METROFOCUS: March 3, 2021

Encore: March 17, 2021

SPECIAL REPORT: COVID, KIDS & DEPRESSION: PARENTING IN A PANDEMIC

Even before COVID forced kids to disrupt their normal routines and socially isolate from their peers, mental health issues were record high among young people. Now, the number of kids and teens experiencing stress, anxiety, and depression is even higher. According to statistics, some have intentionally hurt themselves, others have contemplated suicide and many are depressed. The CDC reports that through most of 2020, the proportion of pediatric emergency admissions for mental problems, like panic and anxiety, was up by 24% for young children and 31% for adolescents compared to the previous year. Surveys of young patients going into ER’s show that rates of suicidal thinking and behavior are up by 25% from 2019. And for hospitals, these numbers are a surge for which they are frequently unprepared. Tonight, psychiatrist Dr. Harold Koplewicz, who is President and Medical Director of New York’s Child Mind Institute and author of “The Scaffold Effect: Raising Resilient, Self-Reliant, and Secure Kids in an Age of Anxiety” joins us to explain how struggling parents can help their kids heal from this pandemic prognosis.

TRANSCRIPT

> THIS IS 'METROFOCUS' WITH RAFAEL PI ROMAN, JACK FORD, AND JENNA FLANAGAN.

'METROFOCUS' IS MADE POSSIBLE BY SUE AND EDGAR WACHENHEIM III, SYLVIA A. AND SIMON B. POYTA PROGRAMMING ENDOWMENT TO FIGHT ANTI-SEMITISM, THE PETER G.

PETERSON AND JOAN GANZ COONEY FUND, BERNARD AND DENISE SCHWARTZ, BARBARA HOPE ZUCKERBERG, THE AMBROSE MONELL FOUNDATION, AND BY JANET PRINDLE SEIDLER, JODY AND JOHN ARNHOLD, CHERYL AND PHILIP MILSTEIN FAMILY, JUDY AND JOSH WESTON, DR. ROBERT C. AND TINA SOHN FOUNDATION.

> GOOD EVENING AND WELCOME TO 'METROFOCUS.'

I'M JACK FORD.

EVEN BEFORE THE CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC FORCED CHILDREN TO DISRUPT THEIR NORMAL ROUTINES AND TO SOCIALLY ISOLATE FROM THEIR PEERS, MENTAL HEALTH ISSUES WERE AT A RECORD HIGH AMONG YOUNG PEOPLE.

NOW AS A CONSEQUENCE OF THE PANDEMIC THE NUMBER OF CHILDREN AND TEENS EXPERIENCING STRESS AND ANXIETY AND DEPRESSION IS EVEN HIGHER.

AND PARENTS ARE STRUGGLING TO FIND THE PROPER WAYS AND BALANCE TO SUPPORT THEIR CHILDREN.

BUT A NEW BOOK MAY WELL HAVE SOME ANSWERS FOR THEM.

THE BOOK IS CALLED 'THE SCAFFOLD EFFECT: RAISEING RESILIENT, SELF-RELIANT AND SECURE KIDS IN AN AGE OF ANXIETY.'

BY DR. HAROLD KOPLIEWICZ.

IT OUTLINES A NEW METHOD FOR PARENTS TO SUPPORT THEIR CHILDREN AND THEIR GROWTH INTO SELF-SUFFICIENT ADULTS WITHOUT BEING TOO OVERBEARING OR MAKING THEIR MENTAL HEALTH ISSUES EVEN MORE DIFFICULT.

WE'RE DELIGHTED TO HAVE DR.

KOPLIEWICZ JOINING US NOW.

THE AUTHOR OF THE BOOK -- OF MANY BOOKS INDEED.

ALSO THE PRESIDENT AND MEDICAL DIRECTOR OF THE CHILD MIND INST INSTITUTE.

GOOD FRIEND OF OURS FOR MANY YEARS.

DOCTOR, WELCOME TO YOU.

THANKS FOR JOINING.

JACK, IT'S A PLEASURE.

LET'S START OFF -- WE HAVE A LOT TO TALK ABOUT HERE.

BUT LET'S START OFF, AGAIN, THE BOOK AS I SAID, 'THE SCAFFOLD EFFECT: RAISING RESILIENT, SELF-RELIANT AND SECURE KIDS IN AN AGE OF ANXIETY.'

EXPLAIN THIS TITLE CONCEPT, THE SCAFFOLD EFFECT, TO US.

WELL, PARENTING IS ABOUT SUPPORT AND STRUCTURE AND ENCOURAGEMENT.

YOU ARE THE SCAFFOLD THAT STANDS AROUND THE BUILDING, YOUR CHILD AS THEY'RE GROWING UP.

AND THE SCAFFOLD IS THERE TO SUPPORT BUT NOT TO CONTROL, NOT TO IMPEDE LEARNING.

AND I HAVE TO TELL YOU THAT FOR DECADES I'VE HEARD PARENTS TELL ME HOW MUCH THEY WORRY THAT THEIR CHILD WILL NOT BE INDEPENDENT, THAT THEY'RE DOING TOO MUCH OR THEY'RE DOING TOO LITTLE AND HELICOPTERING OR BEING A CONCIERGE OR SNOWPLOW.

AND PARENTING IS ABOUT OFFERING SUPPORT AND NOT RESCUING A CHILD BUT HELPING A CHILD FIND TOOLS THAT CAN HELP THEM RESET AFTER FAILURE OR RESET AFTER A RACE IS NOT WON.

AND SO THE SCAFFOLD IS A GREAT METAPHOR BECAUSE FRANKLY WITHOUT A SCAFFOLD YOU CAN'T GET A BUILDING TO GO UP.

AND WITH THE PROPER SCAFFOLDING YOU GET A SECURE FOUNDATION AND THE SCAFFOLD COMES AND GOES AT DIFFERENT TIMES AS A CHILD'S GROWING.

AND WHAT YOU REALLY HOPE FOR IS AT THE END OF THE DAY THE CHILD CAN SCAFFOLD THEMSELVES SO THAT WHEN THEY GO OFF TO COLLEGE OR THEY'RE IN THE REAL WORLD IF THEY'RE FEELING BAD THEY'RE ABLE TO REACH OUT AND GET HELP ABOUT THEIR MOOD OR IF THEY CAN'T DO A PAPER THEY REACH OUT TO THE TEACHING ASSISTANT AND SAY, I CAN'T GET THIS OUTLINE GOING.

THAT'S WHAT WE REALLY WANT.

WE WANT KIDS TO BE ABLE TO BE SECURE ENOUGH THAT THEY CAN GET HELP AND SELF-AWARE ENOUGH TO KNOW THAT THAT DOESN'T HURT THEM.

I THINK IT'S A WONDERFUL METAPHOR, THIS NOTION OF SCAFFOLDING TO ALLOW THE CONSTRUCTION TO TAKE PLACE WITHIN -- WE RAISED TWO CHILDREN.

OUR TWO CHILDREN ARE NOW RAISING THEIR CHILDREN.

SO WE LOOK AT THIS AS GRANDPARENTS IN A DIFFERENT WAY.

YOU ABOUT I DO LOOK AT THIS BOOK AND SAY WOW, I WISH THIS WAS AROUND WHEN WE WERE RAISING OUR CHILDREN.

YOU'LL FIND THAT -- I READ THE BOOK FOR AUDIBLE.

THEY THOUGHT IT WOULD BE MORE AUTHENTIC IF IT WAS MY VOICE.

AND IT TAKES FOUR DAYS TO READ A BOOK.

AND I CAME HOME AND I SAID TO MY WIFE, YOU KNOW, I'VE READ THIS BOOK SEVERAL TIMES, NOW I'VE READ IT OUT LOUD, I WISH I WROTE IT 30 YEARS AGO BECAUSE INEVITABLY WE WANT THE VERY BEST FOR OUR KIDS.

IT'S ALMOST PART OF OUR DNA TO PROTECT THEM.

AND WE START TO BELIEVE THAT RESCUING KIDS IS WHAT PARENTING IS ABOUT.

AND THAT'S REALLY WRONG.

IT'S ABOUT REALLY GIVING THEM TOOLS AND AT TIMES BEING ABLE TO BE DISPASSIONATE AND BE ABLE TO SAY IT'S OKAY, FAILURE IS AN OPTION, IT'S JUST HOW WE'RE GOING TO DEAL WITH THAT FAILURE AND HOW WE'RE GOING TO MOVE ON TO THE NEXT TEST, THE NEXT RACE, THE NEXT CHAPTER OF LIFE.

I THINK IT'S ALSO IMPORTANT THAT YOU MAKE CLEAR THAT THERE'S NOT JUST ONE SINGLE MONOLITHIC STRUCTURE THAT IS GOING TO BE CREATED WITHIN THE SCAFFOLD.

AGAIN, IT'S A METAPHOR.

YOU SAY THE SCAFFOLDING MIGHT SURROUND A HIGH-RISE OR IT MIGHT SURROUND A SPRAWLING RANCH COMPLEX.

HOW IMPORTANT IS IT FOR PARENTS TO GRASP THAT IDEA OF YOU'RE NOT GOING TO HAVE -- MAYBE WITHIN YOUR OWN CHILDREN.

RIGHT.

I THINK FIRST OF ALL THE CONCEPT OF DNA ROULETTE, THAT EVERY TIME WE MAKE A SET OF KIDS, WE MAKE A CHILD, THE GENES SPIN OUT IN A DIFFERENT WAY, STILL HOLDS TRUE TODAY.

AND I THINK THAT AS HARD AS IT IS FOR US, BECAUSE WE WANT OUR KIDS TO HAVE HAPPINESS, WE WANT OUR KIDS TO HAVE SUCCESS, AND IF WE'RE HAPPY WITH OUR PROFESSIONAL LIVES AND OUR PERSONAL LIVES WE WANT THEM TO REPLICATE WHAT WE HAVE, THAT ISN'T GOOD PARENTING.

THAT IS REALLY TOO CONTROLLING.

AND WHAT YOU REALLY WANT IS FOR YOUR KID TO BE ABLE TO BUILD A HOUSE THAT THEY'LL FEEL COMFORTABLE LIVING IN.

I MEAN, I ALWAYS USE THE CONCEPT OF MY OLDEST SON I WAS CONVINCED HE SHOULD BE A DOCTOR.

I LOVE BEING A DOCTOR.

I LOVE BEING A CHILD PSYCHIATRIST.

I WOULD LOVE MY KID TO HAVE THAT SAME KIND OF PLEASURE IN HIS PROFESSIONAL LIFE.

AND HE WAS A GREAT SCIENCE STUDENT, AND I THOUGHT, GREAT.

YOU KNOW, IN HIGH SCHOOL WE'RE HEADING TOWARD THE RIGHT -- YOU KNOW, HE'LL BE PREMED.

AND ABOUT 10th OR 11th GRADE HE SAID TO ME, I'M NOT GOING TO BECOME A DOCTOR.

I LOVE SCIENCE BUT I HATE BLOOD.

I JUST DON'T WANT TO DO THIS.

IN FACT, IF I BECOME A DOCTOR I'LL HAVE TO BECOME A PSYCHIATRIST.

