Fresh Leaf Forever

Teen Mental Health and its impact on a sustainable future

March 13, 2023 Vai Kumar interviews Vanessa Elias Season 3 Episode 2
Teen Mental Health and its impact on a sustainable future
Fresh Leaf Forever
More Info
Fresh Leaf Forever
Teen Mental Health and its impact on a sustainable future
Mar 13, 2023 Season 3 Episode 2
Vai Kumar interviews Vanessa Elias

The state of mental well being amongst children, teens, young adults has become a topic of paramount significance in recent years; not that mental health wasn't an issue in the past- it's just that there's more of acceptance to bringing it out in the open more recently.
My guest Vanessa Elias is a certified parent coach, a mental health activist, and a writer focused on helping parents realize the power they have to foster healthy family relationships. She and I sat down to unpack some of the aspects impacting the youth of today and how a sustainable future is dependent on mental well-being in our society.

Some highlights from this powerful conversation:
- Why mental health is a real world issue
- Ramifications from the pandemic
- Need for us to show up for our children and ways to accomplish this best
- Reasons for body image issues, eating disorders, avenues to seek help
- Importance of seeking professional help
- Helicopter parenting versus free range parenting
- Need to let go of kids and not monitor
- How culture impacts parenting and how to "raise adults"
- Screen use, impact and setting boundaries
- Sustainable future and mental well-being
- Tangible takeaways, action items

A conversation that emphasizes on how kids need scaffolding and not a 360 monitoring ; redefining what it means to be a good parent, and establishing meaningful connection versus superficial connection- with such riveting insights, I could find joy and more hope for the future. I hope every listener does and can spread this further!

Vanessa Elias's social media handle is @thrivewithaguide and her website is https://www.thrivewithaguide.com

Send us a Text Message.

Buzzsprout Get your podcast launched!
Start for FREE

Enjoy PIOR Living products
Enjoy PIOR Living products at a 20% discount and free shipping on orders over $75 Code FLF20

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase, I may receive a commission at no extra cost to you.

Support the Show.

Videos available on YouTube channel.
Follow host Vai on socials - Instagram , YouTube, LinkedIn for thought leadership content.
Head to my website for enlightening blogs & service offerings.
This podcast comes to you from Listen Ponder Change LLC, founded by Vai Kumar.
Every support the show contribution is much appreciated !!
Subscribe https://www.buzzsprout.com/1436179/support and help us amplify our voice and reach!

Fresh Leaf Forever +
Join me in this cause addressing issues of real world impact.
Starting at $3/month
Support
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

The state of mental well being amongst children, teens, young adults has become a topic of paramount significance in recent years; not that mental health wasn't an issue in the past- it's just that there's more of acceptance to bringing it out in the open more recently.
My guest Vanessa Elias is a certified parent coach, a mental health activist, and a writer focused on helping parents realize the power they have to foster healthy family relationships. She and I sat down to unpack some of the aspects impacting the youth of today and how a sustainable future is dependent on mental well-being in our society.

Some highlights from this powerful conversation:
- Why mental health is a real world issue
- Ramifications from the pandemic
- Need for us to show up for our children and ways to accomplish this best
- Reasons for body image issues, eating disorders, avenues to seek help
- Importance of seeking professional help
- Helicopter parenting versus free range parenting
- Need to let go of kids and not monitor
- How culture impacts parenting and how to "raise adults"
- Screen use, impact and setting boundaries
- Sustainable future and mental well-being
- Tangible takeaways, action items

A conversation that emphasizes on how kids need scaffolding and not a 360 monitoring ; redefining what it means to be a good parent, and establishing meaningful connection versus superficial connection- with such riveting insights, I could find joy and more hope for the future. I hope every listener does and can spread this further!

Vanessa Elias's social media handle is @thrivewithaguide and her website is https://www.thrivewithaguide.com

Send us a Text Message.

Buzzsprout Get your podcast launched!
Start for FREE

Enjoy PIOR Living products
Enjoy PIOR Living products at a 20% discount and free shipping on orders over $75 Code FLF20

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase, I may receive a commission at no extra cost to you.

Support the Show.

