Parenting the Mental Health Generation

Hey Parents! Amy's Kids Have Advice!

December 13, 2022 CATCH, Community Action Together for Children's Health Season 2 Episode 4
Parenting the Mental Health Generation
Hey Parents! Amy's Kids Have Advice!
Show Notes Transcript

Kids say the darnedest things.  In this episode of Parenting the Mental Health Generation, our host’s adult children join the conversation.  Shawn and Luke Oberholtzer, Amy’s kids, are in their 20s, and have some things to say about growing up, the parent-child relationship, social media and more. Our other host, Lisa, is raising two young children and soaks in all the Oberholtzers have to offer. 


So put in your earbuds, take this 30 minutes for you and join our conversation because mental health matters.

Music credit: Tune 2 go / POND 5

 © CATCH 2022 

To find all of the resources CATCH provides to caregivers of young people struggling with their mental health, go to

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CATCH, Community Action Together for Children's Health, is a 501(c)3 that provides support and education for families around mental health topics. Original content and materials from CATCH and its collaborators are for informational purposes only. They are provided as a general resource and are not specific to any person or circumstance.

Luke O. (00:00):

Parents who are listening to this, who think that their kid is particularly making wrong decisions. Most of you are wrong. Reality is that your kid is probably just living out a pretty teenager life and you know too much about it.

Amy O. (00:15):

Hi, I'm Amy o.

Dr. Lisa (00:17):

And I'm Lisa. And we are the hosts of Parenting the Mental Health Generation here. We lay it all out together and discuss the topics that concern us on our parenting journeys. It's the last episode of 2022, and we're bringing you something a little different today. I convinced Amy's adult children to join us and share their insights with me and with you about topics we've discussed during this year's podcast episodes.

Amy O. (00:45):

My son, Luke 25, joins us from Los Angeles and Shawn, my 22 year old daughter, is in Colorado. Hopefully, our trio can impart some wisdom and levity about raising children in this mental health generation.

Dr. Lisa (01:03):

A lot lies ahead for me since my boys are only five and one, and I look forward to this conversation.

Amy O.  (01:09):

So put in your earbuds. Take this 30 minutes for you. Join our conversation with Luke, Shawn, Lisa, and me.

Dr. Lisa (01:20):

Hi, Luke and Shawn, thanks for joining us today.

Luke O. (01:24):

Hello. What's up?

Shawn O. (01:26):

Happy to be here.

Dr. Lisa (01:28):

We thought before we got started on this conversation and I bombarded you with all of my questions about how to raise kids. We just hear a little bit more about you. So can each of you give us your 32nd version of where you're at in life right now and where you came from?

Luke O. (01:45):

Go ahead, Shawn.

Shawn O. (01:46):

Hi. So I live currently in Colorado Springs, Colorado. I go to the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs, and I study social work with a minor in criminal justice. And my journey with mental health started at around 15, around there, sophomore of high school. I went to GBN at the time, and while I was diagnosed with a multitude of different diagnoses, I could no longer attend Glenbook North for the sanity of my mental health. So I decided I would transfer to an alternative high school and I went to Fusion Academy. I graduated from there, and then I eventually moved out to Colorado. Yeah, doing really well right now and wanting to tell the world how well everyone else can do.

Dr. Lisa (02:44):

Oh, so glad to hear it. Thank you Shawn and Luke.

Luke O. (02:47):

Hello everyone. Mine is less interesting. I also grew up with Shawn because she's my sister and I went to Glenbrook North. I live live in Los Angeles right now. I work for a company that makes podcasts and I do audience development and numbers stuff for them. I've been out in LA for four months. Before that I was in New York for eight years, where I went to NYU, go Violets. I grew up in Northbrook. I went to the public school there Glenbrook North. My mental health journey was a breeze and a half suburbia was built for people like me, and I loved it. Have more developed thoughts now, but my mental health introspection began very much as an adult and not at all as a child. Happy to be here. Let's have some fun.

