247: Helping Kids With Rashes To Thrive w/ Dr. Nicole Beurkens, PhD, CNS

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Dealing with chronic skin conditions can take their toll mentally on anyone, but put yourself in the shoes of a child who may not have the same life experience as you do to cope. Stick in the dreaded school bullying, and you can have a major storm on your hands as parents or caregivers. My guest today covers specific things to look for and DO when tackling mental health for children with skin rashes.

Or, listen on your favorite app: iTunes (Apple Podcasts) | Spotify | Stitcher | TuneIn | Subscribe on Android

Today's guest, Dr. Nicole Beurkens, is a licensed clinical psychologist with advanced degrees in psychology, education, and nutrition. She is a leading holistic child psychologist and has dedicated her 25-year career to providing parents with research-based strategies that get to the root of children’s attention, anxiety, mood, and behavior challenges so they can reach their highest potential. She runs a multi-disciplinary evaluation and treatment clinic and is a best-selling author, published researcher, award-winning therapist, media expert, and experienced mother of four.

Join us as we discuss how to best SUPPORT mental health holistically for children and teens with chronic skin conditions.

If you've found that counseling or at-home therapy work has helped your family in dealing with a chronic condition, what specifically helped the most? Let me know in the comments!

In this episode:

  • Why it's a BIG mistake to NOT talk about skin conditions with your kid (especially if it makes your child feel “different”)
  • Steps to empower your child if they have a skin condition
  • Criteria of red flags to know that there's something wrong or signs that there could be an issue at school
  • How to get your child talking (without feeling ashamed) about bullying or other problems they face
  • Benefits of having your child talk to someone other than you (or another parent or caregiver)

Quotes

“A lot of times kids are bringing those things to us not because they want us to in and play superhero and call everybody's mom, and fix it… they're telling us because they need us to be with them in how they're feeling about it. They need to not be alone in how they're feeling.” [17:30]

“…The reality is that most children, the vast majority will not initiate telling a parent or teacher or caregiver that it's going on because they are ashamed, because they're embarrassed because they don't know how to talk about that. So it is up to US as the adults in these kids' lives to raise these issues and to watch for the signs.” [10:16]

Links

Find Dr. Nicole Beurkens online

Get Dr. Beurkens's FREE Top 10 Nutrients Guide

Follow Dr. Beurkens on Instagram| Facebook

Order Dr. Beurkens's book: Life Will Get Better

247: Helping Kids With Rashes To Thrive w/ Dr. Nicole Beurkens, PhD, CNS FULL TRANSCRIPT

Jennifer: Thank you so much for being here, Dr. Nicole. I really appreciate you showing up for the show and sharing your wisdom with our parents today who are tuning in.

Dr. Nicole Beurkens: Oh, such a pleasure to be here. Thanks for having me.

Jennifer: So I wanted to talk today about the scenario that a lot of children are left with very visible rashes that could cause kids in schools to ostracize them. And as we know, I think in being honest, we know that just from our own childhoods, a lot of times kids are not always the kindest, unfortunately. Some kids are, but not all kids are. And there's a lot of bullying that can go on. I wanted to speak to the type of experience that the child is having and feeling who may be… Obviously, they look different. Their skin looks different. They may have periods of time where their skin looks clear and then other times it does not, and how that could be impacting them. Obviously then, the parents who are trying to support their kids, and I'm sure they feel bad. So have you had experience with this in working with your clients and patients? Do you feel like this is a common experience in childhood where kids become ostracized because basically they look different?

Dr. Beurkens: Yeah. Unfortunately, it's a common thing and it happens in a lot of realms. I mean, whether we're talking about any type of chronic health condition, which can be things like eczema, psoriasis, rash kinds of things, it can be kids with chronic health conditions like migraines where they maybe miss school quite a bit. It can be kids going through various treatment for things like cancers, autoimmune disease, kids born with deformities. Anybody who experiences a condition visible or invisible that sort of sets them apart in any way, unfortunately this piece can come up about how it affects their mental health, how it affects their social interactions.

