Lady Gaga's Mom Made a Common Parenting Mistake When Dealing With Her Daughters' Mental Health
Parents aren’t perfect. They don’t always know the right thing to say or do, but that doesn’t mean they don’t care. Lady Gaga’s mom, Cynthia Germanotta, wrote about what it’s like when a parent wants to be there for their child, but doesn’t know exactly how to for Refinery 29.
Unsure of what to do, Germanotta gave “suggestions” when her daughters, Stefani (Lady Gaga) and Natali, opened up about emotional and mental health issues. She’d tell them to go outside for fresh air or get enough sleep — both options to help improve someone’s mood that could also downplay a child’s struggle.
“When my daughters were young and would try to tell me they were struggling emotionally, that they were feeling down or anxious, I would usually try to reassure them that everyone feels like that sometimes and that they would get over it.”
Germanotta said she didn’t know the difference between normal moodiness that comes with being a teenager and a mental health issue, which can be hard for many parents to recognize. According to the National Institute for Mental Health, 13.1 million American adolescents (almost 13 percent of the adolescent population) experienced a depressive episode in 2016.
“I mistook the depression and anxiety my children were experiencing for the average, if unpleasant, moodiness we all associate with teenagers,” she wrote. “I was drawing on the lessons I had been given myself growing up and passing on those same tools, without understanding their inadequacy for the specific challenges my children were facing.”
In 2012, Germanotta co-founded the Born This Way Foundation with Lady Gaga, who has been open about her experiences with depression and post-traumatic stress disorder. The foundation aims to support young people to “create a kinder and braver world.” A part of the foundation’s mission is improving mental health resources for young people.
She said her daughters have taught her how to listen better, ask for help and take care of her mental health just as much as her physical health.
“I know, as a family, we’ll continue to learn from one another, making each other wiser and stronger by sharing lessons not just from one generation to the next, but between generations.”
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