Dr. Lisa (03:46):

Thank you for, for coming on. It sounds like we're gonna have a lot of fun perspectives in this conversation. I am excited. One thing I wanted to start with, especially as Amy and I reflect on this past year, 2022 and all the podcasts that we've recorded, is one that we recorded recently with our, our lovely guest, Jason Price, about dinnertime conversations with your family. And this is one that has sort of stuck in my head as I am parenting these two little ones. For me it's less at the dinner table, it's actually more in the car on the way home from, from preschool. But I find myself wanting to be asking a lot of questions about my little guy's day and not knowing if that's necessarily the best way to elicit information or whether I should be doing that at all. And I really would like to hear from all three of you about what your experience was like when you all lived at home and you were coming home from school every day and sitting at that dinner table as well as what it looks like now that you don't live at home anymore.

Dr. Lisa (04:53):

And are more reliant, I guess in some ways on phone conversations to, to keep that continuity up.

Luke O. (05:24):

I think that oftentimes when you are a teenager ,parents asking you about your day can almost remind you of things about your day. You weren't a huge fan of or make you feel in some ways isolated. And I think that overall there's a, a trend amongst people who are my age and I think is even more pronounced for people younger than me, that there's just a, a huge feeling of loneliness amongst a lot of those kids. There was a survey that just came out that American government does every year about who people spend time with and time spent with friends every week has gone down 40% since 10 years ago. The amount of people that report having no close friends went from 3% in 1990 to 15%. Now that's pretty consistent across every age group.

Dr. Lisa (06:13):

So Luke, what you're suggesting is that when, when we ask you about your day and who did you sit with at lunch and you know, how did it feel at recess or whatever the question might be, that that only exacerbates the feeling that you have, that you're falling short. Is that what you're suggesting?

Luke O. (06:29):

It exacerbates it in both directions. When things are going well, it's a nice reminder, even if there isn't a temptation to particularly share, there is that feeling of like gratitude about like reflecting on your day in that moment. And it was nice, but I think oftentimes it can serve as also a reminder of how it wasn't what you were hoping it would be and provide like these longer term anxieties that obviously nobody's intending to bring out but are brought out by asking about that stuff.

Amy O. (07:01):

Does that resonate with you, Shawn?

Shawn O. (07:03):

I think that does. I think that does, but it also could be I need to process it on my own because processing emotions for, for me as a 22 year old is still very hard. So as a five year old, I think processing after a long day is hard to look back and say, well, I learned this. You know,

Luke O. (07:24):

There is a performance that kids put on for their parents to be successful. Right. and I think that applies especially in like suburban world where I grew up, but I think that's pretty much everywhere kids pick up on the fact their parents are kind of pretending and they start pretending too. And then that any encroachment or discussion about your day becomes a conflict between honesty and the performance you wanna put on for yourself and for your family.

Amy O. (07:53):

What do you mean? What do you mean that the parents are performing? What do you mean by that? That we're making our day look more glamorous or more,

Luke O. (08:01):

In other words, like if you have a bad day at work that's not gonna, like, you're not gonna come to me as your child and talk about that right there. There's an asymmetry to like the information there, which is like normal. But I think kids internalize, even adults internalize seeming to their parents who they know want them to be happy and successful, they wanna put that face on to make everybody happy.

Dr. Lisa (08:32):

It's like a fear of disappointing others, right? Yeah. Like especially in the child, you mean? I don't wanna disappoint my parents. I don't want them to know that I'm struggling. And so I'm gonna put on that smiley face and just say everything was fine.

