One of the hardest challenges for parents is dealing with our kids' BIG emotions (or even ours!). In this super-helpful episode, we talk with Michelle Nietert about how to deal with these big emotions!
ABOUT OUR GUEST:
Michelle Nietert has been a licensed professional counselor for over 25 years and the coauthor of the award winning book Loved and Cherished: 100 Devotions for Girls along with Make Up Your Mind: Unlock Your Thoughts, Transform Your Life and soon to be released God I Feel Sad: Bringing Big Emotions to a Bigger God series. She leads a team of counselors as the clinical director of Community Counseling Associates in the Dallas, TX area. A popular speaker on topics regarding mental health, faith and parenting, she is a frequent guest on national television and podcasts, including her own “Raising Mentally Healthy Kids.” She and her husband Drew have been married almost two decades with two school aged children.
Connect with Michelle:
Make Up Your Mind
Loved and Cherished: 100 Devotions for Girls
Raising Mentally Healthy Kids
Creators & Guests
What is The Connected Mom?
Form a deeper connection with God, more empathic connection with other Moms, and more intentional connection with your child.
Welcome to The Connected Mom podcast, where we have real conversations about helping you connect more deeply with God, more empathically with your fellow moms, and more intentionally with your child. I'm Becky Harling, and I'm your host today for the Connected Mom Podcast. And today I have with me my illustrious co host, Sarah Wildman. Hey, Sarah.
Hey, Becky. Okay, so one of the hardest challenges for parents is dealing with their kiddos big emotions. Big emotions. My children have these. I mean, you don't want to shame. I don't know where they get it from, but anyway, uh, sometimes it even interrupts our family life and leaves us feeling very disconnected from all the things we should be connected to. So that's what we're talking about today, right, Becky?
Yeah, that's what we're talking about. And today, as our guest, we have Michelle Nietert with us. And Michelle is a licensed therapist, and emotions are all her big deal, and so she's going to give you hope. She's the author of a number of books, uh, one of them that just came out, I think, recently, Michelle, is make up your mind about unlocking your thoughts. And so we're going to talk today a little bit about your emotions as a mama and then the emotions of your kids and how in the world we, as moms, help our kids with those emotions. And like Sarah said, we don't want to shame them or make them worse. So we're going to talk about that today. Welcome. Uh, Michelle, it's great to have you here.
Thanks so much for having me. I'm excited. This is one of my favorite topics. I always say that mentally healthy parents raise mentally healthy kids. And right now, we're in a mental health crisis in our country. One in three kids qualifies for a mental health diagnosis. So really and truly, these emotions lead towards these diagnosis. Sadness can lead to depression. Anxiety can lead to, uh, fear, uh, can lead to anxiety. And then we've got the mad that's going to lead towards rage and the anger management issues. So these are all right in our wheelhouse at the counseling center I run in Dallas, and I've got 15 therapists. And we're doing the best we can, but we really want to equip parents to deal with these big emotions. And I get you, Sarah. Uh, I've got a twelve and a 15 year old. And we have got some big emotions sometimes in our house, too. And I don't know where they get it from either. Sarah I have no idea.
I do. It's from your husband. You know, I remember my husband laying in bed with me one night when we were raising our kids, and, um, it was about one of our daughters in her high school years. And he's like, how did this happen? Where did all these emotions come from? And I'm like, Babe, it's all from you, just so you know.
Well, that's funny. We actually joke that my husband doesn't have emotions. He gives them to everyone else.
Oh, there you go. Okay, so you just wrote a book called Make Up Your Mind, and I kind of want to start there. Michelle, how do our emotions as moms affect our kids emotions? And what do we do when we're feeling like we're spiraling out of control? And then we've got a kid on the floor throwing a temper tantrum, and it just never seems to work when you say, calm down.