Dr. Beurkens: And school, of course, is the big playing field where this all plays out. Not just in school, certainly can be in extracurriculars and in other places in the community, but schools where kids are spending the majority of their time. So it's not uncommon for me to work with children who, whether they're willing to talk about it and disclose it initially or not are dealing with quite a bit of anxiety, or depression, or loneliness, or bullying, those kinds of things as a result of living with and managing this health situation and other kids not understanding or not being empathic or supportive about it. So it's something that I think every kid who has one of these kinds of issues deals with at one point or another in the course of their development.

Jennifer: Do you think that children who are experiencing this either being basically being ostracized, being bullied, being picked on and made fun of, do you feel like this is something that parents should worry about? Because I imagine I was bullied a lot as a kid and I know that, that really was stressful for my mother. She was very upset about that. And it's hard, I think for parent… It's not like you can just like walk into school and tell everybody, “Hey, stop making one of my kid.” You don't have the power to do that per se. And then there could be repercussions to that even saying anything.

Jennifer: So how does that dynamic come in with how the parent feels about this particular situation? Because obviously we are talking to adults and most of the people listening to this show are probably parents or even grandparents?

Dr. Beurkens: That's right. It impacts us as parents or family members significantly because of course we don't want to see our child struggling socially or having any of these issues. And so it's tough. But it is something that we play a big role as parents or caregivers in being proactive about and being able to help mitigate the effects of this. One of the good things that's happened over the last decade or so for sure is there's much more awareness around bullying, around the impact of bullying, around the need for schools and community organization to be doing education and work around that. So that's helpful.

Dr. Beurkens: But I think a few things around this for people who are listening, who are parents or family members, sometimes there's this idea that if a child has something going on health wise or it even can be something like a learning disability. It can be any kind of difference. A lot of parents or caregivers feel like, “Well, best not to say anything about it. Let's just try to keep it a secret or keep it on the down low. Let's just not make a big deal about it because then my kid is going to feel different or singled out.”

Dr. Beurkens: Here's the thing to understand about that. Kids already know when they're different. They don't need us to say anything about it to know. So it's a real mistake that I see parents and caregivers making and even teachers and others who are involved in kids' lives to have this idea that, “Well, let's just not talk about it because we don't want to upset them or we don't want to make them feel different.” Kids, even really young kids, preschool age kids know that they have a difference, right? They know, “I have a blotchy rash all over my skin that other kids don't have.” Or they know, “My hair doesn't grow like everybody else's and I don't look the same. Or I have patches on parts of my body that don't have the same pigment as the rest of my body.”

Dr. Beurkens: Or they know, “I have all these medications that I take all these doctor's appointments all these times that I miss school.” They already know. So we actually do a disservice to them by not being open and talking about it, and addressing these issues. And talking with and educating the people that are in school with them, educating other kids about it. So I think that's one of the big misconceptions that if there's one thing that people take from this conversation, I would want it to be that the more knowledge and education and information we give not only our children who are affected by these things, but the teachers, the kids, the other people that they're spending time around, the better.

Dr. Beurkens: Because when children have information, number one, that's empowering. For the child who has the condition, it's very empowering. Even from a young age for them to understand, “What is the name of my condition? What is the prognosis for this? Why do I do these treatments? What's going on with that?” That's empowering for them, which helps them to then manage comments and things that kids or adults might make. So empowering them with knowledge, but also the other people that they're spending time with.

Dr. Beurkens: I'm a big proponent of parents or practitioners going into the class and talking about these things, especially the bigger the issue or the disability is. To talk about it and say, “Oh, we all have differences. Let's talk about what's going on with our friend, Johnny here and have him share some of that.” Because the miraculous thing, and it's so contradictory to what most adults think. We think, “Oh, don't talk about it or we're going to get teased.”