I'LL ALWAYS BE THE WRONG DR.

KOPLIEWICZ.

SO THE SCAFFOLDING MY WIFE AND I WERE PLANNING FOR THIS VERY ACADEMIC KID REALLY CHANGED DRAMATICALLY WHEN HE SAID TO US OH, BY THE WAY, I WANT TO BE A DJ.

WE SAID OKAY.

A PROFESSIONAL DJ?

A HOBBY -- NO, I REALLY WANT TO DO THIS.

AND BY THE WAY, AT THE TIME THIS WAS AT LEAST 20 YEARS AGO, THERE WERE THREE WHITE JEWISH DJs.

THERE WAS MARK RONSON WHO WENT ON TO WIN THE ACADEMY AWARD WITH LADY GAGA.

AND THERE WAS CASSIDY.

DJ CASSIDY WHO PERFORMED AT THE INAUGURATION CONCERT.

AND DJ JOSH K.

AND JOSH K AND CASSIDY WERE KIND OF LIKE THE GOFERS FOR MARK RONSON.

BUT IF THAT WAS THE SCAFFOLDING WE STARTED SCAFFOLDING FOR A DJ.

AND HE WAS GOING TO GO TO BROWN AND THEN WHEN HE WAS AT BROWN HE HAD A COMMERCIAL RADIO STATION THAT HAD HIS SHOW AND WE THOUGHT HE WAS GOING OFF TO L.A.

AND THEN BETWEEN HIS JUNIOR AND SENIOR YEAR HE WORKED FOR A BANK AND HE DRANK THE KOOL-AID AND HE TOLD US HE WANTS TO DO DISTRESS AND PRIVATE EQUITY AND VENTURE CAPITAL.

ALL WORDS, BY THE WAY, AND TERMS THAT I DID NOT UNDERSTAND BUT I RECOGNIZED THAT IT WAS OUR JOB TO SCAFFOLD.

AND THE HOUSE THAT HE LIVES IN, WHICH TODAY HE RUNS A PRIVATE EQUITY FIRM, IS THE HOUSE HE'S HAPPY IN, THAT WAS OUR JOB.

OUR JOB WAS TO KEEP SCAFFOLDING AND TO MAKE SURE THAT HE HAD THE SUPPORT AND THE STRUCTURE TO BUILD A HOUSE THAT HE WANTS TO LIVE IN.

YOU TALK ABOUT OUR JOB AS PARENTS.

AND LET ME TAKE YOU THROUGH SOME OF THE ASPECTS OF BUILDING THE SCAFFOLDING THAT YOU HAVE, YOU'VE INCLUDED HERE.

AND I WAS STRUCK BY IN ONE OF THE VERY FIRST CHAPTERS YOU SAY, AND WE'RE NOT TALKING NOW ABOUT THE CHILDREN, YOU'RE SAYING WHAT NEEDS TO BE DONE, YOU AS PARENTS, IS YOUR WORDS, SECURE YOURSELF FIRST.

WHAT DO YOU MEAN BY THAT?

WELL, IN FACT, THIS BOOK WAS WRITTEN -- I WAS DOING THE WRITING ABOUT A YEAR AND A HALF AGO.

IT TAKES ABOUT A YEAR AND A HALF, OR NINE MONTHS TO PUBLISH A BOOK.

SO ONCE I WAS FINISHED THE PANDEMIC WAS NOT IN ANYONE'S MIND.

THIS KIND OF DYSTOPIAN WORLD WE'RE LIVING IN NOW WAS UNIMAGINABLE.

AND YET IN THE BOOK I TALK ABOUT THE MOST IMPORTANT THING A PARENT HAS TO DO IS SELF-CARE.

THEY HAVE TO SECURE THEMSELVES.

THAT IF THEIR SCAFFOLD ISN'T SECURE, IF THEY'RE NOT SLEEPING, IF THEY'RE NOT EATING PROPERLY, IF THEY'RE NOT EXERCISING, IF THEY DON'T TAKE CARE OF THEMSELVES, AND THERE'S ENDLESS WAYS THAT THEY CAN DO THAT, THAT SCAFFOLD, IF A CATASTROPHIC EVENT HAPPENS, CAN FALL DOWN.

AND IT CAN CAUSE THE BUILDING TO FALL DOWN.

WE'RE LIVING DURING ONE OF THOSE CATASTROPHIC TIMES.

IF PARENTS ARE NOT SECURING THEMSELVES, IF THEY'RE NOT OFFERING THEMSELVES THAT KIND OF STRUCTURE OF SAYING I'M GOING TO GO TO SLEEP EVERY NIGHT AT THE SAME TIME, I'M GOING TO KEEP MY DAILY HYGIENE, I'M GOING TO PUT PANTS ON EVERY DAY AND GET DRESSED, I'M GOING TO DO SOME SPIRITUALITY WHETHER IT'S MINDFULNESS OR I'M GOING TO GO TO CHURCH ONLINE OR SYNAGOGUE OR MOSQUE, IT DOESN'T MAKE A DIFFERENCE, I'M GOING TO MAKE SURE THAT I'M EXERCISING, IF YOU DON'T TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF YOU DON'T HAVE THE ENERGY TO TAKE CARE OF YOUR CHILDREN AND SCAFFOLD THEM.

I ALWAYS THINK OF THE METAPHOR OF WHEN YOU'RE ON THAT AIRPLANE AND THE FLIGHT ATTENDANT SAYS IF THE AIR PRESSURE DROPS PLEASE MAKE SURE TO PUT THE MASK ON YOURSELF FIRST BEFORE YOU PUT IT ON YOUR KIDS AND IT EMPIRICALLY FEELS WRONG, LIKE HOW COULD I NOT TAKE CARE OF MY CHILDREN FIRST.