Well, usually because emotion is energy in motion. And I want to say that again. Emotion is energy in motion. So if your energy is chaotic and out of control and you're saying calm down, what is your child going to experience? It's not the words you're saying. It's the energy you're emitting. So we're going to look at that first. And that's why I did write and add it into a counselor's corner into this book by Denise Path. Make up Your mind, unlock, uh, your thoughts, change, transform your life. But really, we're talking about emotion. The chapter titles are the Angry Mindset, the Anxious Mindset, the Lonely Mindset, the Depressed Mindset. All these things we feel. So what we want to do for a mom first is that idea. I know this sounds so simple, but it's going back to the idea of when we fly. They tell us, if this plane goes down, don't put your kids mask on first. Get your mask on first, and then get the kids mask on. And I will tell you this. I grew up in a family, and I'm very transparent for this. Uh, Christian families can struggle with intense emotions. I grew up in a very intense family. I grew up with a dad who used to be the head of pastoral development for Mission Aviation Fellowship. Um, elder in the church, horrible rage problem. He said that he has to own our victories. He's got to own what went on in our home, too. And so he's willing to let us talk about that. And it was so bad, they almost called CPS. Like, a school counselor reached out to him and almost called CPS because his rage had actually left physical marks on my body. So I grew up in that environment, and I knew I had this short fuse myself that I was going to have to manage when I had children, because anger begets anger. It talks about it in scripture, and that's what we need to think about, too. So I will tell you this. I, uh, don't really believe in a time out for kids. We used to calm down step, and we had a calm down box with tools. And if you go to my website, you can even see some of those tools in the blog and stuff like that for this. But think simple things that help kids breathe, like a pinwheel and, um, some squishies and some fidget toys, things that will help them calm down. Maybe if they can read, um, a scripture verse that talks about God being our peace or something. Just simple tools for them to use on that calm down step. But I will be honest with y'all. I spent more time in Mommy time out, which was my bedroom, than the kids ever spent on the Calm down step, because that is really true. We have this expectation that our kids are not going to throw themselves down on the floor. But if we could change that and that's part of that mindset I talk about that in the angry mindset. Changing your expectations. Your kids are going to have fits. I'm a professional therapist, a previous school crisis counselor, and my kids had full meltdowns in the grocery store in front of the entire public of my town where I work. People would be like, I'm so glad I saw this, because it happens to everybody. I'm like it does. And one of the things we want to know about those young kids is their brains have been growing. And when your brains grow, then they prune. And when those connections start to happen, they go a little haywire. They're a little hijacked. And that happens between two and three. And we all know what that looks like. In fact, I joke they call it the Terrible twos, but I think it's the terrifying threes, because mine is three.
And then on top of that, one of my children, my son. And this is something we also have to look at. Is it truly a fit, or do we have a sensory meltdown going on? Because some, um, kids are very sensitive to overstimulation. I had one of those children, and so we really had to look at changing that. And so I think first thing is, if you don't know how to calm yourself down, we call that emotional self regulation. Big words in the counseling office. But, Mamas, if you don't know how to do that, work on that yourself. And we do that through breathing. We do that through our self talk like, I'm going to be okay. This is not my child's destiny. We're so scared if they're acting badly that they're going to be in the jail someday for some type of assault or something. No, they're just a normal kid whose brain is changing for the most part. And the way you can tell if it's beyond typical is we look at two things in our counseling office, and then I'll let you all ask me some questions about this. We look at intensity and frequency. So how bad is it and how often is it happening? And those are things you can begin to look at, and you may have to look at yourself as well. How bad is it? I just went through you all know this because I postponed this interview. I had a knee injury that caused me a lot of chronic pain. My fuse shrunk ten inches, at least because of the frustration of that. And you if you're a postpartum mom, you can have those hormones going, or you can be as bad as us. As a teenage mom, I'm doing puberty and menopause at the same time. My husband says, that's a horrible idea. Yes, there can be things going on with us. So we want to regulate. And then the other thing we want to do is, when that kid is down on the floor, don't worry about what they did or didn't do. Don't worry about how they're talking to you. Just work on the calm. Work on the calm on yourself. Work on the calm on them, because here's why. And we use gottman our family research therapist on this. If your heart rate is up and their heart rate is up, the brain is no longer functioning properly. Yeah, because you're kind of stupid talking to stupid. Nobody's hearing correctly, nobody can process correctly. So we want to get calm first, and then you can address whatever you were working on before the fit started. Even if it is, we need to find your shoes, because we're late for preschool, which is often the problem.
Uh, Michelle, there's so much I want to say right now. I just love all of that. In a minute, I want you to talk about the sensory issues, because I do think that that's something that parents really need an education in. However, I do remember a story with one of our kids when she was a teenager, and, um, she was really upset about a whole lot of things, and I wasn't angry with her, but I was getting anxious in my spirit. Right. So I kept trying to say, but that's not what I meant to say, but honey, I this and honey, I that. And as I was talking like that, it was like, stupid meeting stupid. So she was having more and more meltdown. Finally, my husband came in, and he said, you know, Becky, let me take over. And I was kind of like, gladly, because I'm really messing this up. And she was 16 at the time. He pulled that 16 year old on his lap, and he just said, Tell me all about it. And all about it was about her history teacher, her English teacher, the kids in the lunchroom. It had nothing to do with me, but because our emotions were bouncing off of each other, we were not communicating well. And I think that that so often happens. So I have two questions. Number one, I want you to talk to us a little bit about sensory issues. But then you said, Calm yourself down. You talked about a mommy timeout, which I love that. I have seen some of my kids practice that because I'm now a grandmother. And they'll say, Well, Mommy is getting a time out in her bedroom. She just needs to relax a little bit. Before we come back to this, but how do you, as a mom, calm down? Maybe it's not anger, maybe it's anxiety. And you're thinking, oh, my gosh, I need to Google. Is my child's psychopath.
Awful? We can Google these things today.
It really doesn't. In fact, I have a client right now and she's amazing, highly educated person. And right now, one of the things to reduce her anxiety is she is reducing her Google on site.
I love that.
And so that's really one of her therapeutic goals and it's working really well. In fact, the other day, somebody woke up with something and this is a medical professional. She's like, I didn't google it. I just said to myself, we're going to ride this wave like we did before. Like, my mom did none of our mum.
Yeah, like me. I didn't google anything. In fact, one of my daughters said to me, mum, how did you raise us without Google MD? I said, you know, we called the pediatrician and we got on our knees.
Becky and here's the problem. Google makes us feel like we're responsible for more than we need to be responsible. Yes.
I love it.
I think this is a huge mom struggle. We feel like if we don't know it and if we don't do it, then we failed our kids. And I just want to, right now, just break that idea, because none of us get hindsight. A lot of times, all we do is I Googled my knee and I was, like, ready for a knee replacement in no time. And it turns out there are some things to do in between that are working pretty well right now. So that's why sometimes and it's so funny you bring this up with your teenager, because, uh, I've got that same girl. And I'm telling you, if you have a daughter, an adolescent daughter, and your husband is the calm one, he needs to take over mine now. She gets more than she would ever get from me. She's got him wrapped. She says it's not around her finger, it's around all four, which I totally agree, but he does so much better with her than me right now. And some of that, like, I don't know about you, but, like, my mom's voice irritated me in puberty, and so I don't know what that is. But, like, her dad just sounds better to her and work better with her. I think that's really wise to do a tag team if it's available. It's not always available. Her dad used to be on the road four days a week before COVID that wasn't available, so she and I had to figure it out. But it's funny you bring that up, because that teenage brain is a lot like that toddler brain. It's going through the same pruning between the ages of depending on when they hit puberty, between ten and about 14. We're going to see the same kinds of connections being made. So I tell middle school parents when I teach on the middle school brain in Christian schools when they're going nuts and that intensity is really high, like maybe they're having a total meltdown. And you just said to them, no, we can't drive through Taco Bell because we got to go pick up your brother and they're starving and they're going to die, that kind of thing. And they look like you just told them like somebody was kidnapped in the family. But we're talking about Taco Bell. They have a hard time with perspective in that age range and that's something we want to teach kids. In fact, um, Sydney Gosburg, are my kids on track? She talks about that. Um, she and Dave Thomas, I don't want to leave David than that m the rest of them out. But, um, there is that idea of perspective and it's important to help our kids with it. But also sometimes in the middle of it, the most important thing we can do is just sue them. And that's what we have to know how to do ourselves as well. And what I really tell Moms, and this is hard for me, I'm going to be honest with you. I don't know if you'll figure this out yet, but my pace is rapid and my voice is loud. Okay, that does not work. Good for calm. The first thing you're going to do is slow your brain down, slow your pace down of your speech and slow I mean, my therapists are shocked when I'm in a therapy office sometimes to come and watch me because I'm like this. I'm talking in a totally different pace and I'm helping you breathe. So we're doing it together. And I'm not talking about breathe the way we breathe as women because we like to suck our bellies in to look skinnier so we don't take really good breaths. I'm talking about breathing where your heart expands. When I teach little kids how to breathe, a lot of times they'll lay down on the couch and we put a book on their bellies and we have them move the book up and down because that's getting that full belly breath, that kind of breathing. So breathing is one step. I'm going to answer your questions now. Another step is how you talk to yourself. If you're like, he