Dr. Beurkens: Actually, the opposite is true. When we give school age children, preschool all the way through high school, when we give them knowledge and information, they are much more accepting and much more tolerant where bullying really stems from. And the ostracizing stems from is this sort of fear of this is different. This is uncomfortable. I don't know what this is. When we give kids knowledge and information, suddenly it makes sense to them. And they're like, “Oh, that's what's going on.”

Dr. Beurkens: Even to the point of with visible rashes and things or limb deformities, any of those kinds of things, we have to understand when we don't explain to children, especially younger children, they make up all kinds of stories in their head about, “I might catch that. If I play tag with Sally on the playground, what if I start to have that, right?” So that's where some of the ostracizing, the bullying comes in. So that's why it's so important that we are giving kids knowledge and information, and that breaks down those barriers. It allows for a lot of empathy, inclusion, acceptance, and ultimately allows the kids who have these conditions to more seamlessly integrate into the social mix of what's going on in school, in sports, in other extracurriculars. And it makes it an easier road for them.

Jennifer: I could see that. I could definitely see that because I recognize the stories. As you're talking, I'm thinking to myself, the stories that people would about me and what was going on with me when I was a kid, for a parent or a grandparent, is there a way, or maybe like a criteria of red flags that you might see in your child to know… If they're not telling you that there's something wrong, but maybe you see it coming out in other way that there could be something like signs that there could be an issue at school, is there something that parents and grandparents, and as you say, caregivers could look for that might be the moment where you're like, “Hey, maybe we do not need to start talking about this.”

Dr. Beurkens: Yeah. I'm really glad you ask that because the reality is that most children, the vast majority will not initiate telling a parent to teacher a caregiver that it's going on because they are ashamed, because they're embarrassed because they don't know how to talk about that. So it is up to us as the adults in these kids' lives to raise these issues and to watch for the signs. And there are several signs that kids maybe are experiencing bullying or that they're being ostracized or that there's teasing, or just things like that going on.

Dr. Beurkens: Any change from their norm in terms of behavioral patterns, that can be noticing behavioral pattern changes in terms of how they manage frustrations like it's usually a pretty easy going kid who suddenly, it's really prickly, kind of blowing up at things a lot, or melting down a lot like, “Oh, that's really different.” That's out of character for them, right?

Dr. Beurkens: Kids who are suddenly spending a lot more time alone and isolated. Not spending as much time with family, not wanting to do things with friends, or leave the house to do things. That's another big one. Significant mood changes. Noticing that, wow, pretty grumpy, pretty irritable. That's unusual for them. Anxieties. Especially things like nighttime fears, anxieties of not wanting to be away from parents. Again, if that's outside the norm for them, that's kind of one of those red flags that says, “Something is going on here that we need to delve into.”

Dr. Beurkens: Of course, any changes in physical complaints. A kid who is suddenly having a lot more complaints of, “Oh, I don't want to go to school. My stomach hurts. Or I have a headache. Or can you come pick me up?” Those are indications that, “Oh, something's probably going on in that environment that is uncomfortable for them, that they're trying to avoid.” Any change in things like eating habits, sleeping habits, things like that, those can all be signs in children that something is going on here emotionally that we want to delve into and understand more about.

Dr. Beurkens: I do think it's important, even if you're not noticing any of those kinds of signs to periodically raise it with kids. I try to do that as a healthcare practitioner. I'll periodically bring it up with my patients of, “Hey, I was just talking to another patient yesterday and he was telling me he's really had some issues with bullying in the lunch room, like kids not wanting to sit next to him. I'm just curious, has that ever happened to you? Have you ever seen that happen to other kids?”

Dr. Beurkens: I'll just sort of find a roundabout way with teenagers or things I'll often bring up like, “I read a really interesting article the other day about the percentage of kids who experience bullying or kids who have the condition that you have and how hard that is socially. I'm just wondering, we haven't ever talked to you about that. I wonder do you agree with what that article says?” And I'll find these roundabout ways to bring that up, to give them an opportunity to engage and share around that, because you often do need to find those back doors. If you say point blank to a kid, “So are you being bullied?” Honestly, the statistics show most of them, even if they are, they will deny it.

