Dr. Jenn Noble on Mixed Race Kids, Intersectionality, and Teen Identity

gender nonconformity kids

This episode features a deep dive into mixed race kids, teen identity, and teen mental health especially in the intersectional and marginalized sphere. This is such an important topic and I’m thrilled to be talking with “teen whisperer,” Dr. Jenn Noble, a psychologist, teen parent coach, and associate professor of psychology based in Los Angeles, CA. Jenn is a teen mental health advocate and is especially passionate about helping parents raise happy, confident, and secure mixed race kids. And as a mixed race person herself, she brings clinical research and real life nuance to her work supporting teens. In our conversation, Jenn and I talk about both the challenges and importance of identity and community for marginalized teens, how parents can support a healthy racial identity for their mixed race child, and special considerations for neurodivergent teens who are developing their identity. We also talk about developmental timelines, cultural shifts, the impacts of the pandemic on teen mental health, and more. I hope you enjoy our conversation.

 

About Dr. Jenn Noble

Dr. Jennifer Noble or Dr. Jenn is a licensed psychologist, teen parent coach, and associate professor of psychology. She has a private practice in Los Angeles where she works with mixed race and minority teens, parents of mixed race teens, women of color and other marginalized groups. Dr. Jenn has an online coaching program for parents of mixed race kids to teach parents everywhere how to show up for their mixed race kids. Dr. Jenn strives to use psychology for social justice – her passion is to work toward equality for all marginalized and oppressed people.

 

Things you’ll learn from this episode

  • Jenn’s background and personal why for doing her work
  • Jenn’s perspective on the most important aspects of raising a child with a different (or
  •  marginalized) experience
  • Why is it so important that parents get help supporting a healthy racial identity development in their mixed race kids
  • What is the biggest hurdle to overcome from a differently wired teen’s perspective
  • How the Covid-19 pandemic has impacted the lives of many teens, for both good and bad
  • Jenn’s advice for parents and caregivers of teens

 

Resources mentioned for mixed race kids & teen mental health

  • Real American, Julie Lythcott-Haim’s memoir of growing up Black and biracial

 

Episode Transcript

Jenn Noble  00:00

So I really stress for folks that are supporting any kind of marginalized teen is really helping them understand the context of like, this is why people are treating you a certain way because you are not your experience is not understood enough. It’s not known enough. You are not seen enough. And this has nothing to do with who you are. It has much more to do with society and the slow sort of evolving of society.

Debbie Reber  00:38

Welcome to Tilt Parenting, a podcast featuring interviews and conversations aimed at inspiring, informing and supporting parents raising differently wired kids. I’m your host, Debbie Reber. Today’s episode is a deep dive into teen identity and teen mental health, especially in the intersectional and marginalized sphere. This is such an important topic and I am thrilled to be talking with a teen whisperer, Dr. Jenn Noble, a psychologist, teen parent coach and Associate Professor of Psychology based in Los Angeles, California. Jenn is a teen mental health advocate and is especially passionate about helping parents raise happy, confident and secure mixed race kids. As a mixed race person herself. She brings clinical research and real life nuance to her work supporting teens. In our conversation Jenn and I talk about both the challenges and importance of identity and community for marginalized teens. How parents can support a healthy racial identity for their mixed race, child, and special considerations for neurodivergent teens who are developing their identity. We also talk about developmental timelines, cultural shifts, the impacts of the pandemic on teen mental health and more. I hope you enjoy our conversation. Before I get to that if you are new to Tilt Parenting, and you found this podcast while searching for resources to support you on your journey of parenting a neuro divergent child, be sure to check out my book Differently Wired. In Differently Wired I share my best practices and practical advice for supporting not just our kids but ourselves through this journey. And if you’re looking to make some quick positive shifts in your day to day life, you can sign up for my free differently wired seven day challenge. Every day for one week, you’ll get a short daily video highlighting one actionable thing you can do right away to impact the way you think, feel and act in relation to your child. You’ll also get a downloadable mini workbook and access to a private Facebook group. And again, it’s totally free. Just go to tiltparenting.com/7day to sign up. That’s tiltparenting.com/7day. Thanks so much. And now here is my conversation with Jenn.

