Do your kids relate more to strangers on TikTok than they do to their in-person friends and family? What do your kids really need from you? Does your self-care routine bring about dopamine or serotonin?

I am so very excited to have my good friend, Maureen Towns back on the Podcast with me. Maureen has been a previous guest of mine talking about teen depression and I absolutely loved working with her. Today, we talk all about how the Pandemic has impacted your Teen.

Meet Maureen Towns

Maureen Towns is the founder and owner of Maureen Towns Consulting, a consulting company designed to help families struggling to care for their loved ones with mental health and addiction issues.

Maureen’s 25 years of nursing experience in both public and private healthcare across Canada and her own family’s struggles with mental illness and addiction transformed her approach to parenting atypical kids.  Today she enjoys stronger relationships with her kids and a life of freedom from riding the roller coaster of co-dependant parenting.   With a focus on communication, boundary setting, and advocacy her mission is to bring that same wholeness, healing, and freedom that she found to families across the world.

Maureen published her first book, Broken Open in 2021 and hosts a community of support for parents who are struggling called the Chaos to Calm Membership Community.

You can find all of this and more at

Connect with Maureen on Facebook and LinkedIn, listen to her Podcast HERE, and purchase her book “Broken Open” HERE.

In This Podcast


  • A sense of certainty
  • Pressing the mute button
  • Dopamine is not wellness
  • Relating to strangers

A sense of certainty

Teenagers and kids are highly impressionable because they are so young and have such little experience of the world.

Older adults have seen things come and go, and they know that things may change as much for the better as they do for the worst sometimes.

However, for teens, big changes can feel a lot scarier than they do for adults because they have almost no frame of reference to compare things to (yet).

We’re struggling to adapt, but we know it’s temporary, and we know everything comes and goes. Teens don’t necessarily know that. (Maureen Towns)

Pressing the mute button

When stressed or overwhelmed, people often subconsciously try to distract themselves to avoid dealing with the problem.

What I tend to do when my body’s sending me signals, and I’m uncomfortable … what I’ll do is put the Netflix on and play Candy Crush on my phone which is essentially numbing. We talk about that as numbing out. That’s just shutting down the signals that my body’s trying to send me. (Maureen Towns)

Most adults may have developed healthier coping mechanisms to deal with stress. Teenagers often have not developed those skills yet, so they follow their instincts to cope with stress, which is often to seek instant gratification or to press the “mute” button.

They do this by scrolling social media, comfort eating, binge-watching series, and so forth. By shutting down, they are not doing anything to genuinely feel or get better or resolve the distress.

Dopamine is not wellness

When you are feeling overwhelmed and distressed, you need serotonin – to rest and reset – not dopamine.

Dopamine is not wellness, it’s not the happy neurotransmitter, it’s the “more”. (Maureen Towns)

You unpress the “mute” button and reconnect with your physical and emotional body when you address what is causing you discomfort, instead of avoiding it and numbing yourself, do what genuinely calms you and lets you feel rested. This could be:

  • Spending quality time with family
  • Creating sincere friendships and connections
  • Being away from social media and technology
  • Spending time outdoors

Relating to strangers

If you or your teen often relate to near-total strangers on the internet, what is relatable about them? Why are you finding an emotional connection to a sense of self that is so far beyond where you are – and who you are – right now?

I would think that if the only person I thought really got me was someone I’d never met or interacted with on TikTok, I would feel very isolated and alone. (Maureen Towns)

You may be confusing relatability with feeling validated. If someone is expressing loneliness, and you connect with that, then you may be feeling lonely too.

I might feel validated that someone else in the world has that feeling but I would still feel very very alone and unseen, that’s not processing your emotions. That’s identifying them, but it certainly isn’t feeling them and learning to handle them constructively. (Maureen Towns)

Books Mentioned:

Maureen Towns – Broken Open: A Mother’s Journey to Survive Her Children’s Addiction and Mental Illness

Useful links:


Meet Veronica Cisneros

Veronica Cisneros | Empowered And Unapologetic PodcastI’m a licensed therapist and women walk into my office every day stressed and disconnected. As a mom of three daughters, I want my girls to know who they are and feel confident about their future. I can’t think of a better way to help other women than by demonstrating an empowered and unapologetic life.

So I started  Empowered and Unapologetic to be a safe space for women to be vulnerable and change their lives for the better before she ever needs to see a therapist.

Whether you listen to the podcast, join the free Facebook communityjoin the VIP community, or attend our annual retreat,  you’re in the right place. Let’s do this together!

Thanks for listening!

Did you enjoy this podcast? Feel free to share this podcast on social media! You can also leave a review of the Empowered and Unapologetic Podcast on Apple Podcasts (previously iTunes) and subscribe!