Jennifer: I probably did.

Dr. Beurkens: That's right. We need to find these opportunities to bring it up in a way that gives them the opportunity to tiptoe into that and share a bit to give us a better window into what is actually going on for them.

Jennifer: Just as a parent, I mean, the thing is there's no handbook and not all of us have the same capacity for empathy, and not everybody has skills to be able to sit there and hold space for someone without getting angry. I mean, because obviously I think it's a natural parental reaction when you hear that your child is being bullied to get angry and you're not angry at your kid, but they might not realize that. So do you have any introductory tips of how to hold space for your child, whether they're a preschooler or a high schooler to make them feel safe and that it's okay to share these things? And I guess too, just acknowledging that you as a parent or a caregiver, you have your own emotions going on at the same time as well that you have to also process.

Dr. Beurkens: Yeah. Such a good point because so often the reasons that kids don't bring these things to us is because we have a history of making it about us when they do. And that is across the board whether it's bullying, whether it's talking about whatever. Oftentimes kids don't bring it to us because we get triggered with our own past histories, our own experiences. We get flooded with our own emotions and then we react to their situation out of our own stuff.

Dr. Beurkens: So this is really key to parenting in general. And particularly when we're talking about these kinds of situations, the key is that we need to be aware of and manage our own emotions and behaviors and realize that when our child is bringing something to us, our job is to keep breathing, notice and acknowledge for ourselves our own feelings, but keep our feelings and our experience of it separate from what is going on with them.

Dr. Beurkens: And so we want to do a lot more listening than talking, especially initially. Tell me more. Tell me more about that. Often a kid will say one thing and before we know it… And I've done this as a parent. We're now doing all this talking back at them and it may not even really be relevant to what they needed from us. Right? A lot of us as parents, even as professionals, working with kids very much want to fix things right away.

Dr. Beurkens: So a kid brings something to us like, “There's a few kids on the bus who are being really mean and calling me names.” And we immediately go into, “Oh my gosh, well, tell me who it is and that's not okay. I'm going to call the school. Did you talk to the bus driver?” We go into this fixing mode because it's so painful for us to sit there with the feeling that somebody's doing something mean to our baby. Right?

Dr. Beurkens: But really what we need to do is listen. So a kid says, “Oh, there's these couple kids that are really mean I'm the bus.” Deep breath. “Oh, tell me more about that. Tell me more about that.” And we kind of keep, “Tell me more about that. Oh, I want to hear more about that. How are you feeling about that? What do you want to have happen? What do you think would help?” And really making sure that we are understanding how they're feeling, what they're experiencing and why they're bringing it to us.

Dr. Beurkens: A lot of times kids are bringing those things to us not because they want us to in and play superhero and call everybody's mom, and fix it, they're telling us because they need us to be with them in how they're feeling about it. They need to not be alone in how they're feeling.

Jennifer: Wow. That's a powerful statement, Dr. Nicole.

Dr. Beurkens: We need to be able to…

Jennifer: That is really powerful to say that like your child is asking you to be with them and how they feel right now.

Dr. Beurkens: That's right. That's right. And be with them in how they feel. And that's ultimately what builds resilience is for them to know that I don't have to be alone in these feelings. It might be however I'm feeling about this is okay and I can come to you with that. And you will acknowledge that feeling, not tell me it's right wrong or whatever, but just accept it and be in it with me, without a need to make it go away by fixing it.

Dr. Beurkens: That's ultimately how we teach kids not to be resilient is they tell us, “I'm feeling sad or angry, whatever,” when we go, “Well, let me make that go away right now. Let me call Johnny's mom. Let me call the school.” You don't have to go at whatever. Well, that's teaching them to avoid any and all uncomfortable feelings, which does not lead them to be resilient.