shouldn't do that. I can't believe he's acting that way. You're going to make yourself more serious, mhm. But if instead you will pray and say, God help me, I need to be calm and I'm furious and I'm tired. God, a lot of times we're tired. We go back to the AA halt. We're hungry, angry, lonely, tired. I mean, I used to laugh, but if my kids were melting down, I'm like, do I need to give them a cheese stick or do I smell? Do they need an orange? Another, uh, coping skill. A lot of times I'll look at is, do they need a nap or just some quiet because of those sensory issues? And the best tool I can give you on that, I learned about sensory issues. Not in graduate school, because it's across field for mine. It's part of occupational therapy. They're the ones who treat sensory issues. And I had these girls who were melting down. And I was a nanny when I was at seminary, at Dallas Seminary in Highland Park. And my boss was a doctor. And instead of going to play therapy, they were swinging on swings and bouncing on balls. And I'm asking her, seriously, how is this going to make these girls better? Like, why are they not in clay therapy? And so she had me read this book called The Out of Sync Child. It's a classic. It's a great book. If you want to learn about sensory issues, mama's, that's your book. And you can tell if the kids got sensory issues. Some of them will rub their faces in your skirts and on your belly. Some of them will be more sensory avoided. Loud noises will startle them. They won't, like, crowds of people. This is totally the son I have. He hates tags.
Uh, I had one like that. No tags. I had a daughter who would hand me her sock in the morning and say, can you iron this? Because she couldn't stand the wrinkles in her socks. And I remember saying, no, that's where I draw the line. I'm not going to iron your socks. But I had to watch everything she wore because certain fabrics bothered her. If I took her into a store with really bright lights and loud music, she would have a meltdown. She had the sensory things going on.
Yes. And the sooner you get that treated, the better that is there's also, um I'm going to call it the wrong name. I always call it the wrong thing. But it's a dry brushing technique, that OT formula. And that's a really important thing. What it does is it resets your vestibular system, which is how you get motion sickness. And so you can dry brush yourself as an adult. My husband, when he works uh uh, my husband is a healthcare consultant. When he was on a project in New York City, when we went to the OT, they give us the evaluation back. And my husband is like, Why are we treating this? This is just part of life. This is normal. And I looked at the OT and I said, meet the tree the nut came out of right here. My husband literally has a list of foods he won't eat when he travels because he doesn't like to explain to every person his texture issues. I mean, this is very hereditary. Um, my daughter, out of this has developed mesophonia, which is, um, I've had to have her treated by an audiologist. And then the audiologist is doing my work in fact, she's like, I need to talk to you about hiring your center to work with me, because you know what you're doing on this. But what happens is she can't stand during COVID We didn't eat around each other as much. And so when she went back to school, hearing people chew and make noises puts her in a Fight fight or freeze days. And it's very hereditary in my family. I mean, uh, my family and my husband's, he broke up with me the first time we dated for chewing my popcorn too loud. No lie. It's really severe in this family. And so there are these things that kids struggle with that can create emotions in their body. Just like when I had chronic pain, these things are real. And this is why we can't ignore them and shame them for them. And, uh, we need to get into this treatment phase of dealing with the net emotions. We want to acknowledge the emotion, because that alone. If you look at Happiest Toddler on the Block, which is a great book for preschoolers, he talks about this caveman idea. If you get down with that kid and you go, you're mad. You're really, really mad. And then the kid will quit screaming, I'm mad because you've heard them. And sometimes they're like, yeah, I'm mad. And then all of a sudden, you see a shift in their cognition in that process. And so those are tools to validate their emotion and then to say to them, I want to try to help you get out of your mad. I want to try. Let's work together to get out of your sad. You know, that type of thing. If kids are scared, you have to address what they're scared of. And you know what? We have to remember our big adult perspective is very different than that little perspective. And so what they're scared of is very real to them. And we're not going to address it by minimizing it. Sometimes we can minimize it a little. Sometimes I train, um, preschool teachers a lot. I did a ton of that this summer. And I laugh with them. Because sometimes you can get a kid in the two and three year old zone out of that fit and meltdown through the process that we actually use in dialectical behavioral therapy. It's called distraction. And literally, this kid can be like, I want an nitric cone. I want a nitrogen cone. You can go, look at that bird. Oh, my gosh, that bird is blue. And he just flew by and all of a sudden, the kid was going, I want an entry cousin. Look at that bird. That's a really cool bird. And so sometimes you can use destruction like that, but after a while, they'll figure that out. Sometimes that even works in our car with teenagers. We'll put on worship music and that will kind of change the tone, distract, you know, um, I'll be honest, I'm rapid fire questions because I got them hostage in the car, and they like to hide in their rooms a lot of times. And I'll make my daughter anxious with, uh, what are we doing about this? Are we going to this? Do I need to drive you to this? These are all things I need answers to. But for her, and we are very different personalities, I'm a two. I really am driven by people on the Enneagram scale, but I have a lot of three in me, which means I like to get stuff done.