Amy O. (08:45):

Or not even struggling, but just that it was just a day that wasn't good. Like it doesn't have to mean an overall struggle, right? It just has to mean that today felt bad. Mm-Hmm. <Affirmative> or this,

Shawn O. (08:57):

I think what's really important in this is that the parents also need to have a little bit of vulnerability with their kid saying, I I would say in, if I was Lisa, I would pick up my kid from school and say, well, the best and worst part of my day looked like this. Mm-Hmm. <Affirmative>, what did it look like for you? And if you don't wanna talk about it, that's okay, but tell me one thing that made you happy today. I think very specific directed questions, especially for young kids, which I, you know, I'm learning in social work, I don't really know, I haven't been out in the field, but I think that can really help kids narrow in on certain things, things. Mm. And my boyfriend has two young siblings, and when I try to communicate with them about school, it's, it's, it's a lot easier when it's specific questions of, what's one thing you created today? What's one thing that made you happy? What's one thing that didn't make you happy today? And I think that's a lot easier than, well, what happened today?

Dr. Lisa (09:56):

I mean, what's one thing you created today? What a great question that is as opposed to the questions I think that we normally ask, which probably largely come from our a our own value system mm-hmm. <Affirmative> and our own fears like who did you sit with at lunch is probably not a question that a parent of a child who has tons of friends and is, you know, a social butterfly would typically be asking. It's gonna be more from the parent who's really worried that their kid might have sat alone or might be lonely. That's gonna be getting that question. And so to, you know, to be cognizant of what it is that we are emphasizing in our question asking and what inherent values we're displacing as a function of that, how did the math test go well, Ooh, that seems really important to you mom, <laugh>.

Dr. Lisa (10:45):

Exactly. I guess how I achieve in math is a really important thing. Mm-Hmm. <affirmative>,

Amy O. (10:50):

I think what's important to remember, at least from my point of view, is that it is really hard as a parent to get used to the idea that as your kid grows up, you are increasingly less aware of what they're doing on a day to day basis. I mean, even your five year old Lisa who goes to preschool, you don't know what he does all day long except for what he tells you. And so that's what tempts you to pepper him with questions. Mm-Hmm. <Affirmative>, you know, I mean my kids live across the continent from me and I don't know what they do all day. I'm dying to know, but I don't,

Luke O. (11:29):

In our defense, the continent or the country in this case.

Amy O. (11:31):

Okay, true across the country, my bad <laugh>. Although, yeah, it feel it is a continent, whatever.

Luke O. (11:40):

Yeah. It's not wrong

Amy O. (11:41):

<Laugh>. I know. It just sounds way more dramatic, which is as we all know, my flare. So there you go. But I guess what I'm saying is the ultimate goal you have is to have a conversation with your kid that gets you the parent to the point of knowing more about how they're feeling about what they've done, about where they are. And so maybe what I hear my kids saying is giving them the space to share with you what they want to, rather than what you deem important is a really good place to start.

Luke O. (12:18):

I would, I would add that I think parents have a tendency to talk out of both sides of their mouth too, which is they want their kids to be independent and they lament the, the like social media. Everyone's on camera all the time type of generation we have. And yet they also become incredibly anxious as soon as they don't know everything their kids are doing. Mm-Hmm. <Affirmative> part of battling the consequences, let's say, of more time spent alone, more time spent on your social media apps, is allowing your kids to have time that you don't know about to, to actually feel like they have a part of their life that isn't in some way policed by the adults that are around. So I would encourage parents to recognize that if your kid is doing things that you don't know about, most of the time they're not doing the thing that is the worst case scenario in your head. They're doing kid stuff and growing up,

Dr. Lisa (13:19):

Are you calling us Catastrophizers, Luke?

Luke O. (13:23):

No, I I'm not, I'm not talking to anyone specifically so as to avoid any awkward confrontation

Amy O. (13:27):

Nicely played, son.

Luke O. (13:29):

But I am speaking broadly in this case.

Dr. Lisa (13:34):

Yeah, I mean, you're spot on, right? I mean, I think in many ways we are parenting out of fear like we had already talked about, which is not the intention, right. And it actually, I think serves the opposite function of, of creating greater connectivity with our children, which is obviously the ultimate goal. And you're right, there is this dichotomy of like, how do I teach my child that? I do trust them but I'm not acting in a way that would suggest that I trust them. It's tough.