Dr. Beurkens: So if we want kids to become resilient and let's face it, for children with chronic health conditions, particularly visible ones, even with the best of care, they're going to have time periods throughout their life even as adults where they're going to experience some of this. The more we can build emotional resilience in them as kids, the better they're going to be able to do with that as adults. And that means listening, keeping our own emotions out of it as much as we can, being with them in what they're feeling, and then partnering with them in coming up with a plan of what would be helpful.

Dr. Beurkens: Sometimes what would be helpful is just working with them on some coping strategies. And sometimes what would be helpful is going in and meeting with this school or providing some informational materials to a coach who's working with them, or coming in and doing a presentation for the class or talking with the best friend's mom about the reality of the condition.

Dr. Beurkens: Sometimes those things would be helpful. But we want to make sure that we're understanding what our kid is really communicating and what they really need and then responding out of that and not out of our own stuff.

Jennifer: Wow. My goodness. That could be a lot for an adult. I will acknowledge that I don't have children, but I could imagine from being an aunt that if my niece came to me and told me she was being bullied, my natural response would be to storm to the school and talk to somebody, and call this parent and be that person to stop it. But what you're saying does make sense if I look at it from my recollection of how I felt as a child being in that position.

Dr. Beurkens: That's right. That's right. And sometimes the worst thing we can do depending on the age in the situation is jump in there and go all mama bear or whatever on it, when really the kid is, “I think I can handle this.” And I will tell you probably seven out of 10 times in the kids that I work with at the clinic, when they've got a situation going on, what they want is the support around how they're feeling. They may want some help with strategizing and problem solving, but they want to handle it. Or they at least want to try to handle it first before getting adults involved. So we talk about what does that look like?

Dr. Beurkens: What do you do when somebody's calling you names? What do you do when somebody's spreading rumors about you? What do you do when somebody is leaving you out of things. How do you respond to that? What can you say? When should you just walk away? When is it important to tell an adult what's going on? We give them the tools and the skills, and then we see how that goes. And if it's still continuing as a problem and they're doing the right things and still other kids are managing themselves poorly and behaving inappropriately, then we say to our kid, “It's time for me now to step in and to help you more do directly with this.”

Dr. Beurkens: And how I usually frame that is this is as much for you as it is for this other kid, because kids who bully are kids who have needs too. And so me going to the school or talking to your coach or your 4-H club leader or your friend's mom, or whatever is as much about helping this a other kid as it is you.

Jennifer: That is very powerful. I'm wondering too, because this is a whole part of it, but then also just knowing that you have a clinic and that you work with children, do you think that it's… And obviously you probably do, but I think there's a stigma still about having a kid go to therapy, depending on their age. Do you feel like therapy could also be helpful on their journey? I will share that I started seeing a counselor when I was about 14 and it was actually, I just went to the counselor and I didn't go to my parents. I just went to the counselor at my high school and started that. And it was for me, very helpful to process what was happening to me.

Jennifer: But do you think for children, how can that be helpful for them having maybe someone else to talk to who isn't their parents and could that also be beneficial for the parents that there's some somebody else who has maybe more skills than they do in helping a child process? Because this can also be traumatic for a kid to go through.

Dr. Beurkens: Yeah. I think that therapy can be incredibly beneficial for a lot of kids for a lot of reasons. And as you said, there can be stigma around it. There's still a stigma for adults. Especially for kids, parents worry about, what does it say about my kid that they're seeing a therapist? Here's my like general take on therapy. Every human being benefits from therapy at some point in their life journey. It's part of what makes me a good therapist is being in my own therapy. Right? So luckily, and I think especially over the last couple of years, with everything that has gone on, the stigma around mental health in general and therapy is reducing, but it's still is an issue, particularly for kids.

