In the second half of my conversation with the authors of Every Little Win: How Celebrating Small Victories Can Lead to Big Joy Brooke and Todd Tilghman, they’re sharing their journey of supporting their oldest son Eagan through difficulty in school and mental health issues that arose as a result. In this episode, they explain why and when they chose to seek professional help for their son, what the process looked like for them as parents, the changes they made to promote Eagan’s mental health, and different ways we can “win” when our children struggle with mental health complications.
Key points from our conversation:
🗣️ If your child tells you they’re struggling or self-harming, believe them and ask how you can support them well.
👂 School counselors may not be able to offer one-on-one counseling, but they are equipped to listen and connect parents with resources.
❓ A therapist can help by giving you knowledge so that you can ask your child better questions without violating their confidence.
🧠 If the mental health issue is severe, a counselor can send the child for an in-patient evaluation. If hospitalized, the child should be put on a treatment plan that helps them learn skills for healthy emotional processing.
🏥 Parents are often separated from the child for a short period after they’re admitted for in-patient treatment to give the child an opportunity to stabilize and focus on getting themselves well. Stays typically only last a few days before the child is sent home for a partial hospitalization program or intensive outpatient program.
🎒 You are your child’s biggest advocate. If their school environment is toxic and the administration is unable or unwilling to help, remove your child. There are multiple education options available.
🏆 We win when we confess our mistakes as parents. We win when we fight for our kids when things get hard. We win when we find others who can help in ways we can’t. We win when we ask our kids how can we help them.