Luke O. (14:10):

And the, the last point I'll make here is the real worry that you, that parents should have for kids growing up today is that they're under socializing. Not that they're doing too much that you don't know about with people you don't know about with this character that I, I don't trust. The reality of it is most people between the ages of let's say like 16 and 24 report being lonely and not having as many friends as you guys did when you were that age. And the the anxieties about who are they hanging out with and what are they doing, I think should try and be curved by the anxieties about are they hanging out with enough people and are they doing enough because that is actually what people are reporting, feeling under served in.

Amy O. (14:53):

So if we were gonna jump from the dining room table in Northbrook, Illinois when you guys were young and with Lisa's young kids to how to maintain connection with your kids as adults or across that whole spectrum of growing up, what would you guys say is the best methods or are the best methods by which parents can can maintain that connection?

Shawn O. (15:28):

Well I think that's a very difficult question to broadly answer because each child and each person is in each young adult is different and responds to different things. For me personally, I have a very good relationship with you mom right now. I believe it's the best it's ever been, I think because I think we're both very honest and I can call her and I can say, mom, I wanna rant right now. Please don't give me solutions. And often she'll take that <laugh> and I just need a place to, a place a safe place to say whatever I need to say at that point. And that's a really good place to have in your mom. And then there's also times I call her and I wanna say, I'm freaking out. Help me find solutions. So I think communication is really big on both parts. Being able to as so as a social worker would say, meet them where they're at and figure out where the best place you fit in their life is because their life is their life.

Shawn O. (16:34):

You can definitely be a part of it in a huge way, but that's gonna be up to them. And I chose to have my parents be my life in a big way. I call and text them them a lot just cuz I, I really enjoy doing it and I'm close with them. But I think that also came from them giving me a little space and saying, do your thing. Get, create a life. You got this, we're here if you need us. And I did. And then they're there. And that was kind of ideal.

Amy O. (17:06):

One of the things that I've been working on, which I've shared with both of you in my own therapy and in my own journey with you guys growing up is this, this whole idea of validation that might, I always remind myself that the first thing I wanna do when you confide in me or call or having a conversation is to validate how you're feeling. Not question it, not jump to the idea of how I'm gonna make it better in the moment, but to say that must really feel bad or it sounds like you're really sad or however it is that I mm-hmm <affirmative> do, do you think that that's an important part of maintaining?

Shawn O. (17:47):

I think that's why I still call you when I have problems. Like I think my boyfriend, my boyfriend and I talk about a lot how much you help me when I'm in one of the bad places of anxiety of depression or whatever it is because you validate and you accept that that's where I'm at at that point. And you don't jump to, oh my God, you're sick. Oh my gosh, we're going down this road again.

Amy O. (18:11):

Should I give my therapist a raise? <Laugh> Luke, what, what about for you? What about maintaining those connections? What would you say to Lisa if she wants to maintain those connections with her kids but not, you know, have them have those complicated feelings of not measuring up?

Dr. Lisa (18:33):

And Luke not necessarily at five, but I just sort of thinking, think about this stage in my parenting journey as setting the stage for the rest of our lives together. You know, I think about my boys as being elementary school aged and then middle school and then high school aged and whatever comes after that for them. And so yeah, not even having to frame it as a for a five year old, but just more broadly I'd love to hear.

Luke O. (18:56):

Yeah, I think the reality is like between the ages of seven and 21, people want to be around their friends and wanna rely on their friends more than they wanna rely on their parents because it says something about them that they, if they can get enough friends and create this life for themselves, there's some pride in that. And there's some embarrassment if you're 12, 13, 14, 15 years old that you're relying on your parents to a degree that maybe you didn't imagine you would at that age. So there's a reality that you will represent some level of shame that is unavoidable. And I think there is nothing that they can tell to their kids over a multiple year span that is gonna have the kids take on that experience the parents have and then make the decisions the parents would like that. That's such a boring version of life to, to imagine that because your parents have lived some life and failed in some way or experienced something, you now don't have to.