My daughter is a nine. She likes to chill and avoid anything stressful. My presence and I've seen this in the therapy office with Moms. Walking in makes her whole body tighten up because my energy is so much more intense. So that's the idea, if you have that energy. I have learned to bring it down when I'm around her, because she needs that. It's truly an emotional need for her for me to come in quieter, calmer, and with less questions than I'd like to ask.
Yeah, I can relate to the rapid fire questions. Sometimes I pick up, um, some of my little grandkids from school, and I have one who takes, uh, a really long time to answer. And so what I'm learning to do is ask him a question. I'll be driving, I literally put one hand over my mouth, and I count to ten, because it takes him about that long to begin to answer. And if I ask him another rapid fire question, which is my normal tendency, he'll be like, Wait, what did you say? And he's not even there with me. But I want him to feel heard, valued and loved. So I want to give him enough space to actually answer the question. I loved your story about chewing, because I was just with my adult daughter, um, on Saturday and two of her kids, and she's the one that had a lot of the sensory issues. She would say this herself, so I'm not breaking any confidences here. We're, uh, in the car, and some of her kids are chewing chips in the back seat. And all of a sudden I see her and she's like, uh and she's like, okay, if you guys don't chew quieter, I'm going to let you out here and you can walk the last block home. And she was just kidding, but, I mean, the kids just thought it was hilarious, and so the more she would say that, the more louder they would chew, and it was just grating on her. But that's the real thing.
There's a treatment for it, too, which a lot of people don't know about. You can put a hearing aid in the ear and begin to diffuse the sound and retrain that brain. Wow, sounds so loud. You have to work with that. I'm very fortunate. There's about seven to ten audiologists in the country trained in this methodology, and one of them happens to be in the Dallas area. I'm driving a long way. Luckily, we can do telehealth once we got the hearing AIDS and we did the testing and we got them. Um, but my daughter actually is using different apps and using different sounds and then working on that cognition of saying, I'm safe. It's fine. Nothing bad is happening here. They're just chewing loud. And I have been amazed she doesn't even do it as much as she's supposed to, because can you imagine getting a 15 year old aware, like, hearing aid all the time? Especially when they don't have to to be able to function. But even in the amount she's used it, especially in the car if I eat and of course, you know, I come from a family allowed tours. That's just the way the universe works, right? If your child has this thing, you're going to be on the other end of the spectrum. Um, but we talked about it. Uh, we almost kind of had a little family therapy session with the audiologist because it would make her mad at me. And we had to deal with some and then I would get mad because we weren't having family dinners, because she doesn't want to eat at the table with anybody. She wants to go eat by herself. And, you know, we have all this research on family dinners and how important they are. We've learned to connect as a family in other ways. We don't eat a lot of meals together because it doesn't help us as a family. It makes things worse for us. And that's been hard sometimes as moms have to pivot. And I don't always love doing it, but I teach that a lot in the therapy office. If we're like crastics and we won't flex, a lot of times things will break. But if we learn to be like pipe cleaners and we learn that flexibility, it makes a big difference.
Yeah. Um, one of my grandkids is pretty far on the spectrum, and so they can eat family dinners, but he doesn't join. He eats in an adjoining room. And that has worked well for them.