BUT IF YOU'RE NOT BREATHING PROPERLY, YOU DON'T HAVE THE OXYGEN, YOU WON'T BE ABLE TO GET TO YOUR CHILD WHO MIGHT BE FIDGETING OR THE SECOND CHILD OR THE THIRD CHILD.

SO IT IS ESSENTIAL THAT WE SCAFFOLD OURSELVES, WE BUILD OURSELVES A GOOD SCAFFOLD THAT THEN WE CAN SCAFFOLD OUR CHILDREN.

LET ME TALK AGAIN ABOUT A COUPLE OF THE ELEMENTS AS PART OF -- AGAIN, THE ANSWERS TO THESE VERY VEXING QUESTIONS WE ALL HAVE AS PARENTS.

ONE OF THE THINGS YOU SAY IS YOU SHOULD THEN AS PARENTS LAY A SOLID FOUNDATION.

NOW, MY QUESTION IS HOW DO YOU DO THAT?

AND LET'S USE YOUR SITUATION AS AN ILLUSTRATION.

YOUR SON SORT OF CHANGED DRAMATICALLY IN TERMS OF WHAT HE WAS INTERESTED IN, THE DIRECTION HE WANTED HIS JOURNEY TO TAKE.

SO I SUSPECT THAT PARENTS MIGHT SAY WELL, HOW CAN YOU LAY A SOLID FOUNDATION IF YOU DON'T KNOW WHAT JOURNEY -- WHAT PATH YOUR CHILD IS GOING TO TAKE ULTIMATELY?

WHAT'S THE ANSWER TO THAT?

LET'S TALK ABOUT WHAT DOES THE SCAFFOLD LOOK LIKE.

SO SCAFFOLDS HAVE PILLARS AND THE PILLARS INCLUDE SUPPORT AND STRUCTURE AND ENCOURAGEMENT.

YOU KNOW, STRUCTURE IS HOW DOES YOUR FAMILY COMMUNICATE, WHAT ARE THE ROUTINES OF YOUR FAMILY, WHAT ARE THE KIND OF MORAL GUIDEPOSTS THAT YOUR FAMILY HAS.

THE SUPPORT IS THAT YOU ARE GOING TO SUPPORT YOUR CHILD THROUGH THE TOUGH TIMES AND THE EASY TIMES AND THE CHANGES BECAUSE THAT'S OUR JOB.

AND THE ENCOURAGEMENT IS YOU'RE GOING TO TRY TO PUSH YOUR CHILD OUT OF THEIR COMFORT ZONE AND GET THEM TO GO INTO A GROWTH ZONE, TRY TO TAKE RISKS WITH LEARNING AND WITH SOCIALIZATION.

BUT THEN YOU HAVE PLANKS.

YOU HAVE TO STAND ON SOMETHING.

AND YOU HAVE TO BE ABLE TO STAND ON PATIENCE, ON WARMTH, ON AWARENESS, ON DISPASSION, AND ALSO ON MONITORING.

I PARTICULARLY AM A BAD DISPASSION -- I HAVE A LOT OF TROUBLE WITH DISPASSION.

I'M LIKE A SUPER CHEERLEADER AT TIMES.

YOU KNOW, WHEN MY KIDS HAD FIGHTS WITH OTHER KIDS, I WANTED TO TAKE A HIT OUT ON THAT CHILD FOR HURTING MY CHILD.

AND THANKFULLY I WAS ABLE TO KEEP THOSE THOUGHTS INSIDE OF MY HEAD.

AND I ALSO HAD A PARTNER, MY WIFE, WHO WAS MUCH WISER AND RECOGNIZED THAT THIS WAS A JOURNEY AND THAT OUR DISPASSION WAS IMPORTANT, THAT IF THEY FAILED IT WASN'T THE END OF THE WORLD.

IT WAS AN OPPORTUNITY TO FIGURE OUT HOW THEY COULD HAVE SUCCESS NEXT TIME AND NOT TO FIX IT.

THE DISPASSION IS THAT WE DON'T HAVE TO FIX THINGS.

AND I THINK IT'S IN OUR DNA ALMOST THAT WE WILL FIX THINGS, WE WILL MAKE IT BETTER.

AND REALLY GREAT PARENTS ARE MORE LIKE CONSULTANTS THAN FIXERS.

THEY ARE ABLE TO -- PARTICULARLY WHEN THEY BECOME TEENAGERS SO THAT YOU'RE ABLE TO STEP BACK AND BRAINSTORM AND GIVE IDEAS.

BUT NOT ALWAYS GIVE THE SOLUTION THAT THEIR CHILD IS GOING TO SELECT.

AND THAT TAKES DISPASSION TO SAY OKAY, I --

LET ME ASK ABOUT THAT NOTION OF DISPASSION BECAUSE I SUSPECT SOME PEOPLE MIGHT BE WATCHING AND SAY WELL, IS THAT SORT OF COUNTERINTUITIVE?

DOES THAT MEAN WE SHOULD BE ALMOST TOO CLINICAL IN OUR DEALING WITH OUR CHILDREN AND TOO SORT OF MECHANICAL IN OUR DEALING WITH OUR CHILDREN?

WHAT'S THE DISTINCTION BETWEEN DISPASSIONATE AND TOO CLINICAL?

I'LL GIVE A VIGNETTE.

I THINK WHAT MAKES IT LOOK DIFFERENT THAN A LOT OF OTHER PARENTING BOOKS IS WE ACTUALLY GIVE YOU GUIDEPOSTS ALL THE WAY THROUGH AT THE AGE OF 24 BUT ALSO A WHOLE BUNCH OF CHARTS THAT SAY THIS IS NORMAL, THIS IS A PROBLEM, THIS IS A DISORDER.