Luke O. (19:57):

And you get to skip to the milk toast version of the future. Like the, the fun part is the chaos and the failure. And I think when kids feel like their parents are trying to prevent them from making the same mistakes they did or making mistakes at all, they look at their parents as devoid them of the stuff they're looking forward to, which is like potentially making mistakes with people they really enjoy. And oftentimes decisions that seem illogical to parents have a logic behind them that the kid is never going to articulate to you. Whether it's like becoming closer to someone or defining yourself in some way or getting away from another group of people. Right? These, these are things that only the person who's making the decisions are really gonna know about. And being an advisor without being a general manager is a, a relevant difference. Obviously there's limits to this and like my experience with being a kid and a parent is like, I, you know, the risks were pretty low. So I'm sure there are cases where when the risks are a lot higher, this is a different conversation. Here's what I can say confidently. Parents who are listening to this, who think that their kid is particularly making wrong decisions, most of you are wrong. Most of you are wrong.

Dr. Lisa (21:13):


Luke O. (21:15):

You are so unable to get out of your head that something crazy is happening to you that like reality is that your kid is probably just living out a pretty teenager life and you know too much about it and that's providing you anxiety more so than the other way.

Shawn O. (21:32):

I think what's also important is you learn things about yourself, about what kind of friends you want, what kind of things you want in friends, what kind of things you want in a relationship, what kind of things you want in life. All of that is learned through mistakes and failures and doing stuff that is so wrong and you're like, I don't ever wanna do that again. Mm-Hmm. <affirmative>. I think all of that is learned through that. And if you don't allow your kids to have the freedom to make those mistakes, they will, they won't learn it, it won't internalize in themselves cuz they won't learn through their own choices that they don't want that.

Luke O. (22:13):

I wanna reiterate again, that fear that parents should have raising young kids is under socialization. 61% of people treat 18 to 25 reporting, feeling profoundly lonely at times.

Dr. Lisa (22:27):

Luke, can I stop you right there and actually ask you about that? Because I mean, in, in my own brilliant parental catastrophizing, that is where my brain goes at least for, for one of my two sons, based on his temperament that he would, he is more of an introvert and I do think about, you know, his capacity to form and maintain those friendships or will he feel isolated. And I guess I'd pose to you, what is the parent, what is the parental role there if the child is under socialized or not spending as much time with peers as you'd want to. You know, again, like parental nudging and pushing doesn't really feel like that's gonna help the situation. And so what, what can a parent do?

Luke O. (23:16):

I mean obviously I'm not, I have no like, background in this so I'm, I'm thinking purely from my experience and what I'm reading.

Dr. Lisa (23:25):

Give me the real answers, the real ones.

Luke O. (23:27):

This survey comes out about how people spend their time now and how it's different. They've done the survey since like the sixties and they can track the changes, right. And until 2003, time with friends was like exactly consistent from like 1960 to 2003. People were spending roughly the same amount of time with their friends every week, but that time was being spent differently. So participation in structured things like a bowling league or a football club or things like that has gone down. But the time that spent with friends has stayed the same. That changed in 2003 and has accelerated since Covid where now instead of that time being spent differently, that time is straight going down. People are just not spending as much time with other people. I would argue that is like a bad trend. So my recommendation would be to increase the amount of ways that kid is getting structured socialization time, not from you, but being on teams or in a show or anything that you can conceive that your kid might wanna do.

