When we grow up as children and the way we are parented, there’s a lot of us that say, “You know what? I’m not going to parent like that.” I am one of them. My mom was a single parent; she put herself in law school. There’s a lot of yelling and grounding. Our parents were doing the best that they could with what they knew at the time. I remember when I was little, I would be playing with my friends, and I was like, “Oh! I’m never going to do that.” Fast forward; many years later, I had two children, and that’s exactly what I did. I yell, I am grounded, and I am always all about punishment.

I made sure that my kids always knew that this was how to behave, how to be respectful, and how to get good grades. I did the best I could at that time, too. As I got older, I started to realize some of the deficits that I had when I was growing up: no self-worth and no self-discipline. I spent many of my years feeling suicidal, creating plans, and spending time in a mental hospital. When I was 15, I used to cut and self-harm. I was looking for an escape, looking for a reset to live and feel. I want people to like me; I want to be part of the group. I approach so many youths now, and many of them have the same feeling of loneliness. There’s so many types of loneliness. When we feel that as children, it grows and expands. If nobody wants to be with us, we start to wonder why they don’t want to be with us. The external voices start to become our internal voices. 

There are three different areas of loneliness. There’s that intimate loneliness where, when we’re children, our parents teach us unconditional love. Knowing that they’re going to be with you, they’ll keep you safe and protect you. Then you don’t have one friend who feels that gap of loneliness, but at least you have one friend who’s going to understand you. Then there’s the loneliness of feeling like you don’t belong. There’s a lot of kids out there that put on these masks and say, “You know what? I have all these friends, but do they?” How do they define friends? Then they start to feel like they’re not worth it. What happens when they come home? They’re not getting the right grade; they don’t do their chores right. All of these stacks with our kids take away their self-worth and self-esteem.

Listen to the full episode here:

For more parenting content, visit my YouTube channel: