Creating Structure: How to Make the Most of This Summer, with Claudia Schwarz

Episode Description

In this episode, we welcome back family and marriage therapist, Claudia Schwarz, to the show. We discuss making the most of summer, communication with your kids, mental health struggles, and much more. See below for a complete list of topics covered in this episode and tune in to hear more!

Key Topics Covered in This Episode:

Why this past school year was so difficult for many
How to make the most of this summer
Helping kids navigate devices and social media
Ideas to keep kids busy during summer
Preparing your kids for life’s challenges
Keeping communication with your kids
How to help our kids’ anxiety
The violence and mental health issues affecting young people
How parents can help teachers
Being engaged with your family
Will the pandemic “scar” our students?
How Claudia finds balance

Looking to be on the show or know an expert who’d make a great guest in 2022? Send us a DM on our Instagram! (Linked below) Connect with the hosts: Learning Reimagined Podcast Instagram Allison’s Instagram Sandy’s Instagram AdvantagesDLS Instagram


lr transcripts

[00:00:00] This podcast is brought to you by our friends and advantages. Digital learning solutions we’re learning is reimagined. Hello and welcome to Learning Reimagined. I’m Allison Dampier and with me as always is Sandy Gamba good afternoon, Sandy

. Hi Allison. Oh, I’m so excited for today. I am too. We have with us a dear friend of the podcast and a dear friend of Sandy and mine as well, Miss Claudia Schwarz.

And Claudia is a licensed marriage and family therapist and she works currently with the J Flowers Health Institute out of Houston, Texas. She is a mom. She is amazing, and we had her on our podcast last year and we are so excited to welcome her back. Hello, Claudia. Hello. Thank you so much for having me back.

I’m excited to talk to you ladies again today. We are as well. There’s been so much going on in the world. I mean, really in the past three years that we, I mean, we can talk on a number of subjects with [00:01:00] Claudia and. And listeners, if you remember our podcast with Claudia the first time, she’s just a wealth of knowledge.

And we seriously, we can have a podcast just with Claudia because there’s so much we can talk about with her. And we could fill hours and hours and hours, . So today we’re gonna try not to fill hours and just keep her just for, you know, good 45, 60 minutes. And we really wanna just focus on coming out of the pandemic.

And we have concluded our first full solid school year since the po pandemic. and all of us as parents, as teachers, as you know, being involved with kids have seen that is probably the hardest year in education. Our teacher friends have all said that, you know, if they did, if they could retire today, they would.

Other teachers I know are looking for other jobs. It’s just been such a draining, difficult here, and I don’t, I just wanna know why. And I, I think Claudia can, can shed some light. Yeah, I’ve heard similar all year [00:02:00] long, especially now that we’re winding down. It’s the end of the year for most schools and it has been a struggle, a real struggle for teachers, for parents, for students.

I think that. Kids, first of all, got into the habit of having school be really easy because they could have it from their bedroom, they could lay in bed, be on a zoom. It wasn’t as structured and they really didn’t have the same kind of responsibility or need to pay the same kind of attention that they do when they go to brick and mortar school.

Mm-hmm. so. That structure, you know, it just sort of fell by the wayside because everyone during the pandemic was just trying to survive. And you know, we just did whatever we could and everyone did the best that they could and, and that was all we could do. But then coming back, I think teachers and parents in particular had the expectation that, okay, things are going to go back to normal, whatever that looks like, and that we would just kind of get revert right back to [00:03:00] where we were pre pandemic and it just didn’t happen that way.

So, What I’ve heard from many, many teachers is that kids, they, they couldn’t adhere to the structure. They had difficulty staying on task sitting for long periods of time. They were disorganized. They wanted leniency on things. They’d come and say, I can’t finish this in the timeframe. And these are not kids that needed accommodations.

These are kids that are capable are smart, are organized, don’t have executive functioning issues. But they were still struggling. So then you loop in the kids that do have executive fun functioning issues, or those kids that do struggle and have 5 0 4 plans or have, you know, need accommodations and they are struggling even more.

So teachers were tapped out trying to help. The kids, but also parents, you know, how do we work this out? But then parents are trying to get back to work and some of them had been working from home and you know, now had to go back to [00:04:00] jobs. Others are still working from home, but trying to figure out that new normal for them too.

So it, it just has been difficult all the way around. And then students complain too because they like, Working from home . Right. You know, they liked I mean, it was twofold. They like being with their friends, but when they were at home, they could still see their friends. But at school, you know, now they have to go back to school and things are being back to rigorous.

And because the curriculum, you know, teachers tried to give leeway because they weren’t getting the same kind of instruction that they had in person. Mm-hmm. coming back to school. Some of them really struggled because it was that much harder because they felt like for a whole year, Right. They didn’t learn the same way that they did.

Well, structure is so paramount. Paramount. Mm-hmm. and because that was stretched and so fluid trying to survive, as you mentioned. And, and I think that’s really hard to jump back into, but yet such a [00:05:00] necessary piece in order to move forward and, and it’s just so hard. Yeah. That’s one of the things I remember from our first podcast with you, Claudia, is the importance of structure.

Mm-hmm. and as, as parents and as teachers, that’s, you know, kids crave structure. They might resent it initially, but they need it so much and that’s, I, I think that leads to a lot of the disharmony in classrooms because they haven’t had structure for, you know, for two years. And so, and then you throw in learning.

And you know what’s gone on over the past couple years and where the kids come into eighth grade, they’re not ready for eighth grade academically or social. It’s like a perfect storm. Yeah. Oh, it definitely has been like a perfect storm and mm-hmm. . So now we’re at this point where summer’s here and what do we do with our summer and how do we prepare for the fall so that we can have a better year next year than the year we had this year.

And I think The message that I’d like to send to [00:06:00] parents is that that structure has got to continue, but it’s got to be strengthened over the summertime because I think one of the things that may be more damaging is if you feel like, Well, at summertime I’m gonna give my kid a break now because it was a tough year.

And then you go back to the kid is hold up in their room most of the day gaming or watching Netflix and. and there’s no structure, so that when fall starts again, well now you’re basically starting over again. Right. And I think you can build in structure and still give them a break because they do deserve it.