Luke O. (24:32):

Providing that kid like a place to go on a routine way that's with other people that doesn't give them the pressure of I have to instigate this entire social interaction. I have to schedule hanging out with this person, they have to come over to my house and then we have to come up with the talk about and then we have to see if we like each other. That is so much more intimidating I think, than existing in those spaces that are created to be around people and changing the shift from do this thing because you're supposed to be good at it to do this thing because it's good. Like you're supposed to be around people. This is what human beings are supposed to do. And although I'm sure kids will resist that and wanna not do that stuff and just like be on the computer or whatever, I promise you, for most kids, especially once they get, you know, to 11, 12 and up, they are aware of this that they, that they wanna spend more time with other people and they just have no idea how to start doing it.

Luke O. (25:26):

So summary, when your kids are young, find what they like or find the type of person they are and what they might like and try your best to get them excited about trying it. Finding that stuff you like at a young age that you can do for a really long time is like a cheat code to getting friends for a long time. Mm-Hmm. <affirmative>. And I think the people that get lost the most in being under socialized are people that don't find any passions particularly and don't know where to look for these friends. I see that in adults that I'm around even now is you go to a new place or you move or you change your life in some way. And if you don't have anything to fall back on, you don't know where to start. You don't know where to look. So finding that stuff that kids can do consistently, I think is a, is a good way to, to bring that socialization up.

Amy O. (26:13):

First of all, I think those are wise words, Luke, and, and I'm wondering what you guys think. One of the other topics that Lisa and I wanted to discuss with you today is your life with social media. How you've grown up with social media and whether or not you think that digital knowledge and technology use would add to what you guys are talking about or what Luke has brought up about this isolation that kids are feeling. We hosted a podcast with one of CATCH's friend who's an executive functioning coach. Her name is Maggie Schwabach and she shared with us her concerns about media use, exposing our kids to media, but also the digital lives that they're leading that are so isolating in and of themselves. Do you think that that contributes to what you're talking about, Shawnee? You grew up with more social media than Luke did, just because of your age, do you think?

Shawn O. (27:11):

Yeah, I've had my Instagram <laugh> since sixth grade and I took a two to three year break when I was in the midst of my mental health diagnosis just for the fact that I didn't, I knew it was not good for me any longer. I was eventually able to go back and I'm in a very, I'm in a much better place because of it with social media because I've unfollowed the people that I no longer want in my life. And I have followed some influencers that are very, some low, some small influencers that I really like what they have to say about mental health and some criminologists that I follow on Instagram. And it's, it's really hard to have it at a really young age because it's an immediate vessel for comparison and that's already something that people do automatically.

Dr. Lisa (28:08):

Okay. Yeah, no, just real talk here for a second. Was it your idea to leave social media for a couple of years when you were unwell or is that something your parents enforced on you?

Shawn O. (28:20):

No, that, that is something that I chose to do. Okay. I'll be honest, I'm not very into social media for someone my age. A lot of people that I know are much more into it and have been their whole life. They say I live under a rock cuz I don't get a lot of memes that they get and a lot of vines. I, I don't really get those Vines.

Luke O. (28:37):

How old are you?

Shawn O. (28:38):

Yeah, dude, they still look at vines, bro.

Luke O. (28:42):

You have old friends.

Shawn O. (28:43):

And so yeah, I, I wanted to take a break from it. I just knew that I would, you know, I would look up the people that I'd compare myself to, I'd, you know, all, all the nine yards.

Dr. Lisa (28:52):

Which is an incredibly common experience and I would say there is a lot of research to suggest that that is an unhealthy path that many of our youth are spiraling down in. What feels like a less common experience is that you had the insight and the maturity to recognize that and to make a pretty incredible decision in your own life to support your own mental health around it.

Amy O. (29:19):

But at the risk of being non-politically correct. I actually think in some cases it was sort of a matter of life or death for Shawn.

Shawn O. (29:25):

But I think the bigger thing is getting away from social media not only was good for me and my mental health, it was just good for my relationship with social media because I learned what do I want from social media? Cuz that's what it's about. It's not going away. It's not going away, but how can I make it tailored towards me in a way that's, that makes me happy when I go look at it. And even still, I'll put it away.