THIS BOOK WAS WRITTEN FOR ALL PARENTS, NOT ONLY PARENTS WHO HAVE A CHILD WHO'S STRUGGLING WITH A MENTAL HEALTH DISORDER.

BUT MY OLDER SON WENT OFF TO CAMP.

AND IT WAS REALLY IMPORTANT THAT I WANTED HIM PREPARED.

I WANTED HIM TO HAVE THE TOOLS.

AND I WAS NOT A NATURAL ATHLETE.

MY FATHER WAS A GREAT ATHLETE.

AND I THINK SOMEWHERE ALONG THE LINE HE KIND OF LOST HIS PATIENCE WITH MY KLUTZINESS.

AND ALL THREE OF MY SONS THANKFULLY INHERITED MY WIFE'S GENES AND WERE GREAT SWIMMERS, TERRIFIC TENNIS PLAYERS, COULD SAIL A BOAT, COULD CATCH A BALL.

GREAT SOCCER PLAYERS.

SO WHEN HE WANTED TO GO TO SLEEPAWAY CAMP AT 8 YEARS OF AGE WE THOUGHT HE HAS ALL THE TOOLS, HE'S GOING TO BE A GREAT SUCCESS.

AND WHEN I WENT TO SLEEPAWAY CAMP NOT ONLY WASN'T A GREAT AT SPORTS BUT I WAS INCREDIBLY HOMESICK.

SO WE GET UP TO SLEEPAWAY CAMP AFTER FOUR WEEKS TO VISITING DAY AND HE DOESN'T LOOK VERY HAPPY, HE HUGS US A LITTLE TOO TIGHTLY.

I SAID WHAT'S THE MATTER?

HE SAID I WANT TO GO HOME.

SO WE WALK INTO THE WOODS AND I SAY WHAT'S GOING ON?

AND HE SAYS TO ME, THERE'S NO ONE HERE TO LOVE ME.

AND THAT'S A VERY SAD STATEMENT.

BUT I GOT TEARFUL RIGHT AWAY.

I DIDN'T CRY BUT MY EYES GOT WET.

IT WAS A WAVE OF OH, NO.

YOU KNOW HOW TO CATCH.

YOU KNOW HOW TO HIT THE BALL.

YOU HAVE ALL THE TOOLS.

WHY ARE YOU UNHAPPY?

AND ALL THOSE INADEQUACIES OF FEELING HOMESICK AND NOT BEING A SUCCESS AT SLEEPAWAY CAMP CAME ROLLING BACK.

THAT'S NOT DISPASSION BECAUSE MY SON SAW HOW UPSET I WAS AND LITERALLY SAID 'DON'T CRY, DAD, I'LL BE OKAY.'

I'M LIKE YOU BY THE WAY.

I WAS GETTING TEARS WHEN YOU WERE TELLING ME ABOUT YOUR SON SAYING THERE'S NOBODY HERE TO LOVE ME.

I WOULD HAVE MELTED IF IT WAS ONE OF MY CHILDREN.

THERE'S A WHOLE ARTICLE NOW ABOUT MEN WHO CRY AT MOVIES.

I CRY AT COMMERCIALS.

WHEN MY SON WAS YOUNG WE'D BE SITTING THERE AND SOMETIMES A COMMERCIAL WOULD COME ON HE'D TAKE MY SON AND PAT IT, IT'S OKAY, DAD.

IT'S OKAY.

BUT THE REASON THE STORY IS AN EXAMPLE OF WHAT YOU'RE NOT SUPPOSED TO DO IS THAT MY KID WAS IN PAIN AND IT'S NOT HIS JOB TO COMFORT ME.

IT WAS MY JOB TO BE SOMEWHAT DISPASSIONATE AND SAY OKAY, WHAT CAN WE DO TO MAKE THE SITUATION BETTER?

WHAT CAN YOU DO?

WHAT CAN THE COUNSELOR DO?

WE COULD BRAINSTORM TOGETHER.

BUT IF YOU GET TOO UPSET OR IF YOU SAY OH, YOU THINK YOU HAD IT BAD, YOU KNOW, I WAS WITH ABRAHAM LINCOLN IN THE SNOW AT SLEEPAWAY CAMP, IT WAS ABSOLUTELY AWFUL, YOU KNOW, THAT DOESN'T GIVE YOUR CHILD THE OPPORTUNITY TO LEARN FROM THE PAIN THAT THEY'RE IN, FROM THE FAILURE THEY'RE XEEXPERIENCING D HOW WE CAN HELP THEM FIGURE OUT STEPS AND TOOLS TO MAKE THINGS BETTER.

WHAT I MEAN BY DISPASSIONATE.

IT DOESN'T MEAN NEUTRALITY.

IT DOESN'T MEAN YOU JUST NOD YOUR HEAD AND SAY YES, IT SOUNDS TOUGH.

BUT IT'S A MATTER OF A BALANCE OF NOT FIXING IT BUT SIMULTANEOUSLY BEING EMPATHETIC.

REMEMBER, ONE OF THE OTHER PLANKS IS WARMTH.

AND TO BE ABLE TO SAY THIS IS REALLY TOUGH AND TO BE EMPATHIC BUT TO SAY HOW DO YOU THINK IT COULD BE BETTER?

WHAT ARE THE THINGS THAT CAN MEDICATION THE NEXT FOUR WEEKS LOOK BETTER?