Videos available on YouTube channel.
Follow host Vai on socials - Instagram , YouTube, LinkedIn for thought leadership content.
Head to my website for enlightening blogs & service offerings.
This podcast comes to you from Listen Ponder Change LLC, founded by Vai Kumar.
Every support the show contribution is much appreciated !!
Subscribe https://www.buzzsprout.com/1436179/support and help us amplify our voice and reach!

Speaker 1: 0:09

Welcome to Freshleaf Forever, a podcast that gives you fascinating insights week after week. Here's your host, vaikumar. 
Hey folks, welcome to another episode on Podcast Freshleaf Forever. Today I have here with us Vanessa Elias. She's a certified parent coach, a mental health activist, a community leader, a speaker and a writer focused on helping parents realize the power they have to foster healthy family relationships. She has been featured in national, state and local media and she's very passionate about learning the current evidence-based practices in mental health and has several certifications and trainings. To her credit, she's the founder of Thrive with a guide and is making significant positive shift in her community. Hey, vanessa, welcome to the show. It's such an honor to have you here.

Speaker 2[Vanessa Elias]: 1:13

Thank you so much for having me, Vaikumar. I'm so glad to be here.

Speaker 1 [Vai Kumar]: 1:16

Okay, mental health is such a real-world issue now and that's your primary focus of work, why don't we get started with what led you to become a mental health activist in the first place? I think that will give a great base for listeners as to what got you involved in this profession.

Speaker 2: 1:39

Sure, I actually have a degree in psychology, so I've always been interested in the human mind and behavior, and basically it's through my own family's experience. We were living abroad and one of my children had always been a tricky child and things got more and more challenging and I really struggled to learn how to help, and living abroad was very much alone, didn't know how to find the resources I needed. At times we were living in countries with a different language and I suffered incredibly and in the dark, so to speak. And so when we moved back to the US, I knew that I needed to reach out, that I needed to be involved with mental health, to understand it for my own family and then, as a result of that, to help other families. That's been actually a saving grace for me is to know that the hell and suffering I'm going through I could someday help with someone else. And I've also learned that it's not just unlucky DNA that causes a lot of these mental health challenges, it's our environment and our culture environment. So one of my passions is to go what I call upstream. To paraphrase Desmond Tutu, it's not just pulling people out of the river, but how can we stop them from falling in in the first place?

Speaker 1: 3:14

Oh, absolutely. I think that's very well said. So, given the pandemic and us having sort of come out of it although we still hear about friends and family coming down with COVID still what do you think is the state of overall well-being amongst children, teens, young adults, like across the board? What is it that you're seeing?

Speaker 2: 3:40

They're really struggling. They're struggling more intensely and they are struggling at younger and younger ages Kids in elementary school having suicidal thoughts. School refusal is a big one through all ages and in general there was a mental health crisis happening before the pandemic, but the pandemic put gasoline on the crisis and really you could say there's a good side to it is that we are all talking about it more. There were many of us that were screaming from the rooftops before the pandemic and now this has become, you know, a topic of the nation. We all realize the significance of it the Surgeon General's report on the youth crisis last year. So they're struggling, they're struggling.

Speaker 1: 4:27

Sort of a commonplace issue, more or less. Now People are like ready to allude to the fact that, hey, you know what I'm going through it, Although you know like a taboo topic probably, but I think now it's. The good thing is the positive shift, like you said, is people are willing to talk about it. So how, then, is showing up for our children? How significant do you think that aspect is? I mean, given your own personal story and what caused you to start this, even as a profession, get more involved and stuff like that, based on whatever you're seeing, how, then, the ramifications from the pandemic and everything, how could you emphasize the fact that we need to show up for our children more? I'm sure you're noticing that aspect, right.

Speaker 2: 5:12

Absolutely, and I don't mean show up to games. Those are something that we've been doing. You know, showing up to in brain and cold and all of that. That's not what I'm talking about, because actually that's something we've been doing, which I don't think is a good thing. We've martyred too much of ourselves for our children and, honestly, I'm not sure where we're role-modeling when we do that, because I think our kids look to us. You know, I have so many times parents say, oh, fourth game of the day. Or you know, yeah, out in the freezing cold. Our kids don't want us to. You know, make ourselves miserable. So when we're talking about showing up, it's more of taking care of ourselves, believe it or not. One of the things that I emphasize is not martyring right, especially moms. We give so much to our jobs, to our families, to our children, and our cup is empty. There's nothing left for us. And so when we take care of ourselves, we can show up for our kids because we are whole and we have something to give. You know, it's that old oxygen mask on yourself first. It really is important and we need to prioritize our own well-being. And also, you know, I think so many kids don't want to grow up now. It's actually a real concern that I have so many kids don't want to get driver's licenses this whole failure to launch or, as I like to call it, delayed launch, because they look to us, our adult lives, and think like wait, what I'm going to have this pain now and then more pain later, you know. Rather, I think we try in our society think of you know pain and then gain, and so I think it's really important for us as adults to be living lives with joy and having our own friends and having our own lives, because that fills our cup and is role-modeling to our kids, that we don't have to just give everything to someone else and then we're in a place like we're not depleted emotionally, we get recharged so we can come back and be there for our kids and be fully present, and I think that's really important.

Speaker 1: 7:12

I think they'd rather see us happy and see us role model, that joy and the connection aspect rather than any lamenting factor, correct?

Speaker 2: 7:24

Right, and I'm not even talking about lying Like. I'm a big fan of living out loud, authentically, so it's not like you know, you don't want to complain about your work. You can have a hard day, and I think that's really important because our kids look to us as if we've got everything figured out right. They think they don't know the struggle we had to get where we were or you know, they look at us as complete, perfect people and so living out loud, authentically is really important to let them know that it's the messages helping them learn how to, that they can do hard things, that life is not all easy. It is. It's helping our children see that life is full of joy and hard things that we can do.

Speaker 1: 8:03

Mm-hmm, mm-hmm. And children seem to go through so much in terms of so many different angles, right. They kind of worry about themselves, worry about us, worry about their surroundings in terms of the societal pressure on them, and so much. What, then, is the reason for eating disorders and such? There seems to be so much of body image issues that are just very significant these days and yet that seems to be an ignored topic, right? So, in terms of us showing up for our children and in terms of kids going through several different things, where from can we bring this real sense of connection, vanessa, yeah, that's really.

Speaker 2: 8:45

I mean, the eating disorders are a really big issue for boys and girls. They have skyrocketed since the pandemic. I read somewhere it's like gone up 200%, and I think it's one of those examples of our best intentions with unintended consequences, of like health class, you know counting, learning to count calories and labeling foods good or bad and it starts in middle school. There are so many kids in middle school girls especially that are not eating lunch, that walk around or they say I don't have breakfast, and it's a bit of a competition too, which is really concerning. But I think as parents, we are trying to do our very best, and so we're trying to create whole people and talking about what's healthy and why not. So it's best intentions. I never want parents to feel like they're at blame. The big part of this also is social media, girls especially. There was just the report from the CDC saying how girls especially are suffering because girls tend to compare themselves more, and so social media is just talk about fuel to a fire. It provides so much opportunity to look at yourself and criticize all those things about you as you look, you know, do the selfie, but then also all these you know what I eat in a day, or how a person looks, or it's a very warped sense of what is normal. And so the body dysmorphic disorder, you know, seeing yourself not as you really are, grossly exaggerated features, and then just the eating disorder. Right it's. Also control can be part of it. During the pandemic, we can not control a lot of things in our life, but we can control what goes in and out of our body. Also, exercise. As a culture we're so into fitness above all else and oftentimes what we look like rather than who we are. So this all feeds into it. And unfortunately, so many practitioners, medical doctors they don't have training in eating disorders. So someone may come in and their child, they're concerned about their child and they're like, oh, they haven't lost weight, they're okay. Just because they don't lose weight doesn't mean they're okay, it's the behaviors. So understanding, going to someone, going to a national educational alliance on eating disorders also feast National Alliance on Eating Disorders has a screening tool. So if you're concerned about someone you love, you can go to that and look, because eating disorders come in all shapes and sizes and boys and girls. And then we also need to look in terms of showing up for our kids. What are we talking about with food? Do we say like, oh, it was bad. Today I had a sandwich, or I was right? So those are important things for us to know that the way we speak matters. There's no good and bad foods. All foods fit. Often, again, the best intentions of a health class or a doctor's comment or something can have very detrimental impact. And eating disorders are really tricky and they will try very hard to hide from you. I always separate them from the child, from the person. They're like their own beast and they will do what they can to not have you see them. So it's not easy, but if you go to reach out, find those resources, that's gonna be a great first step.