Dr. Lisa (29:54):

But here's my parenting question. My parenting question is that it sounds like you came to that like I said, incredibly insightful and mature realization on your own. 

Dr. Lisa (30:22):

I can say definitively from my professional world that many, many do not make that choice. And so here we have a situation where, again, we come at this from like things we know as parents, right? This social media usage is incredibly unhealthy for you. And in certain cases, like you're already spiraling down a path of mental illness and struggling. But we've been spending 25 minutes so far talking about letting our kids make mistakes and how if they don't make their own decisions, they're not gonna grow. And it is when those hidden apex that I struggle greatly of, do we continue to let them make those mistakes, knowing that most won't come to the same conclusion you did on their own. They just don't

Luke O. (31:17):

Can I jump in, Shawn?

Shawn O. (31:19):

Go for it.

Luke O. (31:19):

Yeah. I think Shawn's case being anecdotal to the reality is, is is relevant here. I think if Shawn had had not had her mental health diagnoses and not gone through that process, she wouldn't have gotten off Instagram even if she knew it was bad for her.

Dr. Lisa (31:33):


Luke O. (31:34):

<Affirmative>, it, it in my opinion, is simply unrealistic to suggest that kids will not be on it or even resist it to any substantial degree. Mm-Hmm. <Affirmative>, I think that the, the, the only option forward outside of some societal, let's say regulatory category is making people smarter consumers of this stuff. And, and that the defining technological experience of my childhood is the massive gap between what my parents thought about the internet and what I understood the internet to be like. An anecdotal example is Wikipedia. Wikipedia is like the best resource on the internet. Like you go on and it's got all this amazing info, it's got all these links in the bottom with like these amazing articles and it was like, I was told it was a hell fire like every moment of school. They were like, don't, don't you go on there and it it, and it, it was simply because instead of the adults that I trusted in my life looking at this thing and trying to understand it, they saw it and were afraid of it.

Luke O. (32:45):

And, and they resisted it and resisted it and resisted it until by the time I was like 16, 17, there was no like mea culpa. They were just like, yeah, it's fine. And we're like, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa. And at the same thing is happening with TikTok and with Instagram, which is, although the effects are different, people's reactions are the same, which is I don't understand it. I see the bad things and this scares me. I would use that story that they had early on in TikTok about the, the person harming themselves going viral and like all these news stories about it, about how many kids saw this video, right? That was not understood with the context of why are kids going on TikTok? What is it providing, what, what are they enjoying on the platform? I guarantee you it was told to thousands of kids for parents who read those articles, you shouldn't go on there. This is bad, this is bad for you.

Amy O. (33:31):

But I wanna bring it back for one second to whether or not you guys think regardless of judicial use of the internet and social media or whether or not we as a different generation understand it better and can help you navigate it. Not that we need to help you, but but does it in fact increase particularly young peoples and, and maybe all of us feeling of isolation? Does it in fact make us more lonely because we are using those platforms to engage in the world, but at the end of the night, we're all by ourselves and how do we then help our kids and help ourselves navigate that gap?

Luke O. (34:28):

Yes. I think the unfortunate irony of social media is in their attempts to connect the world, what they've made the world incredibly aware of is how alone everybody is. And that is exactly, that is an unfortunate byproduct of that trend. It it, it remains unavoidable though. You navigate the gap by, and again, this isn't a good solution. It's the only one. You navigate the gap by being an intelligent consumer of social media yourself and instilling those intelligent consumption values in your kids. Lisa's kids in 10 years from now, when they are 15 and 11 or 12 depending on birthday, <laugh> will primarily talk to their friends and to people they know. Not via texting, but through worlds created by tech companies, TikTok, whatever the next thing is that is a fact telling your kid to, to be judicious in their use of those things is telling your kid to not talk to their friends. Those are inextricably linked for the inevitable future. And I, I think that when a parent says something like, you know, get off Instagram or be careful with TikTok, a kid, especially an older kid at some degree, understands that this isn't great for them, but the alternative is shutting off their entire social circle to some degree. And that isn't a realistic option in my opinion.