Dr. Beurkens: And with kids, we run into the issue too of parents who are like, “Well, he doesn't want to go.” Or she won't talk to somebody. What I always say is a good therapist who knows how to work with children will be able to overcome that. Right? As the parent, you say, “I understand you don't want to go. And I respect your feelings about that. It's new, it's different. You don't know what to expect, but we're going to get started with this. We're going to give it a few sessions and see.”

Dr. Beurkens: As a parent, sometimes you need to make that call, right? That this is what's right for my child right now. And understanding that a skilled therapist who knows how to work with children will be able to build rapport, will be able to move that process along in a way that then they will engage in and benefit from. I think especially for kids with chronic health issues, and it's funny because I actually was having a conversation about this exact thing with a mom two days ago here at the clinic about the importance of having at least a few sessions at some point when it's developmentally appropriate, which depending on the kid could be maybe middle elementary school at some point through early high school.

Dr. Beurkens: But somewhere in there, I think it's really important for a kid with any kind of chronic illness, disability, whatever it might be to have a few sessions with a therapist who understands their condition or their needs and issues, and who can provide some good education around that to empower the child with that education and help them think about and work through maybe some of the things they've already encountered or some of the things they're likely to encounter, and to work on some healthy coping skills development for that. The more proactive we can be, the better.

Dr. Beurkens: What often happens is kids run into major issues. And then a parent is like, “Oh, we're going to need to get some counseling.” And certainly that's beneficial. But I think if you have a child with a chronic need or disability, the more you can be proactive of, “Okay, we haven't encountered a huge thing yet. But my kid is in seventh grade now. High school's coming. I see some of these dynamics starting.” Let's do some sessions and it doesn't have to be… People often think like, “Oh, my kid's going to be in therapy for years.”

Dr. Beurkens: Well, sometimes, depending, but most of the time with these kinds of issues, what we're talking about is a handful of sessions. It's a handful of sessions and it's more education and skill building than anything. Let's talk about how this impacts you. What do you understand about this? What questions do you have? This is the thing that parents are shocked at when I do these kinds of sessions with kids. Parents will say, “Oh, I don't think he has any questions about his condition or issue. He's never asked me.” And I'm like, “Guaranteed, he does.” And sure enough, couple sessions in, starts coming at… And parents, they're like, “I had no idea. Why didn't he ask me these questions? Or why didn't he ever ask… Every doctor's appointment we go to, they say, do you have any questions and she always says no.”

Dr. Beurkens: And it's like, “Of course, kids are going to say that. And them saying they don't have any questions about their condition, their treatment, their future, doesn't mean they don't have them. And it doesn't mean they're not creating 18,000 stories in their mind, most of which are not accurate about what this means for them.”

Dr. Beurkens: So having some therapy appointments to explore some of that and pull some of that out, the earlier we can correct misunderstandings, the earlier we can give them accurate stories. The more well adjusted they're going to be. And from a mental health standpoint too, the less anxiety they're going to have, the less they're going to be prone to depression. But it really requires us putting ourselves in the minds of children and realizing that as children, they create all kinds of things.

Dr. Beurkens: “Oh, I have these rashes or I've got this thing that flares.” Even elementary age kids will formulate stories around, “I better not ever have children because something bad will happen to them. Or I won't ever be able to have children. Or nobody will ever marry me. Or I'm going to die before I get to high school.” I mean, these are the things that kids think about.

Dr. Beurkens: And a parent would go, “Well, I mean, you just have chronic eczema. You're not going to die from it.” But the thing is putting ourselves in the minds of children in the absence of good information and support around that, they don't understand these things the same way that we do. So they create scary scenarios or scary stories. So I think this is why it's important when we can be proactive about it to give them some opportunity to work through that with someone who's not a parent, right? And who's not a doctor.

Jennifer: I wish that I had somebody like you when I was a kid. Because you're right. You do create and concoct these ideas about what your life is going to look like down the road that are not really true, but you carry them with you. And then all of your experiences start to reinforce what you think. And that might not provide… I will probably acknowledge after listening to you talk about this, I've probably avoided certain things because I decided early on that because of my earlier experiences in life and how I was so different and bullied, that I didn't deserve or shouldn't engage in certain things.