Everyone deserves to have some summer vacation time, but I think they have to have some scheduled things in there, even if they’re activities or if they’re. Enrolled in something that’s a community or group activity, like a sport or like a camp or even, you know, chess club or, or anything that they might wanna do, that something is structured at home for them.

So they can be creative, so they can have time. We’re gonna do lunch at this time every day, especially if [00:07:00] a parent works from home. I, it’s the perfect time to say, okay, lunch is gonna be from 12 to one. Every day somebody’s gonna take a different, you know, is gonna meal prep or something. Mm-hmm. , you give kids jobs.

I mean, there’s so many creative ways that you can build in structure where you think you can’t and it’s going to serve everybody better. Yeah. Cause even as adults, we crave structure. I mean, so as much as we emphasize the children or the students, and I think we all can benefit. Those are great ideas too.

No, and it’s true as adults and especially if you have a job that’s worked from home and that’s mostly on the computer, which a lot of people do now, it’s easy to get wrapped up in what you’re doing and not have a break. And I, I’ve heard that even myself. I heard that from my husband. Earlier, just right before this podcast I’ve been on, my first meeting was at 6:00 AM because it was East Coast people, and he said, You haven’t had a break.

What do you mean you’re going into a podcast? . You haven’t had breakfast. You, I said, I know, I know. It’s [00:08:00] just the way the day is structured. Mm-hmm. . And so I also need to work on, Okay. I have to factor in those times so I can. Husband with my kids with, I need to take breaks for meals for myself, because when I don’t do that and I just go back to back, to back, to back, I’m cranky, I’m tired and mm-hmm.

So we all, It’s not good for anybody . Right, Exactly right. When early, earlier this year. Yeah. It was a New Year’s resolution. I determined myself to just stretch your time, to take time for myself, whether it be working out, whether it be going to coffee with a friend, whatever happens to be, and I live by my schedule I on Sundays, I make my plan for the week and I have blocks of time at, you know, at work that I’ll say, you know, out of the office or whatever.

Just so I have that built-in, structured time so that I stick to my schedule and, and I’m trying to get that to my kids as well. I, I preach it to our staff, you know, it’s very important to have your schedule, have time for yourself, [00:09:00] you know, and have time for physical activity and all of those sorts of things, just to have more of a balanced life.

And I, I think a big problem with our, our youth has been that they haven’t had balance Yeah. Whatsoever. It’s been Awful, but , they very much. You’re right. They, they, they hold up in their rooms being on their computer, and then when they’re done with their class, they go to Netflix or YouTube or for, Oh yes.

So, but no, it’s true. They spend hours on devices and. You know, devices are important. Our computers are important. They have to have some downtime the way kids communicate. I mean, that’s something too that I, I would like parents to recognize because I do have parents that say to me, Oh, I just wish I could take their phone away or shut off all their apps and this and that.

Mm-hmm. . But the, these generations that are coming up now, this is. How they communicate. They communicate via Snapchat. They communicate, you know, this is how they do it. They are not people that pick up the phone and call someone and right, let [00:10:00] alone face to face meetings, which they will do. They’ll get together and they have friends.

But for the most part, you know, that’s, this is how they’re communicating Instagram, all of that kind of thing. And while that should all be monitored, especially if they’re younger. You have to help them navigate that world because Right. Just taking it away for long periods of time isn’t the answer. Of course.

Unless somebody is being really destructive, then of course you would take it away. Right. But teaching kids how to use those things appropriately, but also scheduling time because they can’t have their phone on their person. Constantly because it’s just now you’re connected to that and you’re not paying any attention to anything else around you.

Mm-hmm. and teachers struggled with that as well because now kids are so used to having their devices with them 24 7. Even in the classroom, it’s nearly impossible for them. It may half the time they just, teachers have told me I’ve given up , I’ve just given up trying to take phones away or, you know. Yeah.

Cause Cause then they have their watches. They did. They have watches, They have their, Exactly. They, they’ll [00:11:00] have an iPad, which they’ll put in a book and they’ll flip open and close it again. I mean, , there’s so many sneaky ways that they can do things. It’s really, really difficult. But helping them manage their time wisely and having those conversations with kids, and I really stress making kids a part of the structure, like letting them have some ownness on it.

Mm-hmm. , not just a parent dictating, Okay, here’s the schedule and this is what we wanna do. Half of it will go in one ear and out the other. Mm-hmm. , You have to sit with them and develop it together and hear their ideas because they want what they want and they can’t have everything they want. Right. But they can certainly have quite a bit, as long as it’s manageable and within the parameters.

So making them a part of it. So sitting with them. Sit with your kids this Sunday and say, Okay, summertime is coming. Here’s what we’re gonna do. Here’s my work schedule. Here’s where I have blocks of time. I, Here’s what your schedule is based on whatever you’re doing. And if there’s nothing on their schedule they have, because there are lots of kids that aren’t engaged in [00:12:00] activities, you’ve gotta find something for them.

Something doesn’t have to be a sport. Although sport is amazing because they’ll get exercise, which is so important. And if. And I always tell parents to go over every single sport with their kid. Let’s find one that sounds interesting. It can be bowling, it doesn’t matter. It just needs to be something where they can get out there.

And most towns have community centers that offer all of the things. It doesn’t have to be an organized sports team where everybody is a star player. It can be something that’s just an organized activity, but they’ve gotta get engaged. I love that idea, especially taking advantage of the extra daytime hours that we have right outside, and there’s so much to be said for, for getting that, that, you know, sunshine or just being outside in nature or taking advantage of that, I think oftentimes it’s too easy to stay.

It’s really too easy and I encourage parents to[00:13:00] talk to each other and to do some of these things together because I’m a firm believer and it takes a village. It’s very hard to just be a parent and only you’re in charge of your kids and there’s no one around you. Parents need people to bounce off ideas, to, to vent, to, to share concerns with, right?

We need that just like everybody else. But that sense of community not only builds the enriches your kids’ lives, it enriches your own. But it also helps because if you’ve got one parent who says, Okay, I’m gonna take Wednesdays and I’m gonna take the kids every after Wednesday afternoon somewhere, , and then you have another parent who will take a.

Mm-hmm. , it doesn’t have to be every single day, but if you’ve got a couple days a week where kids are out, for sure. You just know that they’re out doing different things. They’re out in the sun, they’re not just inside. Yeah. It’s nice. Right, Right. And they always end up having fun, even if they fight you on it.

But if they, if it’s with friends that they’re doing it with together, they’re less likely to fight it. They’ll be excited about doing it. Right. Yeah. And back, back to that technology, the [00:14:00] bulk of kids have iPhones. Yes. One thing that I learned and I’ve dealt with, and a lot of parents don’t even know it, You can do this.

You can go into your, your. The app and, and control the amount of time they are on social media. Yes. And so with my daughter, I limited and social media includes TikTok, which that’s, that’s the biggie for my daughters. They love, they love the TikTok. And so I, I am able to go in and limit how much time they’re on those, you know Styles of, of, of social media or whatnot, and I can go in and see how many hours and how many, you know, how much time they’re spending on different things.

And so that’s a topic of conversation. It’s nothing I did hiding from her. I said, Okay, let’s look at this together. You’ve spent this much time on, on Instagram and TikTok. What is a good balance? Where can we, you know, what can we do? What could you have been doing with those six hours that you know what’s reasonable Six hours is not reasonable.

Being on Netflix for eight [00:15:00] hours, not reasonable. Let’s have some conversation about it. And when you see the numbers next to it, even the kids are like, Oh, wow, that is a lot of time. And so it, it’s a good way of a good conversation start. And it was a good way for us to say, Okay, well let’s say Sunday’s is your free day and I won’t even look at it.

So let, if we can, you know, do really well for six days out of the week. Mm-hmm. Sunday will be like a no rules day. And you can go on all of the, all of the apps and do what you wanna do. It was, it was really good for me to see that and for my, my one daughter that’s still at home for her to see, like where she’s spending her time on her phone and it, it, it was eye-opening, but it’s been a really good lesson as well.

And so a lot of parents don’t even know that you have that ability on, on your kids’ phones. And so you do. So look into that too, so you can limit that. I also made a deal with her too, that, you know, if about turning off all apps, cuz you can do that as well. You could say by 10:00 PM [00:16:00] all internet access is turned off or all social apps are turned off.

And especially that is important for the younger kids, middle school we don’t know. Nothing good comes after 10 o’clock for a 13 year old . So you can turn it off a lot of kids or turn their phones in. I went through a period where the doc, my kids had to turn their phones in at night as well, cuz that’s when they, they can really get into some troubles when it’s late at night and you don’t know who’s trying to talk to them.

So those are some tips. I would, I would suggest all parents to go Google. Youth safety online, those types of things, and find out other settings you can set up on your phone or alerts. And these are free, these are free things that you can do. There are some pay apps where parents can. You can pay a subscription and then you get notified when your child is, I don’t know, I think you have access to everything they post and see.

I, I don’t know exactly how that one works, , but there are things out there. So especially over summer, if you’re a working parent too, when you’re not around as much. [00:17:00] I, I would look into some of those safety protocols cuz it is important to get them off the devices. Devices are important, but learning to use them responsibly right, is vital.

Well, and I think that’s, Sorry Allison. I was just, I got really excited because I think, I think also maybe leaning into like dual lingo, you can use an app and use it to a benefit like it just to have a conversation or learn a new language or, it’s just really exciting to do that. You can definitely use it for.

Okay. Yeah. Oh, it can be used for good. Most definitely. And teaching responsibility is so key. And I do, I, I used those apps as well. I used those those controls for my kids when they were younger. And I think it really helped them because they were able to see how much they used, what the usage looked like.

But also, and I did monitor, I monitored all their text messages, all their, you know, all their social media stuff because, [00:18:00] I felt like it was a responsible thing to do. Now, in today’s world, it’s much more difficult because there are so many secret apps. You know, they can go and create secret accounts and things that you don’t know.

But if you’re instilling good habits in your kids young and they know you’re watching. I mean, I think that I started at really young with them, so they knew, Oh, mom was watching, so I better not do anything. And they just sort of learned what was appropriate, what was not, and, and all of that. But if you’ve got, let’s say you’re just starting and your kid is 16 right now and you’ve never monitored it, it’s very hard to jump in and start monitoring that, obviously.

But trying to build that better structure and. Timeframes and things like that, it’s going to be hard. There is no doubt about it. A kid who’s 1617 has already been doing it for years, that it’s not gonna be easy to change. That. There’ll be a lot of push. Lots of pushback, but also that’s where you wanna put in place.

Okay, what can we do instead of that? And that’s why it’s so important to have kids involved, involved in activities, involved in [00:19:00] things, clubs, anything like that. So that they can have their minds elsewhere and doing other things other than just constantly on their devices. Mm-hmm. , because that’s part of it.

I mean, if you have six hours a day to be on a device, that’s way too much time on any kid’s hands. They should be out doing. Doing something. Right. Right. So I I completely agree. I know, and I used to tell my kids too, you can’t find something to do. Oh, I’ve got lots of things. Hang on a second. You can be cleaning out the trash bins.

You, I’ll have you scrub the oven. There’s all find, and they very quickly find something to do. So find something better. Yes, exactly. There’s a lot. Can I think it’s, yeah, we always do a book challenge over the summer. You know, try to read, you know, two books a. I make them, if they’re not involved, like sometimes summer is a break from their sport.

So I say you have to walk the dog every afternoon and, you know, you, you build in some activities. I also make the kids, [00:20:00] you guys are in charge of cooking dinner at least once a week. Mm-hmm. . And now that they can drive, you have to go to the store, you have to buy the ingredients. And these are life skills for them.

Yeah. But also gives me a not off of cooking, but it also gives them. Ideas and, and, and something to do. So I, there are so many things that you can do as a parent that will come across as a chore, but it’s really, you’re just bettering your child, you know, getting them off. It’s a natural consequence to be off the phone because you’re walking the dog or you’re cooking or.

Whatever it happens to be, but I think those are all important things. Yeah. Over the next couple months. Family work too, that that’s one thing for kids to understand and I think we’re losing some of that in today’s world. That everyone is a part of the family, therefore everyone has a part to play. So a kid’s part is not just to go to school.

