re stressed out.
0:06:43 – Speaker 1
Let me give you a good example of this. I have a dear friend that her daughter came home one day on a Friday and just started bawling and she called me and she’s like I just don’t get it. You know she wanted to play soccer, so we have her in soccer, we have her in dance, and you know she loves dance. And then she does an art class on Thursdays. And you know we’re on the weekend, we have soccer games and we do a family thing with our whole extended family every Sunday night, this big dinner, and she’s going through, she’s like, all the things that she likes to do. Why is she telling me that she’s overwhelmed and crying?
And you know I put myself in that same position because sometimes my kids will say we’re tired, we just want to go home, mom, we don’t want to get up, we don’t want to go, we just want to lay on the couch. It’s easy to ignore when our kids, especially when they’re younger, are telling us I am just overwhelmed, I need a break, it’s too much, it doesn’t mean. Anything you’re doing is bad. Soccer’s great, family gatherings are great, all at club sports and art and music.
All good things, but if it’s too much then it becomes a bad thing and we’ve got to be okay with saying no. And I think our middle class world a lot of times says well, if you’re successful, this is what your family looks like, You’re in all these activities, You’re doing all this and our kids are stressed. So this dear friend I was sharing with her that I am an introvert. People don’t believe that I love social situations for a minute. Then I need to be alone to recharge, and her daughter’s very much the same. It’s not that she doesn’t enjoy those things, but she needs a break.
And this mama she recharges, being with people and so recognizing how our kids are different than us, how they recharge and what their limit is, is what I think we’re missing.
0:08:26 – Speaker 2
It’s so true. It’s so true. I, just, my husband and I and my daughter, we’re all introverts. My son not so much.
0:08:34 – Speaker 1
He’s a special guy, he’s a talker.
0:08:37 – Speaker 2
Now he does like his downtime and he likes to be left alone, but he’s a talker more than any of us. We’re good just sitting on the couch and watching a game or something and nobody’s speaking, but not my son. He has to tell us what’s happening, he has to walk us through, but it’s just recognizing where they are and how they’re communicating their stress and finding that balance. You know that really works for the whole family, works for the introverts and the extroverts in your family, and figuring that out, I think, is key on this journey.
0:09:09 – Speaker 1
Well, and with older kids now, because mine are younger so it looks a little bit different with activities and stuff. Overscheduling is what I think for the younger moms we really have to be aware of and not feeling pressured that, oh they’re three, it’s time for soccer, oh they’re five, dance class. You really have to look at your child and see what the schedule and the family looks like. But as they get older, I feel like school pressure is at an all-time high now and it is. It sounds crazy to me.
0:09:36 – Speaker 2
So let me tell you what this is like, because I’ve just entered this stage, you know, and I have my heads up parents telling me it’s a whole new ball game in middle school and high school with these college classes or whatever, Because I grew up in Indiana we didn’t have these classes that you could take with college. I don’t even know if it was a thing back then. I don’t know. But my daughter’s in eighth grade. She has four high school credits that will count on her transcript. It will determine where she gets into college. It is high stress.
0:10:05 – Speaker 1
And she’s in eighth grade. Well, and you add in the star testing, you add in the star testing.
0:10:10 – Speaker 2
And then you know, from a parent perspective, you know, I always thought, once my kid hits a certain age, they’re going to have a job. Because I want them to have that responsibility, I want to be able to teach them those background on finances, about earning a paycheck, like all of that right. But I’m looking at it now kind of from a different perspective because, you know, I want her to do well in these high school classes that she’s taking, because it saves us money in college, like she could graduate with her first year or second year of college completed, and so I really want her to focus on that. But I’m trying to figure out, okay, when does she get a job? When does she focus on the classes? You know, figuring all that out is a big puzzle to put together for your family. Well, and when?
0:10:51 – Speaker 1
does she get to be a kid? You know, that’s, I think, one of those hard things that we forget to factor in that we got I know my generation and obviously the generation before just time to be a kid just to do nothing. I mean, you never get to do that again, yeah. And you know, adding the social media, they’re growing up even faster, yeah. So I almost feel like we need to pull back more and allow them that time just to be free, without a job and without the stress, and just to play and have fun and have good conversation. Yeah, it’s just chaos.
0:11:23 – Speaker 2
Yeah, you know, in 2014, the American Psychological Association said this. Here’s another quote from them, from the APA it is alarming that teen stress experience is so similar to that of adults, so it goes right along with what you’re saying, kim. It is even more concerning that they seem to underestimate the potential impact that stress has on their physical and mental health. Oh yeah, so this study was basically saying teen stress equals that almost adults. I mean, we’re putting so much on them but they don’t realize what it’s really doing to their mental and physical health. And you know, if you add in a family that maybe is not talking them through these stress factors, you can really easily see how cutting or drug addictions could become very easily, you know.