Jennifer: I'm just having that realization now at almost 42, listening to you talk about this. So parents, I can acknowledge looking back that, wow, I wish that I had had somebody like you. So you have a clinic and you have a podcast. So I think that's the cool thing is that moms and dads, and grandparents, and care givers can actually learn more from you.

Jennifer: I've followed Dr. Nicole for a while and I've sent things too that she's shared on Instagram to my sister and other friends who are parents. And I just thought she was the perfect person to have these conversations with because I acknowledge I'm not a kid and this show isn't necessarily for kids, but I know in a lot of parents listen to this for their children. And she really has a deep understanding of what it's like to work with children who are going through things. So can you tell us a little bit more about your podcast and your practice?

Dr. Beurkens: Yeah.

Dr. Beurkens: Yeah. So my podcast is called The Better Behavior Show. We cover all kinds of topics related to parenting, related to a wide range of diagnoses challenges, issues. And we're almost 200 episodes in, so we've got a huge bank of resources and episodes now for people. Several around even the types of topics that are coming up in our conversation today. So you can find The Better Behavior Show on any of your podcast players. It's also on my website, drbeurkens.com.

Dr. Beurkens: I'm pretty active on Instagram primarily, Facebook a bit too, but really I've got a great community of parents and professionals on Instagram. Great conversations. I try to post there regularly and all the podcasts and sort of I do like summary posts of each of them. And so those can be found there and it's just @drnicolebeurkens.

Dr. Beurkens: And then my clinic is in Grand Rapids, Michigan and we work with families from all over the world doing various types of therapies, different types of consultations, and really are focused on children from infancy through young adulthood, with a wide range of developmental disorders, mental health issues, chronic illness kinds of things. So that's really what we specialize in. And some patients we work with in sort of a typical therapy model of evaluation and ongoing treatment, and then lots of parents, especially people who connect through podcasts and on social media and stuff like that, just even a one time consultation just to give some suggestions or things. I have a wonderful team of people that I'm very blessed to work with at my clinic. And you can find that through my website, drbeurkens.com.

Jennifer: Perfect. And we'll link everything up in the show notes. So it's super easy for everybody listening to this to find you and connect with you. I would highly encourage everyone… I don't have children, like I said, and I still follow Dr. Nicole and I found it helpful. Someone will share with me, they're struggling with something and I'll be like, “Oh, I just saw an episode that she shared from her podcast or something that she shared,” and I'll send it to them because there's no manual to be parent. There just isn't.

Dr. Beurkens: There is no manual.

Jennifer: And I think it's harder for parents. I could imagine just like looking back and seeing how hard my mom tried for me, all the things that she went through before the internet age, and getting brochures from different places and trying to mail away and request information.

Dr. Beurkens: True.

Jennifer: I mean, she tried. And I'll give that to her. I mean, moms and grandmoms, and parents are wonderful. They really do a lot. And dads. I don't want to forget our dads and granddads out there and everybody else who's really trying to-

Dr. Beurkens: That's right.

Jennifer: … support kids as best as possible. So I just want to thank you so much for being here and sharing this wisdom, and I hope that we can have another conversation with you here on the show about all these topics, because I think it's so important that kids know they're not alone, that they're not the things that they're being called.

Jennifer: And like you said, the stories that we make up about ourselves as a young age, and how do we help parents support their children better so that they grow up and can live a joy-filled, wonderful life as best as possible. So thank you so much for being here. I really appreciate it.

Dr. Beurkens: Thank you for having me. It's been a lot of fun.

A lot of times kids are bringing those things to us not because they want us to in and play superhero and call everybody's mom, and fix it... they're telling us because they need us to be with them in how they're feeling about it. They need to not be alone in how they're feeling.