That’s a big part. Yes. You need to. We need to learn, you know, those kind of things. But also you are a part of how the family works. So if you’re in charge of dishes every night, that is your role and that’s what you do. And that’s what’s gonna be part [00:21:00] of it. That’s how we run the household and make everything work because we work together.

So those things are important. And I liked what you were saying about the. You know, a book club. The library is a great resource for younger kids because there’s so many things that are planned in the summertime. Mm. They do all kinds of challenges and fun things, but also there’s always, you know, a, an author there or some kind of reading or some kind of activity.

Libraries are amazing for younger kids. As the kids get older you really just need to tap more into their interests and what they want. But if you give them that opportunity to choose, it’s just, it just will make your life so much easier than you trying to schedule. What I, what do I think they should do?

you know, you may have an idea of what you think they should do, but if the idea comes from them, they’re more apt to do it. Yeah. Mm-hmm. engaging them, it’s just so critical. Another really need, and it. Oh, sorry, Sandy . Go ahead. All the time’s. Ridiculous. So it’s another really fun idea. I was a [00:22:00] single mom and so incorporating their help was always a given from their , the very, very beginning, just for sanity.

But even like now we do puzzles mm-hmm. and we really try to do puzzles more now than you know, before just maximizing our summertime. So it’s just been so fun just to do something. Like that. Mm-hmm. . Yeah. It’s interesting too when you leave it up to the kids, like, Okay, what is something creative that you would, you’re interested in doing instead of me dictating you’re going to do this and this and this.

Right. Hearing from my daughter what she finds. Interesting. It, it was surprising she wanted to take a course on ceramics and I’m like, that is nothing I ever would’ve picked . And she’s very interested in that. And then sewing was the other one. And that one has stuck. She, about five years ago, she decided she wanted to learn to.

Like, really? Like, that sounds so boring to me. But my mom sat her down, taught her how to sew, and she loves it. She has two sewing machines now, , [00:23:00] so it’s just, it’s a crack up to see what kind of things that, you know, they, they’re just, they’re different than us and it, it’s fun to give them that canvas to pick something new to try and that creative piece, it just allows it to, to really develop.

Right. Really does. And we wanna nurture that. Because one thing to remember too, that in schools nowadays, they don’t have sewing anymore. Most schools no home ec, No. Teaching them cooking. No. I did wood shop, metal shop, all those things. Love it. You know, all the things. And just like the guys all had to do sewing and cooking and it was so great because you got exposed to things.

They aren’t as exposed to as much with the, I mean, arts is now a choice. It didn’t used to be you would all, everybody took art, everybody took music. Everybody’s, You don’t. Not like that anymore. So whatever you can expose them to. Cuz you might find you have a gifted person who doesn’t even know that they’re really good at something because they’ve never been exposed to it and they may think it’s flame and Oh, I don’t wanna do that.

And then once they do it they realize, Oh my gosh, [00:24:00] wait a minute, I’m talented, or I really do like this. So no, challenging them a little bit and taking them out of their comfort zone because you know, that’s something I’ve been talking to parents about a lot recently is that And I may have mentioned this before because I, I feel like I mentioned this quote constantly in my therapy practice, I have a, I had a little coaster on my table that said, prepare the child for the path, not the path for the child.

And I think that that’s a huge thing right now is that. Parents are pushing everything out of the way to clear that path for their child to go through smoothly. As opposed to preparing your child to no matter what comes, whatever obstacle, whatever failure, you know, you gotta let your children fall.

Sometimes they have to hurt themselves. They have to eat dirt. I’m sorry. Not everything can be sanitized. This is how you build up immunity, , right? So you know, you, they have to. They have to be exposed to these things in order to learn and grow. And if you’re constantly rescuing them out of situations that are [00:25:00] dangerous or making sure everything is clear so that everything’s gonna be fine, they will not know how to navigate.

And we’re seeing that more and more, particularly as kids get to college now, because the biggest population right now we have coming in J Flowers Health Institute, has been those kids that have graduated from high school and absolutely have no idea how to navigate. No way. Wow. To do because their parents, they can call their parents at any time and say, Oh my gosh, this happened.

That happened. And parents jump in. They jump in cuz you wanna help your kids. It’s a natural thing. But there are certain things that they should already be able to do in college. You shouldn’t have to jump in. But even in high school, you shouldn’t have to, you know, be cooking every night for your kids.

If you love to cook, that’s fantastic, but you know what, That kid needs to learn how to cook. I don’t care if they’re male, female. That’s something they should learn at least basic things, just like their own laundry. Just like learning how to you know, what if something goes wrong, if the toilet is clogged, you know, you don’t, you can’t just call someone

You have [00:26:00] to figure out, yeah, let’s get the plunger troubleshoot. Run a troubleshoot. Solutions. Many kids have no clue and say, Oh, I’ll just call my mom. Or, We have somebody who does that and that’s great. But you know what? You may not always have somebody who does that. And as you get older and you, we hope all the kids will leave, Leave the nest someday.

Most parents want their kids to flourish and thrive, but a lot of kids are staying home longer and longer because they don’t know how. They don’t know how to do. So from a young, the youngest age possible, teaching them those life skills, how to take care of themselves and trying new things and trying the hard things.

Even if they fail, that’s okay. You fall down, you get back up and you say, Okay, I’m gonna do it different next time. You’re giving your kids a gift when you let that happen. Mm-hmm. , And I think it’s a good thing for us to model as parents as well. Just last night I was cooking dinner. And I tried a brand new recipe and we all sat down for dinner.

I said, This might be awful , but you know, I tried something new. I [00:27:00] tried a new technique and you let me know. And it wasn’t amazing, but it was okay. But it was just, I tried something new. And so I, I like to do that with them so that it’s. Keeps it fresh and it lets them know that, you know, I still, even at my old age, I still try new stuff too, and, and I want them to feel confident enough to try new things as well.

