Kids and Mental Health with Amy Morin on the James Altucher show with Robyn and James Altucher

Check out Episode Page and Show Notes

Key Takeaways

  • Parents don’t recognize depression in their kids because they expect depression to look like it does for adults – sad, lethargic
  • If a child feels depressed, they should reach out to a trusted adult – it doesn’t have to be a parent
  • If your child asks to talk to a therapist, don’t hesitate to let them go
  • Opening up to a non-parent is healthy because the child doesn’t feel like they are being judged
  • Coping strategies are best learned before a child is depressed – it puts tools in their mental toolbox
  • Kids need to learn when to say no to their friends – they don’t realize the power of no
  • Resentful kids grow up to be adults who act the same way
  • Teach kids to be gracious – It will serve them well in adulthood

Intro

Amy Morin (t:@AmyMorinLCSW) is a psychotherapist, mental strength trainer, an international bestselling author and co-author of 13Things Strong Kids Do

How Do Kids Know When they Should Find Someone to Talk To?

  • It’s difficult because when they’re experiencing depression for the first time they often don’t recognize it
  • Parents don’t recognize depression in their kids either – they expect depression to look like it does for adults
  • Adults who are depressed look sad and don’t have much energy
  • Kids are more irritable when depressed– they struggle with almost everything
  • Some kids do ask to see someone. If they ask, let them go to therapy!

Five People To Talk To

  • Have kids make a list of five people they feel they can talk to in advance of them needing it
  • Why? because when they are depressed their brain isn’t working right
  • “One of the biggest complications when treating mental illness is people have to accept that, yeah, my brain’s not trustworthy right now, but I do have someone else in my life whose can give me guidance that I can trust”- Amy Morin
  • If a child feels depressed, they should reach out to a trusted adult – it doesn’t have to be a parent
  • Kids should learn that they don’t necessarily need to know everything
  • “Don’t expose children to hardships just to toughen them up. The world is tough enough.”- Amy Morin

Death of a Parent

  • When a parent passes away, children should find someone to talk to – not necessarily the surviving parent
  • Opening up to a non-parent is healthy because the child can open up and not feel they are being judged
  • Sometimes kids don’t want to go to the other parent because they feel that parent is grieving and don’t want to burden them
  • But every experience is different – sometimes if a child sees a mom not crying, they will interpret it as the mom not caring
  • It is one of the hardest situations because you can’t fix it and you can’t protect them

Focus on the Basics of Mental Health

  • Communication is key – especially when kids are exposed to real-life situations, like their parents arguing
  • It’s helpful when kids label their thoughts
    • E.g., “I’ll never be good at this”- they’ll learn ‘this is my depression talking’
  • Coping strategies are best learned before a child is depressed – it puts coping tools in their toolbox
  • Focus on the things they have control over:
    • What can I control?
    • They should focus on what they can do not what they can’t do or what their friends are doing
  • Focus on what their behavior is going to be today
  • It’s good to have alone time – avoid the FOMO pitfall

Calculated Risks

  • Teach kids how to take calculated risks
  • There are different kinds of risks – they do not always align with the fear they induce
  • Teach your child when to say no – kids don’t realize the power of no
  • If a friend wants to copy their homework, it’s okay to say no – many don’t want to be “rude” to their friends
  • Kids don’t have to be victims- they can set healthy boundaries for themselves

Celebrate Other Peoples Successes

  • Learning not to be jealous is great for mental health
  • Don’t look at people/friends as competitors
  • Instead of focusing on their friend’s A or great sports stats, teach kids that these successes don’t preclude them from succeeding
  • Low self-worth issues magnify feelings of jealousy
  • Resentful kids grow up to be adults who do same thing: spending time being angry at social media and other’s successes
  • Teach kids to be gracious! It will serve them well in adulthood

Persistence Pays

  • It so easy to give up on things
  • “If you’re working on self-growth, and trying to change your life, you need to put in time and energy and effort. It’s not like an Amazon order”- Amy Morin
  • Sometimes the strength of persistence happens so slowly you don’t even notice it
  • It’s time to throw in the towel when something doesn’t line up with your goals

First Steps

  • If you suspect depression in a child, develop common language: “is that a blue thought or true thought?”
  • Talk to your physician – they have screening tools
  • Have kids start with one or two mental health exercises and build slowly
  • Mental skills need practice
    • E.g., Have them make a negative manifesto – this is what I WON’T do
  • Avoiding certain things is as important as doing things

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Notes By EWerbitsky

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