0:12:13 – Speaker 1
A coping mechanism.
0:12:14 – Speaker 2
Yeah, yeah, and I know it’s a manipulation tool by Satan, you know, to steal, kill and destroy our families. But you can see how this can spiral and happen very easily. You know they’re going on social media seeing things about people cutting and it’s so great to get high because then you check out from reality and you feel numb or whatever and you can see how that could be appealing to them Absolutely.
0:12:38 – Speaker 1
I mean, I hate to say it.
0:12:40 – Speaker 2
Sometimes it’s appealing to me.
0:12:41 – Speaker 1
0:12:42 – Speaker 2
Yeah, we all want to escape sometimes. I mean we get stressed out.
0:12:44 – Speaker 1
Yes, and you know we should. I should is a strong word, but I feel like we should look in word first, like we started the show and say, gosh, if it’s this hard for me and they haven’t even lived a life where they’ve seen what the benefits of de-stressing are or the result of having excessive stress is, I mean, I just feel like we have to start setting the example. I don’t know about you, for me that looked like an experiment we did recently in our house around the kitchen table. I was hoping my husband could be there, but it was after my latest yelling about the remote moment.
0:13:22 – Speaker 2
Oh, that really happened, girl, I was at. I mean, she’s dishing today.
0:13:27 – Speaker 1
Yeah, things were going good. I felt like, you know we had the school thing down, you know we homeschooled part time and so our schedule looks a lot different than other families and we have some sports and some different choir and different things and we were doing well and work was going well.
0:13:43 – Speaker 2
Work-life balance we’re always talking about that, you feel like you’re killing it Me and I was like I am doing the same. That’s when you know it’s all getting real stuff.
0:13:52 – Speaker 1
When the words come out of your mouth, know that Satan is like oh, I got her now.
0:13:58 – Speaker 2
0:13:58 – Speaker 1
I feel like he’s waiting in the closet, and so that’s what happened. And my second son is my creative precious talker. He’s my extrovert, like you know. We’ll all be sitting on the couch quiet, and he is just talking up a storm and he’d be like I’m gonna go find the neighbors.
0:14:14 – Speaker 2
Let’s go find the neighbors, let’s go outside and play football. That’s my son, I swear they’re like they’re gonna be best friends and I’m exhausted.
0:14:19 – Speaker 1
I’m like son, please just snuggle me. And he’s like I’m done snuggling I wanna go play.
0:14:25 – Speaker 2
I’m always like, can we play the five second game?
0:14:27 – Speaker 1
Let’s everybody be quiet for five seconds, Like I just need quiet. Yes.
0:14:31 – Speaker 2
I’m like zip it up, and I’ve heard a book called Talk. I know, I know.
0:14:35 – Speaker 1
So we’ve all been around those people. If you have one in your family, you understand. And it was just one of those things. Like it was one thing after another, all three kids talking at the same time. The dog was licking my arm we have a new dog. It was shedding all over me, but I mean, it was just you know how it goes. One thing after another and I was like stop, and I lost it. And then my older son, who is more sensitive and sweet, starts crying and it was just a mess. It was a total mess and my daughter runs and hides behind the ottoman. She’s like that’s a scary face, mommy.
And then I felt like a failure. So one of those days, so later that evening, at the dinner table, my husband Rewind. My husband and I had talked about stress Because he has a new job. And he needs a new outlet for that.
0:15:22 – Speaker 2
He needs you to be available To talk when he needs to talk.
0:15:25 – Speaker 1
Yes, and so we had been talking about it and modeling that for the kids. So we’re at the dinner table and I was like guys, mommy really messed it up. And they were like, yes, you did, that was a mommy fail, like it was terrible.
0:15:40 – Speaker 2
Don’t you love it when they point it out to you, you’re like thank you, OK, I get it.
0:15:44 – Speaker 1
I’m telling you, if you’re going to do this experiment, be ready for them to be honest and not get defensive, especially if you’re well, any age, really, actually any age. So my three little people and I are sitting there eating and they’re like you are terrible.
0:15:58 – Speaker 2
And I was like I know, and they just kept going on. Mom, it was bad.
0:16:01 – Speaker 1
I’m like OK, and I said well, let’s talk about some things mommy needs to do. That would help me not to get to that point. And then let’s talk about some things with you. And so we kind of did this game and we talked about things that make us feel crazy and what helps with that.
