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Partnering with Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia’s (CHOP) Center for Parent and Teen Communication (CPTC)

 · August 28, 2021

I can't imagine having been a teen during a pandemic, given my family situation at the time.

It’s no secret for those who have been following this page, or even attended offerings, that I am very upfront about the challenges I experienced with my identity, my cultural identity and how to reconcile it with my identity as a U.S.-born child of Mexican American immigrant parents. I often call this a straddling of two cultures, as if I was a giant and could very uncomfortably sit on the border. The discomforts of this identity for me, and for my single mom who didn’t or couldn’t recognize the person I was, did eventually create rupture between myself and my parents, because they could barely manage their own emotions. Because of this, I leaned heavily into the container of my peer groups and, because relationship and belonging is everything, this was both a beautiful thing and also could create risky situations.

So when this pandemic began, I remembered that part of myself and how much that version of myself would have struggled that much more. She probably would have felt trapped, suffocated, and maybe wouldn’t have made it through to 34, the age I am now.

And I think about how much better that would’ve potentially gone, pandemic or not, with my mom receiving adequate resources, not feeling like a burden to ask for support, and having access to mental and better physical, accessible health care.

What would it have been like if she had been able to have some space to reflect, reach out, and root us as a family unit back into connection with social and emotional supports that could’ve probably mitigated the harm and disconnection?

What would it have looked like if she honored our culture while honoring me as an individual in ways outside of just the survival-level showings of love: feeding, clothing, sheltering?

This level of empowerment would have been so protective of us both.

So, when I learned about the focus of the Center for Parent and Teen Communication at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, my heart raced with excitement. Finally, here is something concrete to help Latinx families with teens going 👏🏽 through 👏🏽 it 👏🏽.

The Center for Parent and Teen Communication (@parentandteen) helps parents raise teens prepared to thrive. Adolescence is a time of opportunity and parents matter more than ever. We strive to ensure every caring adult has the knowledge and skills to promote positive youth development and foster strong family connections. They have resources and articles readily available for communication strategies, growth and development, building character and more, all for parents of teens!

Their mission is so inspiring and in alignment with Latinx Parenting:  The Center for Parent and Teen Communication helps parents raise teens prepared to thrive. Adolescence is a time of opportunity and parents matter more than ever. We strive to ensure every caring adult has the knowledge and skills to promote positive youth development and foster strong family connections. 

Sign up for their newsletter to gain practical tips for parenting teens!

I particularly appreciate their effort to develop and address parenting practices that are "Culturally Responsive".  
Their Culturally Responsive Parenting section is centered on "culturally sensitive and responsive parenting content that builds on cultural strengths and addresses the unique stressors families of color face when raising teens today."  

In an article "How Latinx Parents Can Guide Their Teens Through the Post-Pandemic Transition Period"  Edith Bracho-Sanchez, M.D., Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at Columbia University, interviews Maria Veronica Svetaz M.D, M.P.H., Assistant Professor of Family Medicine and Community Health at the University of Minnesota School of Medicine.  It is a great conversation and the following sentiment by Svetaz, M.D. stood out to me, "So, we have to do both- help parents get out of the protective shells they created around them as a first aid for their own traumatic event, to allow them to talk about their feelings and vulnerabilities and also meet their teens' needs."
Read the ArticleCPTC Culturally Responsive ParentingCPTC Website
This post is made possible with support from the Center for Parent and Teen Communication @ CHOP. All opinions are my own.

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Throughout my adulthood, from time to time I’ve felt heavy grief over my childhood. The emotional abuse & disconnection was rampant, and I recognize that there are many things I will work on healing from until I transition from my body. The traumatic events shifted my needs & priorities, and I had no choice but to adapt. At the time, I couldn’t have known the long-term impact of what was happening. ⁣

Growing up, I saw my peers accomplish things I didn’t feel I could do— mainly because I didn’t care to anymore. School wasn’t a priority at all. Any kind of academic or professional achievements were last on my list. I had given up my interests, or the idea that I could have enriching interests. I didn’t apply to any colleges. I thought it would‘ve been a waste & I would’ve failed out immediately. ⁣⁣
What DID I want? Friendships. Fast fun. Numbing. Someone to love me. Even if I didn’t love me. I attached myself to whatever and whomever I could. Often it didn’t end well. ⁣⁣
Trauma interrupts development. Maybe this isn’t news to you. But what it means is that those who have *not* experienced abuse haven’t had this interruption. Their baseline for success looks different. Neurotypical kids who have supportive secure attachments spend their childhoods building brain pathways that allow for self-control, critical thinking, healthy decision making skills, etc.⁣⁣
This is a conversation about the privilege that comes with having been raised with unconditional love and acceptance. It’s also a conversation about class disparities, about race & ethnicity, about subconscious ancestral wounds that need healing, about comparison, and most importantly about the mandate we have to break cycles of abuse for our children. ⁣⁣

PRIVILEGE in itself isn’t bad, it’s what is *done* with it once it is recognized— in this case, the privilege of healthy brain development— that is important. If you were this parent that has entered into parenting with wounds that you didn’t even notice until you started to repeat some of the patterns that harmed you: You’re doing great. You’re noticing now & evolving. And your kids will be privileged because of it, & use their privileges well. ⁣⁣

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I cannot tell you how much I enjoyed this conversation with Ysabel of @estoyaquillc. 🥹

We get really real & raw with our discussion on suicide through a cultural lens. If you have ever been anyone who has considered suicide as an option (like me!), or have had loved ones that have (like me!), or just care about people in general, please watch and listen.

We talk about:
👉🏽Redefining suicidal ideation
👉🏽Learning how to communicate needs
👉🏽The REAL causes of people’s suicidal ideation and/or death by suicide
👉🏽Questions to ask a person who might be considering it
👉🏽The importance of agency and autonomy in choosing resources
👉🏽 Choosing providers who are abolitionist

And SO MUCH MORE! We were on for an hour and a half and it still felt like too short of a time! 🫀

You can support Ysabel by following her work and learning about her offerings and tapping into her merch ‼️

Gracias Ysabel and I can’t wait to keep collaborating with you. 💕

#CommunityPlatica #suicide #suicideideation #suicideprevention #suicideintervention #suicidalideation

#LatinxParenting #EndChanclaCulture #RaisingFutureAncestors #DecolonizeOurFamilias #IJustWantMiGenteToHeal #TheCycleStopsConmigo

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Reclaiming our Familias.
Reclaiming Ourselves.
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