Debbie Reber  03:01

Hey, Jenn, welcome to the podcast. Hi, welcome. Thank you. Thank you for having me. Yes, I am looking forward to this conversation. And I would love it just as a way to get started if you could take a few minutes and just tell us a little bit about yourself, who you are in the world and what you do, and I always like to know people’s personal why behind the work that they do. Yes, sure.

Jenn Noble  03:25

Sure. Yeah, so I am a clinical psychologist, of course, but I always like to tell folks that I’m a Cali native. I was born and raised in California, Southern California specifically and I love everything about it. If I’m sort of being self deprecating, sometimes I call myself a Cali snob because I’ll go to other places and kind of be like, you don’t have this in California. We do blah, blah, blah. Some people roll their eyes a lot. But yeah, so I’m definitely a lover of California and I love food, world travel. I love to dance. But also I am a mixed race person. I’m African American and Tamil Sri Lankan. And again, I always say to people, if you don’t know where Sri Lanka is, it’s an island off the coast of India. It is its own country. It’s not a part of India, but a lot of people just are like, oh, I’ve never heard of that place. But yeah, besides that I’m, I’m an extrovert. I’m quite animated. I’m definitely a person who’s never met a stranger. But in my work world, I work as associate professor of psychology at a community college here in Southern California. I own a private practice serving mixed race teens. I also serve women of color, marginalized folks, and then also the parents. If they’re teens I work with the parents as well. And then I guess my personal why, for doing what I do is because I really believe that people should be seen, especially marginalized folks. I just think that, you know, there are so many people with unique experiences that need to be recognized outside of whatever we think the mainstream is. And I really want to work to give those other experiences, context, and you know, some time on stage. So it’s always been important for me to kind of speak up for the underdog, if you will, or just kind of find justice for allowing all experiences to kind of exist at the same time. And then I guess my most recent venture, I’m building a membership site for parents of mixed race kids. And it’s going to be a place for them to get education and coaching from me and find a community of other parents who are raising mixed race kids, so that we can all work together in raising more confident and secure mixed race kids. So yeah, that’s a little bit about me, or a lot.

Debbie Reber  06:05

So well, let’s talk first about your focus in your practice of supporting parents of mixed race kids. Can you talk more about that, and why it is so important that parents get that help to support a healthy racial identity in their child? And what does that actually look like when you’re working with families?

Jenn Noble  06:26

Well, I chose this. I mean, if I could just, if I take a step back, I chose this focus, because I’ve been doing a lot of work in the mixed race community, really, since college. And slowly but surely, like working with nonprofits and in, you know, doing research and going to conferences and things like that, I started to realize, parents were coming forward, and parents were coming to these events for help and understanding. And so I really decided, Okay, that needs to be my focus, because that is a big need out there. There are a whole bunch of parents out there that are like, please help me I want to do this, right. And so one of the things that I think is most important to help a parent is to get them to the starting point of you, as a modern racial parent, like modern racial being, you know, both of your parents are from the same racial group, they will never know what it is like to be mixed race, period, like, they just won’t know because by virtue of just not being it, so it is such a, an important place to start for a parent to realize, if I and my partner are both modern racial, neither of us can provide any of the mentoring and guidance and advice and whatever that my mixed race kid is going to need. Because we’ve never been in those shoes, we’ve never had that experience. So for me, that’s one of the most important reasons why I think parents need help, because they don’t realize how big that gap really is for their kid, you know, to sort of look at their parents and be like you, you don’t get it, you really don’t get it. So, you know, the way that I would do that would be helping them understand, like blind spots, you know, what are you not able to see how to anticipate what their kid is going to experience in the world. Because, you know, unfortunately, there’s been research on mixed race, kids and the mixed race experience for probably 40 years or more, and we still see the same stuff coming up. So it’s kind of like things have not really made a big change. So there is an experience that they need to understand that their kid will have, and that they will never be able to identify with. So they need basic education on the mixed race experience. For me, it’s very important to help parents understand how they view themselves as racial beings, like what has their own experience as a racial being been like, and then help them realize, you know, what are some ways that I’ve had, you know, some negative some positive experiences, and how will that be different or the same as my kid. And then lastly, parents really are looking for how to advocate for their kid. And to me, that’s one of the most important reasons to do this work is because I want parents to be able to stand up for their kid, you know, how to talk to family when they say something, you know, a little crazy how to help with school in school forms, how to talk to strangers, when they come up and ask questions, like, parents are really like, how do I do that? You know, so that for me, that’s what that work looks like education, creating some sort of community and then giving them some insight into, here’s what you probably don’t know is going to happen and here’s how to prepare for it, you know?