I'm so glad we're talking about this, because I think moms feel like they fail in this kind of thing.
Yes. So talk about that. Michelle OK. Because a lot of and then there's this whole Christian side of things. Um, you know, I know the home I was raised in, anger, uh, was wrong. Too much crying was wrong. All the emotions were wrong. Unless you were an adult. Then I saw a lot of rage.
Right. In fact, I had an experience with my dad. Ah. This was shocking to me. In 30 years, my father and I, we kind of had come to Jesus. I had gotten some help in college, and, um, really, I'd worked with John Thomson and Henry Cloud. And on June 20 years. So my dad. Really respects me. But he lost it on July 4. Like totally lost it with me. And I said to him, let's just stop talking. And he kept going, I mean, screaming at the top of his lungs and just angry and pointing. And I was like, oh, you can't stop. It hit me. The therapist in me took over instead of the daughter. And I was like, I'm going to walk out. I love you, but I'm walking out. And so I left and my mom came out. We talked for a little bit and then I needed to come back in and get some car keys. So I thought I'd waited long enough. I came back in and, um, my dad said to me, let me go back. When I was out there outside, I realized how fortunate I was that I was an adult. Because when I was a little kid, if I had said the things I said to my dad, I would have gotten probably hurt. And I wouldn't allow to show the emotion. I didn't even know how to stay calm the way, uh, I was able to stay calm as an adult now. Because when nobody in the family has those skills, the kids don't get those skills out of nowhere, right? They don't come around that way. So when families teach and that's why I'm writing these books on God, I feel sad and God, I feel mad and God, I feel scared. Because if we can teach this emotional selfregulation and let me say this, there's two parts to this. There's the skill and then in Christian families, I believe that self control is a fruit of the spirit. So the more connection we have to God and faith, the more self control we're able to gain. But we can be connected to God like my father and have a brain issue like his family does and really struggle with selfcontrol.
And that, uh, may not always be able to be repaired. Now, I've seen him do a lot better, but he was not good on July 4, let me tell you. And we even had more trouble because when I came back in and I was just so compassionate for the child I was, but so grateful for the woman I was now in that moment. I love it. And that was kind of interesting to see. I'm writing a book for teenage girls right now on daddy issues with Lynn Cow. We're writing a devotional on the fatherhood of God. And so I thought, well, God, there we go. I'm going to get daddy issues brought back up. Here we go. But when I came back in, I said to my dad, he started talking to me and he said, I'm sorry I screamed, but you and I was like, oh, dad, you need to stop. You need to stop right there. Because as a child, I heard these kind of apologies. But I will not take this kind of apology as an adult because you were raging and you were out of control. And I never lost my temper. And it doesn't matter what I say or what I do. I'm not responsible for your behavior. You are. So I'm going to forgive you because that's who I am and I love you. But if you can't own your own behavior, just don't say anything. And he then looked at me and said, I'm sorry I got so mad. And I said, I love you. I received that, uh, wow, water into the table.
I think on the flip side of this whole spectrum, uh, there are a lot of Christian parents, unfortunately, who think it's a sin to get angry, or it's a sin to cry, or it's a sin to feel anxious, or it's a sin to feel depressed. And yet we see that Jesus displayed all the range of emotions, and we are created in his image. And so Jesus got pretty angry in the temple, and he was pretty sad in the garden. And so I think parents of, uh, Christian parents really need to take a look at the fact that emotion is not wrong. It means you are alive and you've been created in the image of an emotional God who's incredible. But as we grow in the Holy Spirit, he allows us to manage those. So, Michelle, man, we could go on for hours and hours, but we are almost out of time. In fact, probably we are out of time. But Sarah and I are both huge fans for praying Scripture over our kids in my own parenting journey. And as I said, I'm now a grandmother. Learning to praise Scripture and learning how to praise God in the journey really quieted a lot of the struggle that I had from childhood with anxiety. Um, that's a big emotion for us as mothers, is that anxious feeling. But talk about praying Scripture, and what are some of your favorite scriptures to pray for your kids?
Well, I think I'll give you one that I use. And we went through a really hard time as a family. My husband's twin sister and her husband both were diagnosed with cancer within two weeks of each other, and they died within two years of each other.