Speaker 1: 12:02

Uh-huh yeah, and I think it's okay to admit to that vulnerability, or rather, than shying away from the problem, and it's important to seek professional help, like you said right there. And the reason we are even talking about all this is because all these tie back into the mental well-being of that overall person, right, and we are seeing this more in the younger generation not that adults don't have mental health issues. I think it's all across the board, but I think it's worth highlighting here because that's what is happening. And then there's this drunkorexia, right.

Speaker 2: 12:37

That's something right at college, like I just learned about that this past year is they're at college it's something called drunkorexia when they don't eat because they were out drinking the day before or they're gonna be out drinking, so they don't wanna eat and that's the problem. So much of this disordered eating is like a cultural norm, especially in college, and so it's hard to know what is normal and what is not, because you're seeing it around you. But yeah, it's absolutely. A first place is to have open communication. I think that's one of the things I have learned over the course of however many years I've been doing this is there's a myth out there that if you talk about something, you're gonna put the idea in someone's head. So sex porn, suicide, eating disorders, anything that talking about something doesn't cause it. It doesn't put someone ideas in someone's head. But if someone's thinking about those things or struggling with those things, that's an opportunity for them to sort of come out with it, to come out with it to come clean. So I think that's a really important thing for people to know.

Speaker 1: 13:43

Okay, perfect, you brought up college kids right there. Leads me to this question Sometimes, parents are completely oblivious as to what's going on with their college age kids, right? So if they are truly suffering, how then can this connection aspect come through effectively and how can parents be of help to their children when kids are going through, say like an eating disorder phase?

Speaker 2: 14:10

Well, I mean, it's not a phase. I think that's like an important thing to know If they're struggling with an eating disorder. I think that's a really common thing to say like, oh, it's a phase. So connection is the thing that saves our kids right. That's absolutely all across the board, no matter what age, and connection is not tracking them. Okay. So many parents it gives them a sense of control that they've got their kid on 360 and they know where they are. That's not what it is. And connection is not texting them 20 times a day, it's having a conversation, checking in with them, having a plan. And taking in the predictions, right, right, yeah, a planned check-in Every Sunday at four. We do a Zoom and we talk and we have to make sure that we were. Like the energy that we're coming off with, right, it's curiosity and it's confidence. Right, if we're coming off as a fearful, like, what's going on? What are you? You didn't text me all week, are you okay? Right, they're picking up. I mean, those are even the words coming out of our mouth, but it's also the energy that we show up with that matters, and our kids. What's really, really important is I have learned that kids are sometimes afraid to tell their parents things, and not because they think they're gonna get in trouble. They think they're gonna hurt their parents or cause them sadness or upset. So that's why, going back to that thing of taking care of yourself, it's so important for your kids to know they don't need to protect you, that you're their rock, right, you can be ready for anything that they come to you with. So I think that's a really important thing. And if you have kids, that's for college students, right, having a weekly check-in and being a person that they can come to and they don't have to worry you're gonna overreact.

Speaker 1: 15:57

Right, yeah, I think it's important for parents to kind of come off and really not show too much anxiety. Instead infuse positivity in their children, right? How can we kind of come across and make them feel that the world is a safer place and is it really safe than what it used to be when you and I were growing up?