Debbie Reber  09:54

Yeah, as you’re talking, I’m thinking of my first real awareness or introduction into the unique challenges of growing up mixed race was reading Julie Lythcott-Haims’ book, her memoir Real American. And it was, you know, she just wrote so beautifully about her struggles and how that really went into her adulthood, and really reconciling, growing up black and biracial in the United States and identity and all of those pieces. So I’m curious, could you talk a little more about the struggles, the challenges that mixed race teens are facing today?

Jenn Noble  10:34

Yeah, I think one of the biggest pieces that you mentioned is identity, because, unfortunately, I’ll make it a little bit more specific to America. Although I do think that this happens in many, many parts of the world, I won’t venture to say all but this idea of split specific racial categories, and you are all of us needing to be just in one of them. And that very basic, like understanding that we sort of feed to everyone, it causes an on answerable, like it poses something that has no solution for a mixed race kid, unless you allow for checking more than one box on like a racial form. And so that brings up a whole host of other problems, because when we expect everyone to just fit into one box, then that mixed race person is going to get all the questions of like, Okay, well, which one, are you? And then will you know, oh, well, I don’t allow you to be in that box, because you’re supposed to look like this. And then, you know, there’s all these barriers and hurdles that they’re put up against. If they try to fight this battle of, okay, fine, I’ll choose a box, it just doesn’t work. And so a lot of the identity stuff that we see mixed-race people trying to come to terms with, it often ties back to this one category only type of thing. So, you know, if you let’s say you wanted to choose a category, and then you know, sell again, someone in the family is like, Well, you can’t choose that you’re not blah, enough, you know, you don’t look this enough, or you don’t speak this language, you can’t be that. So then the kid is kind of like, Oh, well, I’m not getting permission. So then what does that mean? Well, then which one do I choose? And where am I allowed to be? And, you know, it starts to become like, asking for validation from the outside versus really being able to come into some understanding of Oh, whoa, wait, that system does not work for me. Like, it just doesn’t apply. And I need to do this in a different way. I think that’s I mean, you know, without talking too long, I think that that’s like a crux of a lot of the work that more folks like me in this community that are trying to advocate for that really try to drive home is that you’re going to fight that battle all day, there is no such thing as just fitting into one box is never going to fully represent you. Because the one box is the problem. You’re not the problem. The categories are the problem.

Debbie Reber  13:24

Yeah. And as you’re talking to him, I’m thinking also about gender identity, which is another thing that’s just coming up so much in general with today’s teens, but especially and then neurodivergent. Yes. And it’s really complicated. And I’d love to know, can you talk a little bit more about the identity? Maybe that’s I feel like that’s the job of teenhood, right, is to really discover who you are. And I’m sure there’s just no, not one way that that happens. But what are the most important things that we do to support teams who are on this journey to discover their identity if they especially if they have a more marginalized experience?

Jenn Noble  14:08

Yeah, well, especially if they’re more marginalized, one of the ways of supporting the team, in my view, is helping them understand the marginalized piece of it, and really giving them context. You know, because I think so many kids who are marginalized feel the impact of being othered. And then they internalize it as if something is wrong with them, and they’re not doing it right. And they need help from the outside. Because, you know, they’re teens, they don’t have all the critical thinking skills. So they’re not able to sort of pan out and see this larger picture of like, Oh, wait, I’m not wrong. This system that I’m trying to fit into, is not quite, you know, it hasn’t adjusted for me. So I really stress for folks that are supporting any kind of marginalized teen is really helping them understand the context of like, this is why people are treating you a certain way, because you are not your experience is not understood enough. It’s not known enough, you are not seen enough. And this has nothing to do with who you are. It has much more to do with society and the slow sort of evolving of society. So it’s sort of like, Hey, you know, you’re just ahead of the game a little bit. And that’s okay, let’s build up. Let’s help you understand this context. So you can build confidence in the response to it. So you can build up resilience in response to it, because we can’t change society like that, like we would like to. So instead, let’s get you ready to face it so that you don’t walk around carrying that burden of like, something must be wrong with me, I must be doing it wrong, you know, I’m not good enough. I’m not buying enough.