There’s just, it, it’s an interesting time to be raising kids. It’s, they are exposed to so much mm-hmm. , but yet so that their, their worlds are so, so, so huge, but yet their physical world, I feel has gotten smaller. You know, they, they are, they’re more, they’re at home, more, They are in their rooms more, but they are exposed, Like, they talk to people that live in Germany and they talk to pe you know, they, they, they play their video games with, with people out of Brazil, and yet they’re just in their little room.

So it’s a very, it’s just very interesting [00:28:00] to. It is, it’s an interesting time. It’s a very difficult time. It’s not an easy time to be raising kids because all of this is brand new and we’re all navigating it together and technology is moving so quickly quicker than parents can keep up with things.

So new things pop up constantly that we’re unaware of, that kids understand. So, I mean, I struggle trying to help parents really get more involved in the social media because they, it really is so important. It’s not just a matter of knowing what Instagram is. It’s, well, what are they doing on there and who are they talking to, and what are the new things you can suddenly do on Snapchat or TikTok, or what’s a new app or where is that app that makes you be able to hide all the files so that when you go to their phone, you can recognize this is the app that hides the files and Right.

The knowledge. Yeah. . Yeah. If the knowledge is hard, but, but I think keeping communication with your kids so that they do talk to you, that will go a long way too. We all probably have or have had [00:29:00] teenagers that, you know, they, they mumble, How’s your day? Great. You know, fine. Leave alone. You know, and they give you one word answers and that kind of thing.

Mm-hmm. , But that’s why you volunteered a carpool, That’s why you volunteer to be in their space, even though they might not want you there, because then you hear things going on without having to ask questions. Yeah. And. You know, invite the kids over. Tell your kids, Hey, bring over whoever. I’ll have pizza.

You know, food is great if you can have pizzas and pizza rolls, and you don’t have a whole neighborhood at your house in no time. And those are the kinda things that draw in kids. But also now they’re under your roof. You can hear the conversations. They’re more open to talking to you. It’s so important.

And if you have the kind of job where you can’t do that, or you don’t have the kind of family or the means to be able to do that, then find other ways that you can be involved so that you can be exposed to their friends too. Cause it’s not just them. That’s huge. Who are they friends with? Who do they talk to every single day?

Because those are their influencers, even their friends’ parents whose parents are they talking to? [00:30:00] They’re all influencers and you have to be aware of it. Yeah, and you actually mentioned Claudia earlier, just CRI carving out those moments, whether it’s having breakfast together or carving out the lunchtime or at dinner, having that certain ritual, whatever it is, it’s just critical.

So your kids, you have that. They’re not, they’re structured moments, but the conversations that happen within that is just magic. Cuz you don’t know when you’re gonna need be there, when they need you to be there, right? So you can build that rapport on a daily. That’s basis. And even if they’re arguing about, Oh, do we have to have lunch every day at 12 or this, Because if, maybe that’s what works in your schedule they will come to count on that.

So the one day where you have a meeting or you’re sick, they’ll go, Wait a minute, where’s our lunch at 12? You know, How come we’re not doing our lunch at 12? Because comes habit and routine. And, and they will, they will really thrive on all of that. The more structure you have, the better they will do, mm-hmm

[00:31:00] And that doesn’t mean that they have to have activity, activity after activity. Activity, but having, knowing what the expectation is, it’s just, it relieves anxiety too because they know what they need to do, what they have to get done. You do as well. It creates less stress, and then it gives everybody more downtime later on because you’re, you’re able to structure out the day.

So it’s, it’s helpful for everyone, not just the kids. What I’ve learned with my daughter is the. Expectations and having a schedule, it alleviated a lot of anxiety. Knowing what to expect for her really gave her a sense of calm. Mm-hmm. , you know, knowing what’s next. Knowing when I’m coming home, knowing when dad’s coming home, knowing when she has to leave the house, it really settled her nerves.

Mm-hmm. and so I, I, I think that’s another important thing and I, I. I, I, I really struggle right now watching our teens and watching the way of the world [00:32:00] and the increase in school violence. And I, I just, I worry so much about what are we doing wrong as a society that is leading to all of this. And I don’t know, Claudia, if you have all of the answers to that, but it’s a very It’s a complex issue.

I think the increase in technology, I think covid, I think all of these things play into it. But what as a professional are you seeing in, in this rise of violence and rise in mental health issues? You know, what, what, as a society is happening that is, that’s leading to all. Well, there’s a lot that’s happening, but I think part of it is you know, the, these mental health issues, a lot of them come from, well, they can come from different reasons, but some of the anxiety and the depression can come directly from peers and what’s.

Going on in your own school how you’re treated. And that’s why I think it’s so important for parents to always be aware of, [00:33:00] you know, what’s going on with their kid if they’re not a popular kid, let’s say. And they’re being, maybe they’re, it doesn’t even have to be that they’re being bullied. Maybe they’re just, nobody’s paying any attention to them at all.

And they’re, they’re feeling isolated because they don’t get invited to birthdays or they don’t get invited to parties and things like that. That just makes people turn inward and that depression can just grow and grow and grow until people suddenly turn to destructive behaviors or gosh, there’s.

So many things that can stem from that. So there’s that piece of it. But even if you have, let’s say the, the kids who are popular, they have pressures too, and some of that, those are professors to perform in a certain way or to go along with things in a certain way. They might feel like they have no voice because they have to, You go along with what the crowd is saying and whether they.

Think it’s appropriate or not, and that can get them into all kinds of trouble and create anxiety. So there’s a lot of different things happening. Of course we have kids that are coming from homes that have a lot of problems. The pandemic, one of the things that happened [00:34:00] is that people that. Went to work all the time and where parents sort of lived separate lives because they were working and then suddenly were in the home together.

It was not a good combination. It created a lot of stress in the environment and some abuse, physical abuse, emotional abuse, and the kids didn’t have anywhere to go. They were just stuck there at home because we were all isolated and they had to live with that. And then once things had been lifted, it didn’t take away what had happened and probably.

Continues to happen, especially if any of those parents lost their jobs or ended up then working from home or got a divorce During the pandemic, there were a lot of divorces because people just realized, Oh, I can’t do this 24 7. I can’t be in this relationship 24 7 or I can’t even be with my kids 24 7.