So, uh, we had a lot of fear, and I didn't realize this. I was talking to my daughter a lot and my nieces and my nephew, but I had a two year old son, very nonverbal, who watched all this happen over from two to 87. And he developed a lot of anxiety, already hereditary for him. And then this really triggered it. And so he would go to bed at night. I didn't even realize it. He developed stomach issues, which is very common for adults and children who are under too much anxiety, fear or stress, they will get reflux and gastric issues. And so I thought he and I both had a stomach bug that never went away. And we both I from the traumatic stress of just all of it and him from thinking both of his he didn't know that both parents dying wasn't normal. He thought that happened to lots of kids because of typical, I would say, because he was watching this. And so he was having dreams that like, my husband got on a plane and it crashed and I got cancer and died really fast. And so in the midst of that, I taught him Second Timothy one Seven, which is one of my favorite scriptures for mental health in general. And it's god has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, love, and a sound mind. And so I think while we acknowledge we experience fear, that's not the spirit in which we live out of. We don't sit there and dwell and build it. Because if we do it when I talk to kids, I talk to them as fear being. And, um, I start with worry because worry is before fear. So worry is like a little dragon. And if you feed that dragon, it's going to grow. And it's going to grow, and it's going to grow, and it's going to grow. And pretty soon the dragon will be bigger than you. The dragon will feel bigger than God. But I tell kids all the time in my office, I've never met a worry dragon bigger than God ever. Because we've always seen that, because we've been given the power to demolish that kind of fear. But that's a hard thing to explain to a little kid. So what we have to work on is shrinking the worry dragon. And we do that through using scripture for telling. My son would see things at night, and I would teach them to tell them to go away in Jesus name because I didn't know if they were just his fear or spirit or what. And so we teach our kids that kind of armor of God spiritual warfare concept, and that shrinks the worry dragon. And here's the thing, parents, I really want you to teach your kids. This is something I said to my kids over and over again. There is nothing we're going to face that you and I and God can't handle together. Because m, when they feel like we are too fragile, they're too scared to bring it to us. I had a kid the other day, 18 years old. She's not much of a kid anymore, but I've known her for a long time and I had to hospitalize her. She was struggling with suicide. And it had grown to the point where she acted on it. And I told her, why didn't you come to your mom? And she's like, I didn't want to burden my mom with this. She's been through this before. And I didn't want to put her through it. And I'm like, so, uh, we put her through a suicide attempt instead of suicidal thoughts. And the kids like, yeah, that doesn't make a lot of sense, does it? But at the time, you're guarding people. And so I think it's so important that we help kids know that there is nothing we can handle. They're mad. We can handle their sad. We can handle their scared. God can look at Psalms. I mean, David looks like a bipolar, mess, manic depressive. He's like, I can do anything. And the next thing he's like, let me now, Lord, just put me out. He looks like a two year old, right when you read songs. And so I think we want to share that with our kids. This is normal. And now it's not as normal for my husband. He is not wired the same way I am. He feels emotions on a scale of, like, one to three. I feel emotions on a scale of, like, one to 20. On a scale of one to ten. All of us are wired differently. Your kids are going to be wired differently. I have one child that feels a lot and shows very little. I have another child that doesn't feel quite as much, but he'll show it more when he feels it. M. And so you have to learn how your kids work and then let them know that the way they were made is great and that they're going to be able to manage these emotions.
Yeah, that's a great place to end. Michelle, this has been so helpful and in the show notes today, we're going to have a way where you can connect with Michelle, follow her on social media, buy her books, by all means, so that you have the tools to be the mama that I know you want to be. I'm going to just close this out in prayer. But thanks so much, Michelle, for being here with us. Let me pray and then we'll end this show. Lord Jesus, we love being mamas, but we confess before you that sometimes we are overwhelmed by our kids big emotions, by our own big emotions, by our teens big emotions. And so, Lord Jesus, thank you for the practical tools that Michelle gave us, and we praise you, Lord, that you are for us as mamas, and that together with you, we can handle any problem that comes up in our kids lives. We love you and we praise you, Lord Jesus, in Jesus name, amen. Hey, friends, thanks for joining us today on the Connected Mom podcast. And if you're enjoying these podcasts, I hope you'll share it with your friends and we'd love to have you join us again next week where we'll continue real conversations, helping you connect more deeply with God, more empathically with your fellow moms, and more intentionally with your child.