Debbie Reber  16:05

Do you have favorite tools or directions that you send teens and families into to get this context? I imagine community is really important, you know, spending time with other peers who are experiencing similar things like where, where can parents and these teens start?

Jenn Noble  16:26

Yeah, I think again, it all depends on the, you know, the experience itself, but I certainly would like a parent or any adult that supports the team to start with their own education. And that really does look like okay, let me go find a couple books, maybe I need to watch a documentary, let me just get my bearings first. So then I can present something to my kid. But I think if we’re just focusing on the kid themselves, definitely community if you can find a place where, you know, let’s say it’s gender identities, and there’s some sort of a summer camp or all, you know, let’s say, a trans kid camp or something, they all can come together and be like, Oh, my gosh, you’re this too. And you’re doing this, and you felt like that. And someone said that to me, too. You know, to me, that’s one of the beauties of the internet is that a lot of these kids are able to find these communities online, where they really never existed before, you could be in the corner of whatever state, I don’t know, Nebraska, or some rural part of California, and then go online and really be able to talk and find people who are experiencing what you’re experiencing. But I would rather a teen not do that by themselves, but have a parent, that’s also jumping in as well, like, you know, let me let me help be a part of this community. I want to show you that I also am going to stand up and advocate for you in your marginalization even if I’m not feeling the same thing.

Debbie Reber  18:03

And what about the role of neurodivergence in this identity? I’m just curious how it shows up in your work. And I imagine, I don’t know if I’m going to ask this question correctly. But I imagine the more pieces of a teens identity that don’t neatly fit into one box, the more complicated it is to create and define one’s identity. 

Jenn Noble  18:29

Yeah, definitely. It is, I think, because then, like I said, if there’s no context, the experiences just get, you know, personalized or internalized, as if, like I said, just it must just be me. It’s not okay, I have, you know, dyslexia, and I’m a minority and whatever, I haven’t really separated these things and tried to understand them. So even though I know these things about myself, I just look at negative treatment as you must not like me, versus Oh, you don’t understand this about me? You know that. I don’t know if that distinction is clear. And I think that’s important. And it does make it complicated when you have these multiple identities kind of stacking up on each other. Because that means that team and the people supporting them have to do the work of let’s parse this out for you first, so that when you go out into the world, you can hear the words that people are saying a little differently. You can hear through it, and you almost hear what they’re responding to. Instead of saying this to me, I know you’re actually really uncomfortable with this part of my identity, because you don’t understand it. Okay? I don’t have to take that. Like I can’t, you know, I feel like I’m doing a superhero, like blocking moves. You know, like, that’s what we want the kid to be able to do to be like, Oh, no, that’s not about me. Boom, block that Nope, that was about you. That was about you. You don’t understand this. I know I’m okay. That’s a lot of work. And the more that there are, it’s very complex.

Debbie Reber  20:10

Yeah. So you kind of answered my question. But I want to go a little deeper. You talked about being able to really understand, you know, no, that’s your issue. This is who I am, being able to really deflect, you know, misunderstandings, or people who don’t really see who these people are, these teens or young adults. So I’m wondering, you know, and I know, there is no one timeline, but what is the ultimate goal in the work that you do in terms of helping these two teams really integrate and own their identity? And what does that timeline look like? Like, when? When do we hope this happens for young adults?

Jenn Noble  20:52

You know, that’s a really good question. Because I could say, I have an ideal timeline. But I also just have to recognize adolescent development. So wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could instill all of these things and have the timeline be like, by eight years old before you hit Middle School, you’re, like, ready to go. But, you know, I just, I wouldn’t, I wouldn’t be me, I wouldn’t be the psychologist I am to sort of be like, development has, we have to let development happen, which means adolescence or middle school, 12 years old, is when the teen that’s, you know, the kid themselves is going to come into some awareness of like, Oh, wait, I’m different. Nobody was telling me that before, you know, even if the parents were and trying to prepare them, the kid is like, Oh, you mean different, like, different, different. And so then they have to start their own journey. But for me, my belief is that preparation makes that journey a little bit smoother. And so to answer your question, my timeline would be by high school, you can have a really solid understanding of, maybe I shouldn’t use the word solid, but I’m more solid understanding of, of self and how you fit into the world, if you’ve had the ongoing support and preparation. And then by the time you get to college, you will really sort of be settled, like, Alright, I know who I am. And I know where I fit. And I’m going to, you know, act accordingly. Whereas right now, for the folks that don’t have that support, and I’m thinking of, like more racial minorities, is that usually college is the place where they start that exploration, and they really start to seek out Okay, let me let me join this club. Let me take these classes. You know, I’m delving in now. And I would love to just push that just a little bit early, which I do think is possible, but I don’t think it’s possible to skip it all together. So it’s like identity and developing and questioning Who am I? What does that mean, it has to happen. But it doesn’t have to be so difficult and so fraught, and perhaps filled with sadness and insecurity and pain. And you know, what I mean, self doubt. Those things can be managed.