So there’s so many different reasons. All comes down to the sense of family, the sense of connectedness, being connected, hearing each other, communication, [00:35:00] safety, safety at home, safety with your friends, safety at school. But it all comes from communication and, and that connection. And when you don’t have it, bad things happen.

Yeah. That sense of belonging. Mm-hmm. just so critical. It is critical and it, and it’s so sad. It always breaks my heart when I see kids that, even kids who are gonna say quote unquote, the bad kids at school, right? Who are always acting out or mean to other people. And you can see where it’s coming from.

It’s coming from a place of great pain and no child should have to go through that. But remember that that child going through that great pain can turn into a really nasty, ugly adult and. This is why it’s so important for teachers, for parents, for friends of friends, to be on the lookout for what’s happening and who’s treating who, how, Because it starts very early and it, but it, it doesn’t take long for it to build quickly into something that could be very destructive or very, very hurtful.

Yeah. Yeah. [00:36:00] There’s just so much, and I think. That really leads to the teacher burnout that we’re facing because I think they, I mean, of course, teachers, your, your job is to teach, and so they’re focused on the learning loss and getting their kids caught up, but then they got back a set of kids who are not the same type of kids that they got.

Prior to the pandemic. So now they have to be looking out for all of these other issues in the mental health and the social emotional learning. And it, it, the teacher’s role has compounded and it is, it is so much more vital and so much bigger than anything they’ve ever had that it’s It’s a lot for anybody, even the most passionate of teachers, and I don’t know how to make it better for them.

And it’s just, it’s as, as parents, I don’t know what we could be doing at home. I mean, I, I know some things we could be doing at home for our own individual children, but on the bra, broad [00:37:00] scope, it’s just, it’s daunting. It’s really daunting prospect to me right now. It is, and I, I feel for teachers so much because they’re in an, in an incredibly difficult position right now.

Mm-hmm. and their job has become so much more complex and so much more responsibility that they didn’t have before. They used to be able to teach and nurture and they’d have small classrooms and it, it’s not like that anymore. And I think As a parent, I think parents can help teachers by asking them, What can I do to help?

What can I help you with? Either my child, I mean, first and foremost, you’re responsible for your child. Your teacher is not, Your teacher is there to do a job to help them, but they’re not responsible. You are so. Whatever you can do to ha ask the teacher what you can do to help. Mm-hmm. and if your child is doing fine and your, I mean, cuz you know, if you have a teacher say, Oh, your child is a dream, your child is not the problem.

Okay, well if there are kids that are problems, what can I do to help? Can I help a [00:38:00] parent? Please let the. Whatever, parent know. Cause I know there’s confidentiality, which makes it really difficult too. Parents or teacher’s hands are tied a lot when it comes to, you know, trying to help kids or trying to intervene on something, but parents volunteering to help other parents.

And, and then in turn too, if the kids are being bullied or the kids are being picked on or just being isolated because no one wants to be their friend. Okay, what can we do about it? What do you, what are the strengths in the kid? What do you see? Cuz you see the kid in the classroom every day. And how can we as a community help?

I mean, that’s where it has to start. Us as the community, it can’t be one person’s job, everyone. Ha Because I don’t have control over what happens to my child when they go to school. So I rely on the teacher and other parents and the kids and the staff. So, but how can I, how can we all work together to make sure everyone has a good experience?

And I think the teachers need help. They need help. And we need to recognize that even if we’re struggling and, and if we are and we feel like we can’t physically help, well at least, [00:39:00] okay, what can we do to help Make sure you get the help you need. It doesn’t that there’s no help to be given, it’s just we need to brainstorm and find better ways.

That’s such a brilliant idea, Claudia. Cause I think oftentimes we think in such our own little circle, our bubble. Mm-hmm. But taking it to the school and really extending that pto, PTA role, right? And, and really helping build a rapport, more of a community, especially the last two years with Covid, unfortunately, it kind of broke down.

That structure in the community aspect. Right. So being able to build that, rebuild it in a different way. I think so too. I think rebuilding that is so key. And PTA and PTO used to be super strong and I know that across the board it’s sort of Been depleted just because, you know, we were isolated and now nobody knew.

We had to change all the rules of how you even do things anymore because you can’t do events the same way. Everything has changed, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still do them. [00:40:00] And you know, my hope would be that everyone would come together and be able to figure out new and better ways to support everybody.

Support Sure. Can support the parents and support the teachers. Yeah, definitely. Opportunities exist. Sorry. Yeah, they absolutely do, but I, I think parents are burnt out as well. My local middle school where I was pto where was I? Vice president, I don’t remember. For like six years straight. I did it for both of my kids and whatnot.

And it has Dispa. Mm-hmm. because they can’t get any parents to volunteer now. Exactly. And so they had nobody to take over the president role. They, I. They’ve lost PTO and I know how much we did for the school back then. Mm-hmm. . And to know that that’s happened. We we’re a very strong, good community. And the fact that they’ve just lost that.

It’s just telling what’s happening into the lesser, the areas where they have parents who work, you know, both parents are working and they don’t have the same support on a [00:41:00] normal year. Right. You know what’s happening now, post pandemic. It, it just, it, it scares me looking a around it. Just, I think everybody is just, I, I don’t even know the right word.

Like the burnout is just so. Overwhelming in all aspects. And you’re starting to see that throughout, and it, it, I think our whole world needs a reset. . I, I just, Yes, I, I, I just think we just need to find a way to be more compassionate and more engaged. You know, I, I think not just our kids who are so addicted to their phones.

Adults have too. Cuz what do you do when you’ve lost access to the world? You’ve really just focused in on, you know, your, your gateway right here. Your telephone was your gateway to everything. And I, and I think that’s a habit and a, a crutch that I think most people have depended upon it for the past three years that we need to break.

Use it properly, use it, you know, more responsibly and look up and [00:42:00] smile and, and get back involved with people. It’s true, it’s true. And you know, one thing parents need to keep in mind too, if you’re going to your kids’ soccer practice or their soccer game and you’re on your phone the whole time or on your laptop, you’re not engaged in what they’re doing and kids notice that they do.

