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Episode 225: Becoming an Emotional Safety Net For Your Child (w/ Michelle Nietert)

No matter the season of parenting you’re in, there’s one thing every parent needs to prioritize—mental health. Not just your child’s, but your own, too.

It’s easy to look at the behavioral or emotional struggles our children are exhibiting and start thinking of ways to “fix” them. What’s harder is looking inward and asking ourselves what steps we can take to nurture our mental health so we can show up for our kids in the best way. 

Joining me today is Michelle Nietert, an author, a speaker, and the Clinical Director/Founder of Community Counseling Associates. She’s also a follower of Christ, a wife, and a mother to two school-aged children who puts her mental health knowledge to use every day as she seeks to nurture a happy and healthy household.

In this episode, Michelle teaches us how to support our children through life’s challenges, how to help children who’ve experienced trauma find hope, joy, and light in life, how to work prayer into your children’s lives as they grow up, and so much more.

TAKEAWAYS FROM TODAY’S CONVERSATION:

1. Emotionally healthy kids are raised by emotionally healthy parents.

When we parent children who experience emotional struggles, it can be easy to get tunnel vision and focus only on solving their challenges. However, it’s equally important for parents and caregivers to proactively nurture our own mental health, sort through life stress, and address any areas that need emotional work so that we can provide the best, most understanding support for our children. The mental health work starts with us.

“Parents want to focus on their kids’ emotions, but we don’t realize that we have to address our own emotional childhoods.”

2. Be a safety net your child can fall back on.

Our children are bound to face emotional struggles as they grow up. We want to make sure that they feel comfortable coming to us for help when that happens. Communicate how you can relate to your child’s life obstacles instead of responding with judgment. When they open up, help them sort through their emotions and find solutions through discussion, prayer, and God’s truth.

“Your house needs to be the place not where they get more negative feedback, but where they experience being embraced—there’s no way they could mess up that can’t be recovered.”

3. Asking questions is key.

If someone you love comes to you with a problem, your first instinct might be to try to solve it for them. But often, the best way to help someone navigate their life challenges is to ask them questions. Ask your children how things make them feel and what they think the potential solutions could be. Michelle likes to ask her children what advice they think she would give them in a situation to help them verbalize the answer themselves instead of just hearing it from her.

“Questions are just so important and if we can communicate that way, we can help our kids learn to think.”

SPREAD THE WORD!

We hope this episode has helped you wherever you are on your foster care journey. That’s the goal! If so, will you tell others?

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Meet Our Guest

Licensed Professional Counselor of 25 years, Michelle Nietert is the coauthor of the best selling book Loved and Cherished, award-winning Make Up Your Mind, Managing Your Emoji’s, and the Bringing Big Emotions to a Bigger God series. A popular speaker on topics regarding mental health, faith, and parenting, she is a frequent guest on national television and podcasts, and hosts the Raising Mentally Healthy Kids podcast. She and her husband Drew have been married 20 years with two school aged children.

Foster Parents, check with your agency to see if listening to this podcast will count toward your foster care training hours!

 

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