WITHOUT RESCUING HIM, WITHOUT SAYING WE'RE PACKING YOU UP AND TAKING YOU HOME AND WITHOUT ALSO SAYING TO HIM STIFF UPPER LIP, POWER THROUGH IT, YOU CAN DO IT.

BOTH THOSE THINGS ARE TOO NEUTRAL AND TOO OVERPOWERING.

ONCE AGAIN WE'RE TALKING WITH DR. HAROLD KOPLIEWICZ ABOUT HIS NEW BOOK CALLED 'THE SCAFFOLD EFFECT: RAISING RESILIENT, SELF-RELIANT AND SECURE KIDS IN AN AGE OF ANXIETY.'

WE TALK ABOUT AN AGE OF ANXIETY.

I MENTIONED IN THE INTRODUCTION HOW THE NUMBERS ARE FRIGHTENING IN TERMS OF THE STRESS LEVELS AND ANXIETY.

AND I WAS STRUCK BY HOW HIGH THE NUMBERS WERE IN TERMS OF YOUNG PEOPLE AND SUICIDAL THINKING.

EVEN BEFORE THE PANDEMIC SET IN.

WHY DO YOU THINK WE'RE SEEING SUCH A DRAMATIC INCREASE IN THESE NUMBERS?

OUR KIDS ARE NOT OKAY.

ON A GOOD DAY IN AMERICA THERE ARE 1.2 MILLION KIDS UNDER THE AGE OF 18 WHO ARE SHOWING UP IN EMERGENCY ROOMS WITH SUICIDAL IDEATION OR SUICIDAL BEHAVIOR.

AND THAT'S PRE-COVID.

THAT INCREASE IN THE LAST FIVE YEARS HAS GONE FROM 600,000, FROM ONE A MINUTE, TO TWO A MINUTE, OF KIDS WHO ARE REALLY DISTRESSED AND GOING TO EMERGENCY ROOMS.

WHICH ARE NOT ALWAYS THE BEST SOLUTION BUT THAT'S WHERE PARENTS RUN TO WHEN THEIR KIDS ARE IN THAT KIND OF ACUTE PAIN.

WE ARE LOSING MORE KIDS WHO COMPLETE SUICIDE BETWEEN THE AGES OF 14 AND 24, AGAIN, PRE-COVID.

IT WENT FROM 5,000 TO 6,120.

THAT'S MORE THAN A 20% INCREASE.

SO THERE ARE SEVERAL THINGS THAT REALLY ARE QUITE CONCERNING TO US AS TO WHY MORE KIDS ARE EXPERIENCING ANXIETY.

WE THINK THAT FOR CERTAIN KIDS SOCIAL MEDIA IS HAVING A VERY TOXIC EFFECT.

PARTICULARLY IF THEY HAVE AN UNDERLYING DEPRESSION OR ADHD.

IT CAN MAKE THEIR SYMPTOMS WORSE.

WE THINK THAT POT, MARIJUANA, IS PARTICULARLY TOXIC FOR KIDS WHO HAVE ANXIETY.

IT CAN REALLY PRECIPITATE A PANIC ATTACK.

AND ONCE YOU HAVE ONE PANIC ATTACK IT'S VERY EASY TO GET A SECOND OR A THIRD.

AND WE ALSO RECOGNIZE THAT THE INTERGENERATIONAL APPROACH THAT CERTAINLY WAS PART OF MY LIFE AND MY NEIGHBORHOOD WHERE THERE WAS LITERALLY A VILLAGE RAISING US -- I REMEMBER I CROSSED IN THE MIDDLE OF THE STREET IN FOURTH GRADE WALKING HOME FROM SCHOOL.

BY THE TIME I CAME HOME MY MOTHER WAS ON THE FRONT PORCH, YOU KNOW, YELLING AT ME THAT I WAS SO CARELESS.

AND IT WASN'T LIKE MY PARENTS WERE SO INVOLVED IN THE COMMUNITY.

BUT THERE WERE A LOT OF NON-WORKING MOMS AND A LOT OF BUSYBODIES WHO WERE KEEPING THEIR EYES OUT ON THE KIDS WALKING FROM SCHOOL TO HOME.

AND I THINK A LOT OF THAT HAS CHANGED.

I THINK THAT AMERICANS HAVE TO WORK.

SO WE HAVE A LOT OF WORKING PARENTS.

AND I DON'T THINK WE HAVE AS MUCH STRUCTURE IN PLACE TO HELP KIDS.

WE KNOW THAT MOST CRIME, FOR INSTANCE, OCCURS FROM 3:00 TILL MIDNIGHT BECAUSE IT'S REALLY 9:00 BECAUSE THAT'S WHEN KIDS ARE UNSUPERVISED.

SO I THINK THERE ARE MULTIPLE REASONS.

AND I THINK THAT, YOU KNOW, THERE'S THE REALITY THAT THE MOST COMMON ILLNESSES OF CHILDHOOD AND ADOLESCENCE ARE MENTAL HEALTH DISORDERS.

AND THE MOST COMMON MENTAL HEALTH DISORDER IS ANXIETY DISORDERS.

AND ONLY 20% OF THE KIDS WHO HAVE AN ANXIETY DISORDER EVER GET HELP BECAUSE IT'S VERY INTERNALIZING.

THEY KEEP THEIR THOUGHTS AND FEARS OF BEING SEPARATED 300 KIDS A DAY ON A SCREEN AND ANOTHER 20, MAYBE EIGHT OR TEN IN CALIFORNIA AND TEN OR TWELVE IN MANHATTAN.

SO YOU CAN SEE THE NEED HAS GROWN DRAMATICALLY.

