Episode 103: Why it’s so important to be your child’s parent not their friend

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Season 7
Season 7
Episode 103: Why it’s so important to be your child’s parent not their friend
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As parents, we all want our children to be happy and we’ll do whatever we can to keep them happy and to avoid giving them any pain.

But for your child to feel safe, they need you to clearly establish boundaries and then stick to them, regardless of whether that’s going to upset them or not. You can’t do that by being friends.

Dr Stephen Spencer is a child and adolescent mental health nurse and specialises in supporting young people through times of trauma and heavy stress. In this conversation, we talk about that fine line between parenting and friendship and why children need clear, strong parenting, even when they think they don’t.

We also talk about how to support young people through crises and times of great change, such as leaving school, and what you can do to help them feels safe to open up and talk.

During this time he recognised many of the men he nursed in this setting had significant challenges during their formative, developmental years. He learnt quickly that early intervention and support for young people can have life-long impacts.

About Today’s Guest Dr. Stephen Spencer

PhD in Mental Health Nursing, Prevention and Management of Violence and Aggression (PMVA) trainer, Dialectical Behaviour Therapy and Cognitive Behaviour Therapy for Psychosis in Young People, member of the Australian College of Mental Health Nurses.

Dr Stephen Spencer first started his nursing career following the birth of his daughter. On that day, he and his wife were cared for by a male midwife, this planted the seed for him to pursue a nursing career. His first few years was working in a medium-secure Forensic Mental Health Unit. During this time he recognised many of the men he nursed in this setting had significant challenges during their formative, developmental years. He learnt quickly that early intervention and support for young people can have life-long impacts.

This was the motivation for him to start working with young people in an acute mental health unit and the formation of EquiEnergy Youth.

Steve is EEY’s Clinical Director and a mental health nurse who has now worked for over a decade in an acute child and adolescent inpatient unit. He has provided care to thousands of young people hospitalised for acute mental health problems.

In 2017, Steve was awarded a PhD for his research project which investigated the most effective responses and interventions for young people experiencing episodes of acute psychological distress. Through his work with EquiEnergy Youth, Steve shares his evidence-based framework and clinical experience of providing psychological first aid. The goal is to build capacity in the adults who support young people and  improve outcomes for those who experience episodes of psychological distress, or live with mental health challenges.

Connect with Dr. Stephen

Coach2Cope: Psychological First Aid

Provides adults with a method they can follow at any time to recognise the earliest warning signs of escalating distress and support a young person through that episode. Much like DR ABC for a physical health crisis, TAR3 psychological first aid framework will provide adults with the understanding to help a child when they need it most.

Coach2Cope: Psychological First Aid is a 25-minute online program you can do from any device (with internet connection), EquiEnergy Youth have just released this program and is available on their website.
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