“You have to keep yourself well in order to keep them well.”
Warning: this episode of The Tough Mothers Podcast and Tough Mothers TV mentions self-harm and suicide attempts. If you require help, PLEASE see your GP or the list of services at the bottom of this article.
When Melanie Medland found her type A-personality teenage daughter suddenly couldn’t cope with life, she was naturally alarmed. Melanie’s daughter, who was always very capable, suddenly withdrew, had trouble sleeping, forgot things and her eating patterns changed. Not having come across this before Melanie was questioning if this was just part of normal adolescence, but in her gut she knew. Her daughter was very unwell.
In this episode of the Tough Mothers Podcast and Tough Mothers TV, Meanie takes us into her family’s difficult time: how her daughter’s anxiety and depression made Melanie question herself and her parenting, how Melanie found her strength and the language to speak to her teenage daughter, and how she uses the enormous amount of hard won experience and knowledge she gained while successfully nurturing her daughter through her illness, to support and coach parents who are facing similar battles.
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Key takeaways from this episode of the Tough Mothers Podcast and Tough Mothers TV:
♥ Speak to people about your experience in parenting, even if you feel they will judge you as a mother. Chances are they have a similar experience to you.
♥ Many parents experience mental health issues with their teenager, and have the same fears.
♥ To effectively parent, you must tap into your motherhood intuition and trust yourself.
♥ There is a transition in motherhood when our children become teenagers. It is part of matrescence*.
♥ Mental and physical health needs to be nurtured equally.
Matrescence is a developmental transition women go through when we become mothers. It is all encompassing – physical, psychological, emotional and spiritual. Matrescence transforms us, that is why we feel different when we become mothers.
In this episode [podcast, TV]:
Teenager’s mental health can lead to parents losing confidence in themselves. It is imperative we speak to other parents of teenagers.
We feel we are alone in our struggles but speaking to other parents we realise we are not. And it allows them to feel they’re not alone also.
“That whole mental health stigma comes up [when you shy away from speaking to other parents]- will they be judging my child and me as a bad parent?”
How to know if your teenager is suffering from anxiety and depression, or if it’s just normal teenage behaviour. Melanie also revisits this, in detail, later in the program [30.20, 3.40].
Melanie’s daughter’s symptoms:
“You know your child. Trust yourself.”
Challenges of the transition for mothers through matrescence – from soothing their kids’ scuffed knees, to suspecting something might be mentally troubling them. As our children grow and change, we grow and change. This is also part of matrescence, just a different phase.
The importance of finding people who understand you because they’ve been through it with their child or are going through it themselves.
Our generation are the one who need to bring mental health chats into parenting. No generation before us ever did, so we don’t have any models in place about how to chat to our children about mental health. WE need to create these models.
“It’s important to play the love card.”
Melanie’s amazing and innovative ways of helping teenagers with mental health issues, which she implemented successfully to help her daughter get better.
One of the most important things to help your teenager is to keep the channels of communication open. Be their support person first, their mother second.
“It is her journey. It is not my journey”
As mothers our selfcare is absolutely paramount.
“You have to keep yourself well in order to keep them well”
There is support for parents who are going through mental health issues with their teenagers.
Melanie shares the proven techniques of how to connect with your teenager and how to ask those tough questions
“Mental health and physical health need the same nurturing”
Download Melanie’s FREE resource Self harm: what you need to know to help your teen
Mentions in this episode:
♥ Tough Mothers courses implement a three-step framework to:
1) help mothers understand how motherhood changes their brain
2) how to strengthen their brain by training it to thrive in motherhood.
3) Teach simple, specific exercises mothers can fit into their busy day to train their brain to thrive in motherhood
Moving Through is a personal response to Melanie’s eldest daughter’s battle with anxiety and depression in 2018. Melanie spent 6 months nursing her through her illness successfully and now Melanie has an enormous amount of hard-won experience and knowledge to share with other parents who are facing similar battles.
Melanie is passionate about changing the conversations around mental health, especially anxiety and depression, and would like to see mental health issues discussed openly with no shame or judgement attached to them.
Teenagers are at an age and stage of their lives where they need lots of support. It can be incredibly tough to be 100% present and available for them. Unfortunately, too many teens are falling through the cracks of our health system and parents and families are struggling to support them as they transition from childhood to becoming young adults in our society.
We have all heard the saying ‘It takes a village to raise a child’ and I believe this has never been more important. Today’s teens are facing issues we would never have dreamt of as we were growing up. The structure of families is changing, and we all need to be prepared to step in and help out with raising teenagers that will be able to contribute to our collective futures in a healthy and productive way.
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Mental Health Support Services
If the topics in this episode are triggering for you, or if you feel you need support, please contact you doctor or local mental health line.
If your country is not listed please search “Mental Health Line” in google in your country.