So when you were talking before about what we have to model, those are things we have to model too, is. To show that we’re engaged and present in the moment. And if you can’t be, then you know what, Maybe the other parents should go watch the game or maybe, you know, you need to figure that out because otherwise you’re just perpetuating the cycle, the cycle of how everybody’s interacting.

And, and I know everybody’s busy and I know everybody’s having a hard time and it, it’s, it’s not easy. My job, I’m on the phone a lot and I have to. Physically put my phone away sometimes when, meal times for sure, but even when I’m out with my kids or I’m out with my husband, because otherwise I could be on the phone constantly, easily.

That’s, that’s a no brainer. I [00:43:00] could do that 24 7 if I had to. And But it’s not healthy and it’s not right. And no jobs should be taking you 24 7 either. Right. So that may something you should revisit as well if you’re feeling the need to. Connected to the technology for that. If it’s Facebook, well, there’s an addiction and you need to work on

Right? Absolutely. Talking to the adults. Cause none of the kids are on Facebook. No they’re not. That’s people . So that’s something we have to figure out. But we also, we do have to take a look at ourselves and it, it’s constant. We’re, we’re all learning and we’re learning and doing it together. But I think keeping up the communication, talking about it, connecting, engaging, that’s gonna go a very long way.

Mm-hmm. Now in terms of your expertise coming out of the pandemic mm-hmm. , and, you know, we, so this has been our focus for, you know, two and a half years now. And now coming out of that we’re, we’re seeing a lot of the repercussions of the past two and a half years. When can we expect, I mean, is there [00:44:00] a natural recovery to something, to an event like this?

Is there a natural progression that things will get better with the social emotional health of our youth? Or is what happened over the past two and a half years permanently imprinted and we are going to 10 years from now being, oh, you’re part of that generation and is it scarring them forever or. Do you get what I’m asking?

Like, is there I do Give me light, Claudia give you light . I, I do believe that it is going to stay with us and it is scarring. It can’t not be, This is a trauma that happened to all of us and all of us were affected differently. You know, our, our kids. Our kids were affected differently too because some kids were happy as a clam to be at home and just especially younger kids, they were, a lot of them were fine.

They missed out on social stuff and the structure, but they’ll get that back. And it wasn’t quite as traumatic as some people who, such as, I think all three of us had kids that didn’t get a senior [00:45:00] year. And or a junior year and missed out on all the activities and the things and graduations and things like that.

But then parents who missed out on a lot. I wasn’t a parent who got to stay home and make sourdough bread, and I was in crisis mode constantly because clients were calling me. all the time. I worked harder than I ever did during the pandemic, and I’m still suffering Plus I got Covid twice. So I’m suffering from all of that , you know, So I, yes, I think the long answer is that it is going to stay with us.

I think we will be part of that generation especially our kids who went to school during this pandemic time. They’re gonna be part of that generation. I think sadly I will have a job forever because of the pandemic. Just because there are long term lasting effects. And I think we’re just starting to see what those effects are now.

Yeah. As we’re trying to deal with all of these issues that are coming from it from the isolation and from, you know, just. School with the kids, but then also work jobs from with parents. So it is lasting and [00:46:00] I don’t know how we’re going to come out of it. I know we will, because every trauma and things that happened to people in the past, they’ve come out of it, but I just don’t think it’s going to be that easy.

So that was not the light I was looking for Claudia. But a dose of realism is ok. But it’s, it’s a real, it’s a real, Yeah. Great perspective. And I think we can make this summer a reset summer. Mm-hmm. And, and try our best as adults to navigate our youth through. Just building Oh, absolutely. Skills. And I, you know, and I don’t mean to say that there isn’t a light because there is, I think there is, I think that we’re strong and I think we’re very capable.

Mm-hmm. , it’s just, it’s something that’s new that none of us have done before, and we’re trying to find a way, but that’s why I wanna stress the things about being connected, about communicating, about talking about. Have these conversations and look to the positive and what, what have we learned, especially this last year that we [00:47:00] wanna change so we can make better for next year.

I think all of that is really positive, but also, yeah, I do Watching out for your neighbor, I mean, really watching out for family members and friends and Reaching out to people who sound like they’re struggling because they may not know how to do these things. They’re maybe not listening to this podcast or listening to things, helping them, and, and they need, they need that help.

So it’s not a joke if somebody’s down, if somebody’s anxious yeah, please take it seriously because they need help in some way. And some people really. Help and need it now, and then other people are in the at the beginning stages, but if they get some help now, maybe it won’t progress. So it’s just super, super important to stay connected.

I, I think part of my problem, I’m, I’m sure I’m not the only one. I thought as soon as, you know, the, the crisis of the pandemic was over, meaning like in the fall of 21 when kids got to go back to school full time and everything was [00:48:00] quote unquote, quote normal. In my Pollyanna little mind, I thought, Okay, we’re good.

We’re back to. But there isn’t a normal, and, and it’s, I expected that, you know, with the end end, I think they call it the endemic now that it’s over, like the, the crisis part is over. I thought with that, we go back and life is good and that’s what’s so disheartening to me is. Talking and we have a teacher panel podcast, and we’ve talked over the year, we’ve talked to many other teachers and administrators and parents, and hearing how it’s worse in the classroom today than it was before.

And that to me is disheartening. I’m like, No, it’s supposed to be good now. You know, we’re, we’re done with the, with with Covid. We’re learning to live with Covid and we, we should be good. And, and that to me, Is hard. And so now hearing from [00:49:00] you that I, I, I need to pull my head out of the clouds and this is a new way that we have to be moving forward and it is a part of us.

So now we need to look at it and be proactive. Mm-hmm. , you know, we need to make social emotional learning in the classrooms a priority. We need to make school safety a priority. I was watching date. and this school had this amazing setup. You guys may have caught it. It was a school, I believe out of Texas, and they had this incredible setup for active shooters and that sort of like, it’s a depressing and horrific thing to think about, but that school is completely protected now.

And they, they have all of these safety pro protocols set in. and whereas we don’t like to think that way, but I think we have to. Cause I don’t think it’s going away. You know, I don’t think school violence is going away. I don’t think youth depression and anxiety and all [00:50:00] those are things that we have to be mature and responsible and accept that they’re there and figure out ways that we can go about helping and because we we’re not gonna be able to necessarily prevent it, but we can.