Debbie Reber  23:34

I’m wondering if you’re seeing, I don’t know if a shift is the right word. I, you know, I feel like this generation of young people, they’re Well, certainly way more self aware than my generation was, which was now quite a long time ago. Gen Xer here. But yeah, but I’m just wondering if in the time, you’ve been doing this work of your seeing families and kids kind of come to you know, you said, Ideally, we’d push this a little earlier, like, are you seeing that that is actually happening, that we as a society are moving towards supporting young adults and teens and kids and really understanding their identity? More so than maybe even 10 years ago?

Jenn Noble  24:18

Yeah, I do think so. I mean, I, you know, there are so many marginalized, young folks that have parents that are just die hard standing behind them, which I don’t think was as, as common before, I think there was more of an element of I am your parent, and I have a job of like, maintaining you in all these various ways, but maybe it’s not so much of my responsibility to support your identity development and affirm you in that way. Not that they’re purposefully not doing it, but it just wasn’t as much on the radar. And I now think parents are sort of saying, Oh, wait, emotional and psychological development, that is important. And that actually may allow me, if I support their emotional and psychological development, I will actually be supporting their achievement and their overall well being and like the happiness I want them to have in life. So let me step into that. And so you know, you’re seeing a lot more parents of, you know, I’m now I’m thinking of like, LGBT, LGBT and queer kids. They’re coming home at 12 and 13. And saying, Hey, you know, parents, this is what’s going on with me. And those parents are like, yep, we’re ready. You say no more. You know what I mean? There’s no question about it. There’s like, I will support you through this, because I know you still have other things to do in life. And this is not going to be the thing that holds you back, you know. So I do think I’ve seen a shift in that way. Certainly, I still think there’s a lot of room to grow. But I definitely have seen that shift.

Debbie Reber  26:04

Yeah, I see that too. But I always wonder is that just the people I’m hanging out with? You know, just talking to the right people? Is that kind of a more societal shift? And I hope it’s the latter. Yeah. I’d like to believe it is Yeah, yes. Exactly. Exactly. I’d love to know, you work. With teens. It’s kind of your heart work. And that’s obvious in the way that you show up and on social media and in the world. And I’m just this year has been so traumatic and complicated and challenging for teenagers. And I’m, could you speak to what you’re seeing right now, in terms of teen mental health? Yeah, it’s just so complicated right now.

Jenn Noble  26:50

Yeah, it’s actually I mean, it’s been really fascinating, and, honestly a little scary, as well, or worrisome? Because, in my view, it really wasn’t so much that, at least in my experience, I didn’t find as many kids were, like, scared of, let’s say, Coronavirus, and, you know, pandemic, they were more impacted by our response to it. So, you know, this idea of just everything is shut down. And school, you know, all school is at home. And what I see or what I’ve been seeing is that purpose, and motivation are just lost. I mean, I don’t think there’s one team I’m working with right now that has not said to me at some point. What is the point? You know, like, I mean, when I really look at their experience, I’m like, that is an excellent question. Because everything was taken from them. They were left with the worst part of their day, which is like the learning that happens in school. While all the parents are thinking, yeah, you go to school to learn, the teens are like, No, I don’t, I mean, I go, I learned because I have to, but everything else I used to get from school, which was like, support from others. And like, like I said, a purpose for just being I’m supposed to finish fifth grade, like, that’s my purpose and this social and the friends and like, the force self awareness that comes with interacting with your friends and navigating, okay, how am I going to handle this relationship? And let me talk to my friends about who said what to who I mean, all of that was gone. Identity practices gone. belonging and finding where you belong. I mean, any sort of validation, you might have wanted to get for just who you are and existing in the world, it’s just gone. And so a lot of kids were just like, what is the point? I don’t feel like doing any of my work. I you know, school is meaningless. The day is meaningless. I mean, just powerful statements. And yes, I do, you know, take into account that it is a private practice. I am, you know, providing therapy for kids who’s, you know, who are already struggling in some way. But even with the high functioning kids that I was working with, it’s still a shocker for maybe like a really high achieving kid to still sort of say, what is the point? I don’t, you know, I just feel like I’ve lost my purpose. So, you know, I did of course, you know, I did see some anxiety, but I really just saw that. It killed something in their spirit almost. It was just really painful to watch. Yeah.