AND THE FACT THAT THERE'S AN EASE OF DOING SOMETHING ON A SCREEN HAS BEEN ADOPTED BY AMERICANS --

IS THAT SOMETHING THAT YOU AS A PROFESSIONAL SAY TO PEOPLE LOOK, GET ON A SCREEN WITH ME, I CAN HELP?

EVEN IF IT'S JUST HAVING A CONVERSATION LIKE THIS 37 OR DO YOU FIND PARENTS WHO SAY THAT CAN'T POSSIBLY -- THIS IS FAR TOO COMPLEX TO HAVE DR.

KOPLIEWICZ TALK TO MY CHILD AND HAVE IT BE MEANINGFUL?

A YEAR AGO, JACK, I WAS ADAMANTLY OPPOSED TO TELEHEALTH.

I THOUGHT TALKSPACE AND HEADSPACE AND THIS IS NOT REAL THERAPY AND WE'RE DEALING WITH VERY SERIOUS SYMPTOMS AND VERY REAL TYPICALLY DO.

WE NEED 40 NEW PATIENTS EVERY WEEK.

THEN THE PANDEMIC HIT.

SO WHILE OUR EXISTING PATIENTS STAYED WITH US IN THE MONTH OF APRIL AND MAY WE WERE SEEING FOUR.

FIVE NEW PATIENTS A WEEK.

SOME OF THE MOST SYMPTOMATIC KIDS WE'VE EVER SEEN.

KIDS BEING DISCHARGED FROM McLEAN'S OR ROGERS MEMORIAL OR MENNINGER'S.

BUT BY JULY PARENTS HAD REALIZED THIS WAS NOT A SHORT-TERM EVENT, THIS WAS GOING TO GO ON.

AND FOR WHATEVER REASON THEY STARTED TO ADOPT AND ADAPT TO TELEHEALTH.

SO ALL OF THE SUDDEN WE HAD THE BUSIEST AUGUST WE'VE EVER HAD AT THE CHILD MIND INSTITUTE IN THE PAST 11 YEARS.

SO I CAN TELL YOU THAT WE'RE VERY CAREFUL ABOUT WATCHING METRICS, OF HOW MANY SESSIONS, AND WE ASK PATIENTS EVERY SESSION AND ASK THE CLINICIAN IS THE PATIENT THE SAME, IS THE PATIENT SLIGHTLY BETTER, IS THE PATIENT BETTER, MUCH BETTER, COMPLETELY RECOVERED.

SLIGHTLY WORSE.

MUCH WORSE.

SO WE ARE RECOGNIZING THAT IT'S NOT JUST RENT A FRIEND, IT'S REALLY AN EVIDENCE-BASED INTERVENTION.

AND I CAN TELL YOU THAT RIGHT NOW WE'RE GETTING ALMOST AS GOOD RESULTS WITH SCREENS AS WE'RE GETTING IN PERSON.

I ALSO BELIEVE THAT POST-COVID TELEMENTAL HEALTH WILL CONTINUE.

WHAT'S SAD IS THE RULES DROPPED FOR A WHILE SO THAT YOU COULD SEE KIDS IN OTHER STATES WITHOUT HAVING A LICENSE IN OTHER STATES AND THERE ARE CERTAIN STATES THAT HAVE NO -- OR VERY FEW CHILD PSYCHIATRISTS OR CHILD PSYCHOLOGISTS.

AND THOSE RULES ARE COMING BACK UP.

SO IT'S GOING TO BE MORE DIFFICULT TO BE ABLE TO SEE KIDS WHO DON'T COME TO YOUR OFFICE AND JUST SEE THEM ON A SCREEN.

BUT I THINK THAT THAT INNOVATION IS GOING TO -- WE'LL WORK AROUND IT.

WE'RE GOING TO FIGURE WAYS TO BE ABLE TO REACH MORE KIDS THAN EVER BEFORE.

WE'VE GOT ABOUT THREE MINUTES OR SO LEFT.

THERE ARE A NUMBER OF OTHER THINGS THAT I WANTED TO GET TO BUT THEY'RE IN THE BOOK.

YOU TALK ABOUT EMPOWERING THE GROWTH OF THE CHILD.

YOU TALK ABOUT STAYING ON THEIR LEVEL.

REAL QUICKLY, WHAT DO YOU MEAN WHEN YOU SAY STAY ON THEIR LEVEL?

I THINK THAT MOST OF US DON'T TRY AS HARD WITH OUR KIDS TO HAVE CONVERSATIONS AS WE DO WITH A CLIENT.

THINK OF THE SCAFFOLD.

IF THE SCAFFOLD'S UP HERE AND THE BUILDING'S DOWN THERE IT'S NOT GOING TO WORK.

YOU WANT TO BE ON THEIR LEVEL.

THAT MEANS YOU'VE GOT TO DO A LITTLE WORK.

WHAT TEAM ARE THEY REALLY INTERESTED IN?

IF THEY'RE FOLLOWING BASEBALL OR BASKETBALL.

IF THERE'S A TV PROGRAM THEY LIKE.

IF THERE'S A CELEBRITY.

YOU HAVE TO SHOW GENUINE INTEREST IN WHAT THEY'RE INTERESTED IN.

SO IF YOU WANT TO HAVE A CONVERSATION WITH THEM THAT'S NOT NO, YES, MAYBE, I DON'T KNOW, YOU HAVE TO GIVE THAT SOME EFFORT.

AND I THINK IT'S DEFINITELY REWARDING WHEN YOUR CHILD REALLY COMMUNICATES WITH YOU.

IT FALLS RIGHT INTO THE CATEGORY OF CATCH YOUR CHILD BEING GOOD.

WE'RE TERRIFIC AT NEGATIVE TRACKING.

