A highlight from Episode 184 -'Helping Parents and Teens Navigate Through Life's Toughest Issues Part 1' Guest: Dr. Jessica Peck


Parents, what would you do if you had a teen who was threatening to run away? Or how about a teen who was depressed and wouldn't talk to you? Well, this is the show for you because joining me today on the show is doctor Jessica peck. As a pediatric nurse practitioner in primary care over the last 20 years, doctor Jessica peck has engaged encouraged equipped and empowered families to raise holistically healthy kids. She guides parents to help navigate challenging parenting moments to escape shame and stigma with grace, hope, and courage. As a native Texan, she's a clinical professor at the Baylor university, Louise Harrington school of nursing, an internationally awarded nursing leader, she served as president of the national association of pediatric nurse practitioners. She is the author of the book behind closed doors. A guide to help parents and teens navigate through life's toughest issues. And this is going to be the topic of our conversation today. All right, let's get to my interview with doctor Jessica peck. Well, Jessica, I'm so excited for interview. Thank you so much for joining me. Thank you so much for having me. I'm really looking forward to this conversation. You know, you and I are among those odd people that love teenagers and love to go into their minds dig around and see what's there. And you have just written a new book. When did your book come out? It came out day before yesterday. Okay, behind closed doors, a guide to help parents and teens navigate life's toughest issues. Boy, if we ever needed a book like that, we need it today because not only are kids teenagers confused, but parents as well. Before we get into your book, give us a little history about what happened to you and your life experience that brought you in part brought you to write this book. Sure. Well, I came from a family with a heritage of faith, but we had broken generational relationships and mother daughter conflict and when I became a mother, I was a pediatric nurse practitioner. I falsely thought that would give me an advantage. It did not. And as my daughter, my oldest, turned 13, we were just in perpetual conflict until one day we were driving down the road and she actually, she was reading a book and she threw that book at my head while I was driving. It was a four volume book. So this was commitment. This wasn't just something that was like. And I pulled over to the side of the road and I really felt like a fraud. I felt like a phony. Here I am giving parents advice and my own life as a mother. It's just a total mess. And I realized that I was going to need a different way forward. I needed a different mindset. I needed a different skill set in order to have better relationship with my daughter. And so I started on that journey where I just really changed my mindset from trying to control her behavior because I felt like that would reflect on my insecurities as a parent. As long as she looked like a good daughter, I must be a good parent and I recognize that was I really need to get to the heart of the issue. I learned how to translate motivational interviewing, which we use in clinical practice at home. And then, you know, at the same time, I was becoming a nursing professor at that time and arrived at Baylor in 2019 right before the pandemic. And sitting in my backyard and march of 2020, like the rest of the world, I knew that the situation for teens was going to worsen. And I knew that parents who were distressed now were going to be even more distressed. And so that led to the birth of doctor nurse mama, my guide on the side, professor bray and hands on nursing experience and heart is a mom to help parents have hope for healthy relationships. In this world of image crafting and perfection, I think parents feel pressured to be perfect parents with perfect kids and perfect relationships and healthy is not perfect, but there is hope for healthy relationships. And so now two and a half years later, here we are. And by the way, a little PostScript, my oldest daughter is now 19 is a sophomore at Baylor. We have an amazing relationship. I'm actually here in Waco to go to homecoming with her. And it doesn't mean it's perfect, but it is healthy and it is beautiful. And we really want to share that. Yeah. I love your story. You got a book. I got a bucket of water. Thrown over my head. My daughter. And you know, I'm so glad you brought that up because it is true. And I'm so glad you brought that up because so many times, you know, parents will look at quote unquote professionals like this and they'll go, wow, your kids must be amazing. No, I think one of the hardest parts that we have to go through in order to really understand kids is that we have to fess up. You and me. We have to have the guts to go to our kids and say, how am I screwing up? Because I don't want to be a phony. I really need to know what you need and how I can deliver and in order to do that, you need to wake up. And I think it's critical because so many times, parents, like us, were trained to look at kids, it's like, you know what, this is a really hard time. Chains are going to be jerks, just waited out and they'll be okay. No. Kids act out for a reason. And they have pain for a reason. And that's why they yell and scream and throw books and buckets of water. Because we're not getting it. And so I think the best starting place that's why I loved why you brought this up is to say, wow, pull the car over. What am I as your mother, father doing? So let's jump ahead now to your book. So you had this epiphany as a mother. Now you're a practitioner and now you're teaching younger people how to help teenagers navigate. So let's start with where the foundation. Where's the starting point in understanding our teens for parents? I love this question and if we want to influence our teens worldviews, which I think most parents do, we have to view the world as they see it. And I think there's a significant disconnect between what we as parents want the world to look like for our teens and what it actually looks like. And we are the first generation of parents who are parenting teens who are facing a completely unique set of threats that we just simply did not face. And it's very difficult for us to walk them through that because we can't anticipate the threats that are coming. We are often blindsided and that's what happens to me in clinical practicing parents who are in a place. They never imagined themselves to be. And so we have to start by seeing the world as they see it. Now, the only way that we're going to do that is by listening. Just recently, a couple of weeks ago, I did a community suicide prevention event with teens and when the teens walked in the room, I had the teens go to one table and the parents go to another. They were post it notes all over the table. And when I asked the teens was, what is the one thing you're scared to ask your parents for? All over that whole table was just one word post its filled with one word and that word was listen. Because we can't lecture our way into right relationship. And that's one of the first things that I do in behind closed doors is teach parents how to listen with

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