So good it was really funny, like honestly, we ended up laughing and being in tears because everybody knew everybody’s thing, but it’s not something you point out usually in the moment and they were very aware of my things. And so we decided for our family we need more of a physical outlet that’s accessible at the house. So we purchased a punching bag Nice and we even role played it, which was really fun. We sat at the dinner table and one of us would do one of our triggers and then the kids would get up and run out into the garage and punch, punch, punch, punch, punch the bag Nice. And so, anyway, for young kids, role playing, having that conversation, not being defensive, is a great tool to figure out stressors and how to cope with them in a healthy way.
0:16:59 – Speaker 2
If you’re just now tuning in, this is nextTalk Radio with Mandy and Kim every Saturday at 10 am on AM 630, the word Did you know? nextTalk Radio is listeners supported. Everything we do at our nonprofit to keep kids safe online is accomplished through donations. If you’d like to help and support our organization, go to nextTalk.org and click on give.
0:17:20 – Speaker 1
So the bottom line here is our kids are going to handle stress like we handle stress.
0:17:25 – Speaker 2
I loved the story that you just shared, kim. Yeah, that’s a great idea.
0:17:29 – Speaker 1
Well, you need to give them a way to deal with it. My two boys are real physical and one will say something that irks the other one and he’ll just punch them in the arm or kick.
You know, how kids are. It’s constant the jabs, the kicks, the physical stuff. I’m going to copy everything you say and make you crazy stuff. So we needed to find something that they could just do on their own. That was a physical outlet of that irritation, and it works for mommy too. The other day we came home, we drove up. Daddy was wet with sweat because he was punching the bag. It just works for our family. It’ll be different for yours, yeah, but you got to figure out what it is.
0:18:02 – Speaker 2
Yeah, you know, I love how you guys talked about knowing each other’s triggers and the buttons to push and stuff. The one thing I’ve been learning, too, is like knowing patterns, like knowing seasons in your life or is extra high stress and just identifying those ahead of time. I know, recently I was in this, I was in this cycle, this bad place. You know, school had just started. It was all the new activities. The calendar is all booked. Now my husband has allergies really bad, my son and so it was a time of that too. We’re not sleeping. The allergies are kicking in.
When school starts back up, my husband’s commute doubles you know, so it’s like an hour and a half each way in the car, and so his stress level is high. We’re not seeing him as much. All of these things were like culminating, yes, and I just felt like I was losing it. I felt like I was actually going crazy. I felt like our family was literally the enemy said to me your family is falling apart, you’re crazy, you’re not doing a good job, you’re not handling it well, and I remember I was telling you about it and you stopped me in my tracks and you were like Mandy majors. We had this same conversation this time last year, yep, and it was like whoa.
0:19:15 – Speaker 1
0:19:16 – Speaker 2
Like it’s so simple. But just knowing that this is a busy time of year for us, like from now on, every September I’m going to schedule the weekends, unless there’s activities or whatever. I’m not adding extra stuff in because I know this time of year is crazy for us and just you know, just recognizing that, like when is a stressful time of year and kind of not doing extra stuff during those types of year and giving yourself a little bit of a break, Absolutely.
0:19:43 – Speaker 1
I love that you shared that, because and I’m speaking to the ladies now know every month when you’re crazy.
0:19:50 – Speaker 2
And I’m just going to leave it at that. Oh yeah, I’m going to leave it on the calendar.
0:19:53 – Speaker 1
I mark it on the calendar, because then I can mentally look and say, okay, and when you’re talking myself through, and when you’re thinking I hate everybody in my family, Like because you think that sometimes you’re thinking this is why?
0:20:04 – Speaker 2
Because it is you know, I got to be aware, I got to have my guard up because I cannot act on these feelings.
0:20:11 – Speaker 1
Yes, Move it over to the thinking brain. Yes, I’m saying that.
0:20:14 – Speaker 2
You know we we’ve said the Jennifer Rothschild quote so much, but I love it. I know that’s your powerful, but they don’t always represent truth Absolutely. You got to know that sometimes your hormones and your emotions are causing you to be crazy and you have to identify that so you don’t actually speak or be mean to the people you love most Absolutely.
0:20:32 – Speaker 1
So I think identifying triggers, talking those through as a family, finding you know, noticing your patterns so key. Finding an outlet for those things Awesome. But also, what about creating a motto for your family? Oh yeah, it’s something that can give you an out.
0:20:48 – Speaker 2
So yours was punching back. You know, one time my son he was having a hard day. I mean he’s had attitude. I could tell he was stressed, all this stuff. And I looked at him one day. I said you need a reset. He said what do you mean by that? I said why don’t you just go take a bubble bath, just a quiet bubble bath? He had never really taken a bubble bath before.
Like literally and he, he did it and he was. He got out and he was like, oh my gosh, it worked. I didn’t mean for it to become like a joke in our family, but now it is. Like if I’m stressed or if my husband’s stressed, he’ll be like I think you need a bubble bath, Like I think you just need a reset. See, that’s great though that works for your family it just kind of clicked and you know, try different things. It may not always work, but you know, maybe it’s tap out, tap out.
0:21:32 – Speaker 1
That’s our adult one, for my husband and I. When you don’t want to get into it in that moment, like hey, you’re handling this really badly. Like right now you’re ruining our children. You don’t want to say that, but you know they need to step away. Okay, I like that, and that means stop what you’re saying and doing and walk away, like right now. Okay.
0:21:51 – Speaker 2
See, see, ours is dad filter, and I say this a lot on my with my husband because we’ll be driving down the road and he’ll be giving his very honest opinion about something that isn’t quite really what needs to be said and I’ll be like dad filter, dad filter, dad filter. And my kids will start cracking up and be like let him speak, we want to hear him, but it’s our family joke. Just find those little phrases or things that work for your family. Yes, you got to find ways.
0:22:18 – Speaker 1
Use real stories about yourself.
0:22:20 – Speaker 2
0:22:21 – Speaker 1
I know it’s hard to hear but or hard to do. But my kids love it when I tell it this sounds bad. It’s not self deprecating stories, but stories about where I messed up. They love to say yes, mommy, you did really do bad when you stressed out the other day, but it makes them feel like it’s okay because we’re going to work through this together and we’re going to find a solution, and it’s okay to not be perfect, and you know what.
0:22:44 – Speaker 2
Give yourself some grace. Yeah, I mean, I have this thing that I’ve put on myself, that I expect healthy homemade meals every night, I don’t know where that comes from? I have no idea where that comes from, but cooking channel.
My husband and kids really don’t care, and so the last couple of weeks we’ve had something every night. Every night we are out of the house, and so we were getting tired of crock pot meals Like I could only do so much crock pot right. And so I came up with this plan. I’m like I’m going to buy all these things. Some of them are healthy, some of them are not, and I’m going to make a list. And y’all are it’s, it’s your on your own. It’s like a restaurant. I put this actually on my Facebook page at author Mandy majors, and one girl said she said we call it yo, yo, you’re on your own which I love.
Oh, you’re on your own.
0:23:26 – Speaker 1
0:23:27 – Speaker 2
I’m like every night is yo yo. Now I love it. I think Sharon said that on my Facebook page and I was like, yes, but it has just been so much pressure relieved for me and, quite frankly, they’re still eating pretty healthy. Like they went through the fruit, I had to go get more fruit because they’re they’re relying on that, which is great the fruit and veggies. They’re doing salads or doing baked potatoes. But just give yourself a break. Don’t set expectations on yourself. It’s okay if your house is not clean. It’s okay if not everything is in its spot. Give yourself a break.
0:23:59 – Speaker 1
We all need it. And guess what your kids do too. If you see that your kids are stressed out, if they bust out in tears at the end of the day, if they’re quieter than normal, if they’re talking a mile a minute and it just sounds like they are on the edge. It’s going to look different for every kid, but please recognize it. Please talk them through that. Please recognize that they need help to find a solution for the high stress level. They may not even recognize it, but you need to.
0:24:30 – Speaker 2
It’s our job. It may come out in attitude, it may come out in anger, it may come out in sassiness, it may come out in different ways, but you definitely need to recognize when they’re stressed and help them. You know, it’s pretty simple, like reduce the chores, like when there’s a season of your life where it’s super crazy busy. Maybe you’ll say, hey, you don’t have to make your bed for the next two weeks because I know you’ve got this going on. Or I’ll take care of this laundry today because I know you’ve got this going on. You just let them know you’re on their team. You know, show up to school with their favorite Starbucks or Sonic drink and just say I know you’re stressed.
I love you. I love that You’re awesome. Just little things that can make a big difference to tell your kids I’m on your team.
0:25:13 – Speaker 1
For our wrap up segment, let’s talk about these three points Recognize that stress is an all time high for us and our kids. Kids will handle stress like we do. Create healthy habits to model for them and healthy outfits. And number three, talk about real examples of how you’re both coping with stress.
0:25:33 – Speaker 2
Thanks for joining us on nextTalk Radio with Mandy and Kim every Saturday at 10 am on AM 630, the word. You are not alone trying to figure out how to parent in this digital world. We are here with practical solutions to help you. Follow us on Facebook, instagram and Twitter, find videos and subscribe to our weekly podcast at nextTalk.org. Are you ready for the nextTalk?
Transcribed by https://podium.page