Dr. Lisa (36:05):

As I think about this, it actually brings me back to a different podcast we did earlier this year with you know, three incredible members of, of the school, Dr. Wegley and a school psychologist, Blake Zweig and Coach Geo, who really were talking about the importance of discussing mental health and mental illness in our schools. And I'm thinking about how this is a lot, what we're talking about right now is a lot to have to navigate, especially if every family is navigating this individually. And you know, the impacts of social media usage and how you know how to be wiser consumers of these things and how it ties into mental health and then mental health more broadly. And I'm, I would love to hear from you guys about whether these topics were discussed as you were growing up here. Whether there was something that felt missed for you, whether there's something we could do differently.

Amy O. (37:06):

You know, before you guys answer that, I just wanna say one thing that struck me for the very first time right now, and that is, Lisa, you and I always say the impacts of social media, meaning the lousy impacts, right? Like we're always talking about how it impacts our kids negatively mm-hmm. <Affirmative> and maybe the shift that we have to make according to what Luke and Shawn have just shared, is helping ourselves and our kids develop a healthy relationship with social media because they both said it's not going anywhere. Mm-Hmm. <affirmative>, like instead of talking about it automatically negatively, we talk about it as a reality and how we can positively slant it. Go ahead Luke.

Luke O. (37:54):

I have several thoughts.

Amy O. (37:56):

Imagine that <laugh>,

Luke O. (37:59):

I think a couple of things. One, there is an unfortunate reality that my lived experience as a child was incredibly different from my mother's lived experience as a child. And yet I felt quite often that there were adults in my life telling me how to live a life they knew nothing about. And that came through in in how they talked about technology. That was like the number one way it came out. And I would encourage families, parents, whoever, to remember that your kid is living an entire life on the internet that you will never know anything about. And that when you pretend to, it makes you look silly and it makes your kid not believe that you are invested in what they want. And that applies to school and parenting. Engage with, engage with social media yourself. Try to understand what it feels like to have those feelings and the more that you engage in it, the more you'll realize that these worlds are so individualized and hard to battle against. But you can't be, you can't teach your kid to be an intelligent consumer of these things and neither can a school unless the people teaching it engage in it and, and don't talk about it like it's the boogeyman coming to destroy their children.

Dr. Lisa (39:27):

You're talking about coming at these things from a place of curiosity as opposed to a place of authority, especially when we don't have authority over over these things or the knowledge to back that up and talk. Coming at things from a place of curiosity is something I talk to my families about all the time in a million different contexts. And it is way more inviting too to actually engage in a real conversation that way. As opposed to just feeling like you're talk, being talked down to, which is never, never gonna end the way that we we want it to.

Amy O. (40:02):

It almost brings us full circle back to where we started this conversation when Shawn was talking about, you know, being curious about specific things that happened during the day with your kids rather than coming at it from a place of judgment. So, you know, in some ways it kind of ties things up with a neat bow for us to be able to end the conversation here.

Dr. Lisa (40:26):

I think that is a great place to wrap up for today. And so thank you Luke and Shawn for being here today, for keeping it real, for giving us that different perspective that Amy and I don't have, having not been the ones that are, are doing the growing up right now. So we really appreciate it and always love having conversations with you guys. Please check out our show notes for links to the surveys that Luke referred to during this episode.

Luke O. (40:51):

Thank you guys. This has been great.

Dr. Lisa (40:54):

Thanks for listening to another episode of Parenting the Mental Health Generation. Stay current on all catch programming by liking us on Facebook @catchiscommunity or by visiting our website

Amy O. (41:09):

We are really glad that you joined us to continue the conversation. It's important to talk about our mental health and reach out for help if needed.