Carson Daly: How I talk to my children about mental health

Carson Daly: How I talk to my children about mental health

6/17/2021 12:37:00 AM

Carson Daly: How I talk to my children about mental health

The TODAY co-host wants his kids to grow up in a world where seeing a therapist and prioritizing your mental health is not only accepted, but praised.

, Carson knows why it's so important to be open as a father.Here’s what he had to say about how he approaches talking about mental health — his own and others’ — with his family.My kids are young — they're 6, 8, 12 andGoldieis 15 months. When they're young, you have an opportunity to frame the conversation of mental health any way you want, because you're a parent and your kids listen to you. The key for me is to do it now, and do it often.

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This is how we frame it: When my kids go to get checkups at the doctor, when they go to the nurse at school if they don't feel good — that's your physical health. Then, there's also your mental health. That's your feelings. Are you monitoring when someone says something to you and how it makes you feel? Are you feeling scared in moments that you don't think you should be? Are you happy? Are you communicating those things with your mom and dad? All those thoughts that happen in your brain, that's your mental health, and it's equally as important as your physical health.

May 4, 202104:53My oldest daughter is talking to somebody. We say,"There's a doctor for your body and there's a doctor for your mind." She's like,"Oh, cool, I'm going to go see this doctor and talk to him about the nightmares I'm having or the way I'm feeling."

We say (to our kids), 'There's a doctor for your body and there's a doctor for your mind.'Carson DalyIf either of my parents was around today and I said,"Oh, my daughter is in therapy," the first thing they would say is,"What's wrong with her?"

That's what our parents did, right? And it should be,"Oh, awesome." If I said,"She's reading a little slow, so she's getting extra help reading," their response would be,"Oh, great." If I said,"She had a 100-degree fever but she's with the doctor and got some Tylenol," their response would be,"Oh, great."

That's the place we're trying to get to with mental health. So when someone says,"I'm talking to somebody," we say,"Oh, great. Let me know if you need anything. I'm here."The idea is that when the kids grow up, when they're in high school or in college or they're young adults, this is all they've ever known: If something is going on in your brain, you talk to somebody. You communicate your thoughts the same way you would if something was happening with your body.

March 9, 201806:49Parents have a really hard time deciphering between what is teenage behavior or having a sort of “blah” day — sleeping in until one o’clock on a Saturday, talking back, withdrawing a little bit — and what may be a red flag for mental health. Parents need to remember that if they’re having issues with their kids related to mental health, that isn’t a reflection of their parenting. I see a lot of parents who don’t want to broach this topic because they’re fearful that to their peers, to their communities, it will come off as though they’ve done something wrong or raised their kid wrong. And that’s not true.

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Whatever your kid is feeling, it needs to be heard. You need to be observant. You need to know those telltale. There are answers out there and I would encourage parents to do the research. Don't run away from the topic. Dive in headfirst and educate yourself.


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Please do a dads round table on this. Would love to see this explored more.

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