Speaker 2: 16:18

Exactly. I think that and that's a huge factor of this I think we have let I use this phrase all the time is we let fear drive the bus. We are afraid for their safety, we're afraid of their future work, we're so fear focused and that is putting alarm bells in our kids and making them think that the world's not a safe place. Really, those of us that grew up in the 80s that the world is a safer place, especially the crime stats in America are way lower than they were. So we have this perception of it, and media is an issue right, news and all of this and cultural right. But it's really important that we have confidence in our kids' abilities, we give them opportunities to learn because we have. I once wrote a piece of that. We're raising our kids in captivity but expecting them to survive when we release them into the wild, and that's what it needs. Our kids' needs experiences and I think that's something they've been robbed of. They've been robbed of free play these last couple of decades decline in play, increase in anxiety and depression. Things have happened to them. They've had organized sports and activities scheduled and they haven't had an opportunity to really develop their own interests, passions and, most importantly, their internal locus of control. So if your kid is at home still and not at college, you have this wonderful opportunity to allow them to experience things with your supportive environment. Right, it's not one or the other. I always talk about suffocation or abandonment as the two options that parents see. Right, we just let them go or we are all over them, smothering them. And what our kids need is a middle path. They need us to scaffold them as they try new things. Right, there's the. Julie Lithcott-Hames, who is the author of one of my favorite books, which is how to Raise an Adult, talks about the four steps that you start with doing something for your child, then your child watches you do it, then you watch them do it, and then they do it on their own. And that is appropriate for so many different things, and the more, I think, when you feel like your world's out of your control, that's when you suffer. Right, you're having depression, or I mean depression is about thoughts of the past that could have been, and anxiety is about worry about the future what could be. So that's another piece of just staying in the now, I should add.

Speaker 1: 18:59

Yeah, that's where the mindfulness aspect comes in, right, yeah, yeah, back in a moment with our guest on Fresh Leaf Forever, you actually beautifully pointed out the need to, you know, kind of scaffold, but not, you know like, be overly controlling, right? What is then the distinction, or how do we kind of have that fine line of delineation between helicopter parenting versus, I think, what you call free range parenting, right? Yeah, and even that eating disorder and things like that that we talked about, vanessa, is that even stemming from? Do children feel like, hey, my parent is a helicopter parent and that's probably why I'm not gonna go confide in he or she that I'm even going through whatever I'm going through? That's a tricky one.

Speaker 2: 19:53

I mean, I think eating disorders have their root in a biological right. There's a biological element of it, environmental, and I think it's complicated, I think, with the helicopter parenting, the messaging that kids get is they're not capable, and that's the big concern is you need help with this, you need to be told this. And what happens is they look into their parents and they think, well, yeah, you do, do it better, you do it. That's what I mean when they think of us as perfect, right, no, you go do that, mom. No, I can't ask the teacher or I can't order this, or because you do it better. And so that's one of the problems with this. It's the best intention, right, we want to help our kids, we want to protect them and we want them to be happy, but really what we want them to be is brave and so but you think you, having lived in several places across the globe, do you think culture has anything to do with health? It's absolutely huge and that's how I got so involved with. I was one of the co-founders of a free play task force here in my town, because when I moved back to the US after living abroad, raising my kids abroad for six years, I was shocked at how we it's coddling our kids in so many ways in terms of their physical safety and the risks that are always involved. Don't try, you know, don't climb the tree, you could fall. What about the risk of not climbing the tree? Right, you climb a tree. You're like look, I did this, I feel good, I see the world from a. You know, we don't think about the risks of not doing something like that, or?

Speaker 1: 21:24

how about, you know, letting them get wet in the rain, even for like a minute?

Speaker 2: 21:28

Exactly, that's one of my favorite stories, but also I tell parents that well, part of it is redefining what it means to be a good parent, and I think that in America how specifically where I've lived almost the last 10 years raising my kids, the how we define being a good parent is not good for the child or the parent. It's actually easy for me now, but I had to really consciously not go pick up my kid at the end of the driveway on a pouring day. I needed her to learn that she could walk home in the rain and be okay, and it seems like that's counterintuitive to what we're learning. Right, we're learning that, oh my God, a good mom would go pick up their kid and have a nice room, cozy, car and ready. But that's the kind of stuff is the unintended consequence of some of our actions that are out of love.

Speaker 1: 22:19

Okay, and what about, say, mental health and screen news and social media? That's just like. How is that contributing to all of it that we are seeing this increased rate of anxiety and this increased rate of? You know, the connection seems like human connection seems more superficial these days than the digital connection, right, well, it's what it's happening right, absolutely.

Speaker 2: 22:43

And I mean, I think the social media and just the technology in general, not even just social media just has isolated us in many ways, plus our fear. So our kids aren't playing outside, right, we know where they are physically, but then we've handed them this device where they could be anywhere in the world, quite frankly, and that's also increased their isolation. And then the time spent on social media you know it's not even just what they're doing on it, it's what they're not doing because they're spending their time on it. Parents are in such a struggle to they don't want their kids to miss out whether there's things happening. They want to be in the text chain and all those things. And again, those are true. Your child will miss out on those, but also they're going to get a lot of negativity experiences as well by doing that. I'm a huge fan of the Wait Until Eighth Pledge. That's a great organization. But even if you decide to give your child a phone earlier than eighth grade, you can limit it. It doesn't have to be a free for all, so it can be. You know, you can have screen times, for instance, my 14 year old has TikTok and Instagram and Snapchat, but she has a 20 minute limit on each of those every day, so she's able to know what's going on, but it doesn't absorb her entire afternoon or evening. And then that's. The other thing is the screens have been too much of a part of our entire life. So no phones, no devices in the bedroom, absolutely not. Yes, as their upper years junior and senior in high school they need some practice, right, so they can have it on the other side of their room away from their bed, but when they're younger, screens should be down. We have a tray in our kitchen and it's got a charging station. That's where all the devices go and no phones at dinner. And also no phones as you're driving around town like you're just doing daily. You know. Long road trips, that's a different thing, but no devices. The car is such a great time for connection and communication with your kids and if they're on their phones you're just a taxi driver. It's a missed opportunity and it's also what again? What are we role modeling? Are we sitting there on our phones? You know, even if it's doing work, we're not present and we're not role modeling what we should. We had to develop a rule in our house where for me to do work which is often time on social media I need to go to my office and do it. I'm not going to get out there with the rest of the family.

Speaker 1: 25:08

So yeah, we're going off, make total sense. Otherwise, you know, it's just you're like hey, instead of mom being here, it's like hey, uber is here, right, you know, I'm just here to pick you up and then you're on your phone, I guess, yeah, and then they do want us to say no, right, it's not like children want us to feel okay about them being on their devices all day long. You wrote that beautifully in one of your articles or posts on social media, and why don't I let you talk about it?

Speaker 2: 25:37

Yeah, they absolutely do. They need boundaries their brains. We don't think about us as adults with fully formed frontal cortexes, right, like how hard it is for us to not pick up our phone and not spend. You know, next thing you're like, oh my gosh, I have 30 minutes, have just gone by. You know, I have screen limits on myself on my phone, I have downtime and I have screen time. So it reminds me I think I allow our on Facebook or something a day or something. So it tells me, hey, your time is up and so we need to do that for ourselves. And if we have to do that to ourselves, imagine what these, these brains that are still very much developing, need. And my daughter said it actually the other day to me. She said something along the lines of it's good that you do because, even if I know I shouldn't, I can't stop myself. And that's true. These things are designed you watch social dilemma. They're designed to hook you in. They are a distraction. So our kids desperately need us to put limits on this, because they don't have the ability to limit themselves.

Speaker 1: 26:40

Yeah, there's so much pressure around them and whatnot. And, like you said, yeah, limit the first hour of a long drive to screen use and things like that, right, whatever you can incorporate to just make for that meaningful connection to happen. And you want kids to do hard things, and which may be hey, get wet in the rain for a minute before mom could come pick you up or dad could come pick you up and just like that. You know, stay away from your phones and, like you beautifully pointed out, your work involves social media, and same goes for me in digital media, and I have had to set myself a time limit of 15 minutes on Instagram and it my phone really reminds me, hey, you've reached your 15 minutes and if I'm looking at something which is not pertinent to what I really went in for, Aha, it come out. It just have that exit strategy in place. So I think that really helps and, as far as you know, this program is all about offering actionable Insights to our listeners, right? So is a sustainable quote-unquote sustainable future Dependent on mental health, when I said there's so much of environmental social governance aspect that companies are focusing on these days and, with all these, gen Z is transitioning into the workforce down the road if their mental well-being is at stake. What happens overall, right everywhere you know our sustainable future. Is mental health a component of that, and is that a threat? What? Where do you see us going?