CLOSE YOUR MOUTH WHEN YOU'RE EATING.

PUT THE NAPKIN ON YOUR LAP.

YOUR CLOTHES ARE ON THE FLOOR.

COMPLETELY UNNECESSARY.

A WHOLE BUNCH OF INSIGNIFICANT OFF-TASK BEHAVIORS.

BUT IF YOU CATCH A KID BEING GOOD AND PRAISE THEM AND SAY THANK YOU FOR TELLING ME THAT STORY, IT WAS A GREAT STORY, OR THANK YOU FOR SETTING THE TABLE OR THANKS FOR CLEANING UP, I ASKED YOU AND YOU REALLY DID A GOOD JOB, IT IS TRULY AMAZING THAT IN TWO WEEKS YOU CAN REDRAW THAT BLUEPRINT.

FIRST YOUR KID WILL THINK A BODY SNATCHER TOOK THEIR MOTHER.

BUT AFTER THAT THEY WILL START GIVING YOU MORE AND MORE GOOD BEHAVIOR BECAUSE EVERYONE LIKES TO GET PRAISED.

AND IF YOU STOP NEGATIVE TRACKING AND YOU DON'T SAY THIS IS THE GOOD CHILD AND THIS IS THE BAD CHILD AND YOU TRACK ALL THE BEHAVIOR YOU'RE GOING TO BE SURPRISED AT THE FACT THAT YOUR KIDS DEFINITELY WANT TO PLEASE YOU.

THEY WANT TO PLEASE THEIR TEACHER --

THAT'S A GREAT EXPRESSION, TO CATCH THEM BEING GOOD.

WE HAVE ABOUT A MINUTE LEFT HERE.

LAST QUESTION FOR YOU.

ONE OF THE THINGS YOU STRESS IS TO SUPPORT YOUR CHILD UNCONDITIONALLY.

AND SOMEBODY MIGHT SAY, WELL, ISN'T THAT HOVERING?

SORT OF DOING THINGS FOR THEM.

WHAT DO YOU MEAN BY -- AND I APOLOGIZE IF IT'S QUICK TIME FOR AN ANSWER BUT WHAT DO YOU MEAN BY SUPPORT THEM UNCONDITIONALLY?

THEY HAVE TO BE ABLE TO RELY ON YOU.

NO MATTER WHAT HAPPENS.

GOOD TIMES, BAD TIMES.

THEY HAVE TO RELY ON YOU.

THAT MEANS IF YOU SAY TO YOUR CHILD IF YOU GET DRUNK CALL ME UP AND I WILL PICK YOU UP YOU GO AND YOU PICK THEM UP BUT YOU DON'T YELL AT THEM, YOU DON'T SCOLD THEM.

THE NEXT DAY YOU CAN HAVE A REAL DISCUSSION ABOUT THE PERILS OF DRINKING.

BUT YOU DO PRAISE THEM.

YOU DO SAY I'M HERE FOR YOU, I TOLD YOU I'D BE HERE FOR YOU, YOU CAN ALWAYS COUNT ON ME.

WHETHER YOU GOT CAUGHT CHEATING OR YOU DID SOMETHING SILLY AND IMPULSIVE, YOU CAN RELY ON THIS SCAFFOLD.

I AM HERE NO MATTER WHAT.

YOU CAN COUNT ON ME.

WELL, JUST GREAT ADVICE.

AS YOU SAID, I WISH THIS BOOK WAS AROUND WHEN WE WERE RAISING OUR CHILDREN.

ALTHOUGH I MUST ADMIT IT SOUNDS LIKE WE DID SOME OF THE THINGS YOU SUGGEST.

SOMETIMES WE STUMBLE INTO DOING THE RIGHT THING.

OR AT LEAST OUR INSTINCTS ARE THERE.

THE BOOK IS CALLED 'THE SCAFFOLD EFFECT: RAISING RESILIENT, SELF-RELIANT AND SECURE KIDS IN AN AGE OF ANXIETY.'

DR. HAROLD KOPLIEWICZ JOINING US ONCE AGAIN.

IT'S A FABULOUS BOOK FOR PEOPLE OF ANY AGE TO READ FOR A LOT OF REASONS.

DOCTOR, ALWAYS A PLEASURE.

AND WE'LL LOOK FORWARD TO TALKING TO YOU AGAIN REAL SOON.

YOU TAKE CARE.

JACK, THANK YOU.

YOU STAY WELL.

> 'METROFOCUS' IS MADE POSSIBLE BY SUE AND EDGAR WACHENHEIM III, SYLVIA A. AND SIMON B. POYTA PROGRAMMING ENDOWMENT TO FIGHT ANTI-SEMITISM, THE PETER G.

PETERSON AND JOAN GANZ COONEY FUND, BERNARD AND DENISE SCHWARTZ, BARBARA HOPE ZUCKERBERG, THE AMBROSE MONELL FOUNDATION, AND BY JANET PRINDLE SEIDLER, JODY AND JOHN ARNHOLD, CHERYL AND PHILIP MILSTEIN FAMILY, JUDY AND JOSH WESTON, DR. ROBERT C. AND TINA SOHN FOUNDATION.

Funders

MetroFocus is made possible by Sue and Edgar Wachenheim III, the Sylvia A. and Simon B. Poyta Programming Endowment to Fight Anti-Semitism, The Peter G. Peterson and Joan Ganz Cooney Fund, Bernard and Denise Schwartz, Barbara Hope Zuckerberg, The Ambrose Monell Foundation, Janet Prindle Seidler, Jody and John Arnhold, the Cheryl and Philip Milstein Family, Judy and Josh Weston and the Dr. Robert C. and Tina Sohn Foundation.

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