Debbie Reber  29:50

Yeah. I mean, that idea of you know, and what I’ve heard from a lot of teens is just losing faith or trust, right, in systems and politics and like all the things right, that are supposed to make a society work. And so I’m just curious to know your thoughts, you know, you call yourself a teen whisperer. So I’m asking you in that context, I’m just wondering how you see teens emerging from this, like, what do you think they’re going to take from this experience and how it’s going to impact them as they move on with their lives?

Jenn Noble  30:28

Well, for one, I think what’s interesting is that as the as, at least in Southern California, some of our schools are back in person, and some of our kids have gone back to school. And it is like night and day, I mean, after just one week of going to school, maybe just two or three days out of the week, it’s like they’ve lit back up, they’re sort of like, I’m able to do my homework, I have motivation, when I get home, like I enjoy the structure, I can see my teachers again. And so I think the basic level is like, I don’t believe that we’ve sort of damaged them forever. And they’re never going to come back from this, I think it’s an immediate response. But on a larger level, I’ve seen some of the older kids. And this also kind of applies, I’m doing a little bit of research right now as well with like, low income students of color, in higher education, and a lot of the older high school kids and these college and grad school kids, so many of them are interested in health care, public health, and you know, kind of things that would relate to the impact that the pandemic has had. That’s what I’ve started to see which I’m like, Oh, this is fascinating. I don’t know if they see it. And I don’t know if they’re putting it together that way. But a lot of them are like, oh, health care is really important to me, or being able to, you know, make sure that, you know, people have access to the things that keep them safe and healthy. And it’s just amazing. I’m like, Is it just me? Or is everybody wanting to work for the CDC all of a sudden? You know, so it’s, it’s, um, I think, you know, in your question, sort of, like, what do I think the impact is going to be? I think, I think it pulled the curtain back on how our country at least cares for all of its people, and then especially those with the most need. So if you’re sort of seeing, okay, everybody is suffering from this pandemic, but this group over here, wow, they’re getting way less, they’re not getting this, they need that no one’s providing this, you know, I A lot of students I’ve talked to were talking about wanting to figure out how to solidify housing or, because that’s what they’re seeing. Okay, so and so lost their job, and then housing was impacted, and healthcare wasn’t available anymore. I want to work on that. I want to solve that. And then like, this has to be in response, you know.

Debbie Reber  33:00

That would be really the best case scenario, right? Like coming out of this just ready and motivated to fix the big problem. Yeah, yeah. I would love that. That would be exciting. So I’m just one last question. You know, for parents who are listening, you know, because, again, you’re working with teens and no teens. So well, what would be one thing that you would want parents raising teens who may be feeling ill equipped to support them? You know, maybe they’re being shut out from their teens’ lives? Or maybe they’re just feeling uncertain about how they can best show up for them. What would you say to them? What’s something they can focus on? 