With it, you know, not ignore the situation. And I think that’s, that was my issue I had to grasp with is it’s not, you know, there is depression, there is, there is. All of these things are still gonna happen even though we’re quote unquote back to normal. You know, it’s just this whole new normal, which I hate that term, but it really truly is, I mean, normal that we have to learn and work.

Does that make sense? I just went on a whole . You kinda did. It’s , but it’s, I, I, I understand what you’re saying, Alison. And, and I think what we’re learning is really accepting the effects, the after effects of such. A tremendous change or an impact that we all [00:51:00] experienced at different ages. So I think moving forward, we’re just adapting, not just, but trying to adapt and help and, and move forward where we’re at.

There’s nothing else we can do. No, no, we need to move forward and we do have to recognize that things are just different and they’ll never be the way they were, sadly. They just will never be the same. But that’s not just because the pandemic, that’s also technology’s moving forward, how we live, lives are moving forward.

Things are, things are different. But the pandemic has changed a lot of things and even, even things You know, the way we shop for things or the way, you know, things are presented to us. It’s just, it’s changed a lot. So we, we need to adapt with that and grow. But that doesn’t, that doesn’t, what hasn’t changed is the structure still needs to be there.

You still need to talk to your kids. You need to check in with them. You need to check in with family members. I mean, I can remember, I’m trying to think how long ago now, it’s probably been 15 years when. [00:52:00] Not 15 years. I’m sorry, 2008. Hasn’t been 15 years. Not that long. Long, right? Close. Okay. Almost 2014.

Yes. And at that time when we had the economy collapse and all of that, there were a lot of suicides. A lot of suicides. More than we had ever seen. And I feel like I was on the news talking about suicides. Right, almost weekly. It was just crazy. And and not only that, but not just of adults but kids and just because of the stress and everything that was happening and we were able to come through that, but then we had to rethink how we look at suicide.

And suicide’s still a problem. But we have a better, we have more resources, I think, than we had in the past because we realized we need those resources. And my hope too is that we just have more and more resources available to parents, to teachers to help them navigate anxiety, depression, anger, anything that they have going through what we’re going through now, because the resources are there.

But maybe somebody needs help finding those resources, but they’re, we’re just trying to [00:53:00] make them more and more available to people because they need it. and some people who never thought they ever needed to see a therapist suddenly find themselves needing to find, see one, and that’s okay. That’s okay.

Whatever will help you. Whatever support you need, need to advocate for it. And if you see someone who can’t advocate for themselves, then please reach out. Please try to help and be there for them and, and help them get whatever resources they need. Mm-hmm. , Claudia, do you have some like top websites where people could go for these resources that we could share with our listeners that we could put out there on our social media?

Yeah, I can share them with you. I’ll, I’ll give you a list. I’ll, I’ll send that to you so that we can, we can talk about those thoughts. The internet is amazing nowadays. Mm-hmm. You can Google all kinds of things and usually find stuff. I don’t usually recommend Googling like treatment centers or things like that, , just because you never know.

But when it comes to resources for somebody who’s got depression or anxiety or just wants to talk to someone, they’re hotline galore. Those are, can be [00:54:00] really helpful, especially for people that don’t have the kind of money to go to a therapist right away or maybe the means. So their resource, I definitely will share.

Oh, fantastic. Thank you very much. That would be awesome. That would be helpful. I wouldn’t know where to go. If I, if I didn’t go to Claudia, I wouldn’t know where to go. , everybody means Claudia in their life. So Claudia, this has been so insightful. I do wanna find out, like you mentioned, you’re so, your resources are so needed and you’re so stretched, and how do you find balance?

How do you feel your. As you help so many and, and you wear so many hats, you’re, you’re an amazing wife and mom and friend and therapist. How do you, how do you feel your cup? Well I, I’ve learned over the years that I need that sense of connection, first of all. So I talk with my friends. I get to vent about my day.

I have, my husband and I are best friends, which helps. So we get to [00:55:00] talk a lot. But I do I love the sense of community that I have. So I get a you know, get together with friends regularly who have kids the same age as mine so that we can talk about, you know, the stage that we’re at and what are the, you know, being, I am brand new, empty nester.

And that’s been a whole shift for the whole family, not just my kids, but being able to talk about what is, what did the first year of college look like, step by step, but also taking time out for myself, like, Monday is the only morning that I don’t go walk along the beach. I’m very lucky to live right by the beach, but I do that the first hour of every morning, super early.

I have to get up way earlier than I normally would , but that sets the tone for my whole day, and I love it. Rainer Shine, it’s just. Luckily it never rains so well, not , it’s always, sometimes it’s windy. But having that time to just, a lot of times I’ll go with my son or my husband, but I always meet the same people along the way.

We’re always out together. But that, to me, if I don’t have that, I feel it during the day. [00:56:00] I just feel, I don’t feel the same way. So I make an effort now, and if I need to get a massage because that’s what I need I will book that massage. Or I will get the whole treatment when I get my nails done one day, because I just need to sit there and let someone pamper me because I’m pampering everyone else most of the time.

So that’s where I get balance, is making sure that I’m taking care of myself. And it’s not easy. It’s not because I feel, you know, pulled from both ends all the time. Especially, like I said, since the pandemic started, it has been absolutely crazy. I mean, I could be on the phone every second and I have to, I can’t say yes to everything, which is hard for me.

Mm-hmm. No, that’s, that’s so important for all of us to hear, so thank you for sharing those insights. Sure. Absolutely. Well, thank you for having me. This has been great. Thank you for being here. You, I, I really could talk to you all day long. I, you just have so much to share. And I just, I love learning from you.

I love listening to you. You do present a sense of calmness even in this crazy, hectic [00:57:00] time that we’re facing. And so I just, I know our listeners appreciate it. They’re going to really appreciate the resources that we post and, and just thank you so much, Claudia, for all that you do and for spending some time with us today.

You’re so welcome. Thank you so much. Thank you so much for listening to Learning Reimagined. If you are enjoying this podcast, Please help us spread the word by clicking the subscribe button or share your favorite episodes with families and friends, and leave us a five star review wherever you get your podcast.