There are no parenting courses in college. Or medical school for that matter. Or post graduate school either. I know. Much of what we learn, we learn from anecdotal experience or from our own upbringing. When our children are well behaved we think parenting comes naturally for us; and when they don’t, we blame the circumstances, our schools, and most notably ourselves. And isn’t it the same for our children? There are no books or webpages on how to be kids, how to handle troubling social situations, manage feelings, and cope with difficult issues at school. For some adolescents things just come easy, and for others it’s a real struggle.
It’s been my observation that children in the South Bay suffer more from anxiety, depression, attention deficit, processing disorders, poor coping skills, among other diagnoses, than in previous decades. There’s something about modern day electronics and social devices that makes things worse for some adolescents. Alcohol use, drug use, gaming, anorexia, running away from home, school truancy, and other forms of negative self-soothing, can overwhelm the family dynamic and leave us as parents confused, feeling helpless, ineffective, and alone.
As a parent in Manhattan Beach, I was surprised at how few resources were readily available to struggling families. I’ve seen (and sat on boards) for various outreach programs in more challenged inner cities, but why not ours? Children are children and they suffer from the same adolescent ailments regardless of demographics.
Journey Home was established in 2019 to help kids and parents in the South Bay find their center when the family is at risk of fracture. This is when each individual in the family lacks the tools to correct their course in the relationship. Our focus is on mentoring kids through the challenges they face at school, with friends, and during stressful growth phases, and to offer support to parents who struggle with the tools needed to parent challenging children. Most importantly, Journey Home is meant to be a lighthouse for those families feeling lost at sea, reminding them that firm land is near, and they are not alone.
Mark R. Bell, M.D., F.A.C.E.P.
Founder, Journey Home