Jenn Noble  33:46

Yeah, I think it’s a classic parent question of, I’m getting shut out. And what do I do? And then I don’t know what I feel like, I don’t know what my kid needs, because they won’t tell me. And then, you know, I try to ask them and they’re like, I don’t know, nothing, I’m fine. You know, that kind of. So I think, for me, it would be a shift away from I was hesitating to save the whales. I’ll just say the way I was gonna say it, and then maybe I’ll add to it. So it was a shift away from actually being a parent. It’s like when you have an adolescent and they are pulling away. Part of what they’re doing is like practicing their own independence, because at some point, they’re going to have to be and so they’re starting to become aware of this. So they’re sort of like, Okay, well, let me start, let me try. Let me keep my thoughts to myself. Let me be in my room, let me you know, make my own decisions, and see what that feels like while I’m still at home. And so that also means that the parent has to make a shift and that’s often a really big deal. difficult transition for them because let’s say for the first 10 ish years, they were used to making like, all the decisions and you know, go sit down over there. Okay, let me do this for me now make sure you do that it’s time to go to bed. And now the kid is sort of like, No, I don’t, I don’t need all of that. So, if you are wanting the access into like teen world, you kind of have to shift to an almost peer status, not all the time and not full on, hey, I’m your friend, let’s chill. Like, that’s never gonna work. And they’re gonna see through that. And then we’re like, oh, my God, like, eyeroll. But it’s sort of like, holding your, your worries and the protecting and guiding that you probably want to do all the time, suspending it for a moment to kind of explore using more casual opportunities to investigate. And, you know, with the facade of like, Oh, yeah, you know, I don’t really care, I’m just wondering about, and then gathering information. So if, if that team can really feel you’re asking to ask because you really want to know, and you’re just curious about their life, they’re going to feel more comfortable to tell you no, but it but they are very sensitive, like they’ve known you, as long as you’ve known them, so they can see when you are like, extra, you know, so how was school today? They’re gonna be like, Oh, my gosh, I’m not even going to tell you because then you’re going to go into some lecture, then you’re going to ask me too many questions, then it’s going to feel like, you know, this separation between now you’re telling me what to do and guiding me and it feels to smother me and I don’t like it. And it’s not helpful. And it makes me worried. Yeah, so I think the approach would be just to relax. I’m here to listen. And I’m here to be a support as you would to your own friend, rather than I’m ready to give you advice. And I’m ready to tell you what to do, because that’s going to get the shutdown.

Debbie Reber  37:21

Yep, that makes total sense. So, Jenn, this has been such a fascinating conversation. And again, as a parent of a teenager, personally, I always benefit when I get to talk about teen mental health with experts such as yourself. But can you take a few minutes and tell listeners where and how they can connect with you?

Jenn Noble  37:42

Yes. So definitely, Instagram is a place where I spend most of the time. So my Instagram is @drjennpsych. So I do share a lot of things there. And then I have my website, basically, almost everything is drjennpsych. So that would be Instagram. I have a Facebook page, Twitter, which I you know, I don’t hardly I don’t know, I don’t understand Twitter enough yet. I even have a tick tock now. But my website is drjennpsych. And that’s where you can sort of learn a little bit more about the work I’m currently doing the membership site for parents of mixed race kids. And then I also have Dr. Jen therapy as a website. And that is specifically for my private practice. But I always tell folks, especially parents to go to drjennpsych.com, because there’s more opportunity there for getting the help that you need. I always like to stress that just because you have a mixed kid, let’s say who is expressing some concern about you know, maybe the way that they’re treated or whatever, it doesn’t necessarily mean they need quote unquote, therapy, it just might mean that you just need a little support, which is very different, you know, through the the coaching that I provide. And then on my website, of course, there are free downloads that people can grab, which, you know, maybe books to read for your kid, etc. And then you know, that way, you’ll get some emails going forward from me. So I always encourage parents to go there first, rather than viewing their kid as Oh, no, my kid has a problem. They need therapy, you know what I mean? So yeah.

Debbie Reber  39:31

Well, thank you for that. And listeners, I will include links to all of the resources and URLs that Jen just shared with us on the show notes page. So definitely check that out. And I will just say I am not on tik tok. So, but I’m impressed that you are so maybe I’ll. My husband has it on his phone, so maybe I’ll check that out. But thank you again. I so appreciate everything that you shared with us today and I’m just grateful for the opportunity to connect.

Jenn Noble  39:57

Yes, and thank you so much for having me. I love having discussions like this and especially, you know, you sound just as passionate as I am. So it always makes the conversation much more powerful and inspirational for me. So I really appreciate being here. Thanks for having me.

Debbie Reber  40:14

You’ve been listening to the tilde parenting podcast, you can find links to all the resources my guests and I discussed on the detailed show notes page. Just go to tilde parenting comm slash podcast and select this episode. If you love this podcast and want to help cover the costs of its production, please consider joining my Patreon campaign. For as little as $2 a month you can help cover the cost of the hosting platform, editing, production and more. Just go to patreon.com slash tilde parenting to learn more. Lastly, please help this podcast stay visible and easily found by subscribing and leaving a rating or review on Apple podcasts. Thanks so much for considering. 

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