Speaker 2: 28:22

Absolutely, because if we're not, oh, it doesn't matter what degree we have or what our grades were like, because if we're not okay, then we can't live to our potential. So it's absolutely critical that our mental well-being and then also with the in that book, how to raise an adult they talk about how Businesses are really struggling because kids don't know how to get from a to D. They, they want somebody to tell them and that's a byproducts of helicopter parenting do this, do this, do this so they for them to excel, their own Experiences and failures are really important. So a failure in terms of learning right, not in terms of, but the mental health Of a sustainable future is key. Something we're doing, the way we're set up, isn't working right. This is no longer just about unlucky DNA. Our environment, our cultural Environment, is toxic right now, and so we have to figure out the pressure that kids are under, the lack of connection they feel, and I think that's a really in terms of I'm all about action, so I love that. That's part of your Mission. And I think the most important thing is teens, especially because we often think teens aren't interested, they don't want to be with us, they don't want it. It's not true. Our teams need us more than ever. There's so much there. So knowing that your kids really want and need connection, that you as parents are the most important thing to your children, even if they don't make you feel like it or if you don't even feel like it. So you having connection and communication as a goal is really important, and the the ways to help you do that are to get the sleep you need For yourself put put your phone on the other side of the room if you have it in your bedroom right to get those recommended seven to nine hours of sleep, and our kids also. That's another reason Mental health is struggling because our kids are sleep deprived. They have their devices in their room and they're up at all nights. You can't function if you're not sleeping well, so that's a huge issue. Family dinners are something that are really important. I know they're hard to do with schedules, but even if you don't all eat at the same time, just sitting together and Sharing space together is really important, and one of my favorite things for families to do is the Rose and Thorn and that offers. It's one of those living out loud, authentically items, but also it enables you to learn about their day. So, rose and Thorn is what's the best part of your day and what was the worst part of your day?

Speaker 1: 30:55

And something like a strategy. You know like you consciously adopt that procedure or that Kind of an approach, if you will, to your family dinners, right?

Speaker 2: 31:06

Exactly exactly, and it is so beautiful the stories that I have from parents I've worked with who dinner time was a stressful it was arguing about the tech, putting the iPad down, not you know people getting them and now their dinners are a beautiful family connection opportunity and it's made their lives richer. And you know it's it's not easy to do, but you can do it at a different rate. Like I said, not everybody has to eat at the same time, but just being together is is really important and sharing your day and really giving your kids that connection, because when I when we're distracted by our phones, they don't feel seen right. The most important thing for every child Is to feel seen and heard and feel lovable by their parents.

Speaker 1: 31:52

Absolutely, I think I can. You have taken me down memory lane to my childhood days and I can always be so thankful for Growing up in that very beautiful and loving family where my parents and my siblings and myself I'm the youngest of their children, you know, out of four and but then the four of us, and then mom and dad, always had time together every evening and we literally, like you said I mean you have a passion into it rose and thaw and strategy or approach, but we exactly did the same thing. We talked about our day and what was the good part and what was the challenging part. So I think that definitely is a Beautiful reminder and the focus on sleep. So you have definitely given us some great pointers there when us on social coexistence and For betterment of our planet in terms of improving quality of our lives and the mental health of our children and adults alike. So such a fascinating conversation. My key takeaways have been Get enough sleep, find joy and build hope for the future and all the connection that you can make. I think certainly these have been great insights and thank you so much for taking time to join us on this show and we look forward to connecting back with you in the future. And, vanessa, would you like to add your social handle and your website here for listeners? I'll be sure to include it in the show notes as well.

Speaker 2: 33:23

Sure it's. My website is thrivewithagidecom and I'm on Twitter and Instagram and Facebook. It's thrive with the guide of Vanessa Elias. Okay, sorry, thank you so much. Thank you so much for having me. I really appreciate it, oh.

Speaker 1: 33:46

The work you do. Oh, thank you. That's very kind and, as always, listeners Follow the podcast, rate the podcast and leave a review from your podcast app of choice. Follow me on Instagram @vaipkumar. Until next time with yet another interesting guest and yet another interesting topic. It's me, Vai, saying So long.



Mental Health's Impact on Children and Teens
Supporting Eating Disorders in College-Age kids
Parenting, Confidence, and Balancing Control
Mental Health for a Sustainable Future