Day 2 – IWS23 Recap: Holistic Care for Teens with Dr. Amber Mattingly

by | Sep 27, 2023 | Articles, Blog, Family, IWS23, Parenting

The forgotten age: I had never considered the pre-teen age as often left out or slotted into a different group entirely, but the truth hurts, and I realized Dr. Amber Mattingly was right. She beautifully opens us up to a world through a pre-teen’s eyes. She bends her two worlds as an experienced yogi and ordained minister. Her work in the world is finding ways to support this age group, planting seeds, and instilling compassion early so it can grow stronger over time.

This interview winds through so many points that not just military parents can relate to but also parents with children with disabilities. Her story of how she found yoga was a particular stand-out moment. It was impactful as Amber graduated from seminary school. Her description of hervtwo worlds and how they came together will stay with me. As a yoga teacher, I have also felt a pull between the two. Is it religion vs. yoga, or can it be religion and yoga? I have often experienced pushback from my classes or community (sometimes even myself) on this subject and found her insight incredibly powerful. Her way of navigating the stigma and helping students find the correlation between the two is quite profound. She discusses how compassion for self and others is common in her religious and yogic practices.

Her role as a mother to a child diagnosed with autism shows how she got to a place where she needed something to support her as a 24/7 caregiver. Her story of how she had to let go and grieve the loss of the mental image of what life would be with her son and how finding yoga during the storm of her life gave her the release she needed in mind, body, and spirit. I felt this part of the interview deeply, as I have witnessed parents work through the grief of letting go of an image of their child or a dream they had for their kids once a disability was diagnosed. I used to work in a school for children with physical and neurological disabilities of varying degrees, and the most challenging part was watching parents have to change the dream within themselves for their families. I also saw how parents with disabilities work considerably harder and how much support they need daily.

RELATED READING: Military Teen Shares 6 Tips for Parents Guiding Their Teens Through Military Life

Amber’s ability to find a place to connect with her breath and self was a beautiful story. I highly recommend you listen and feel inspired.

The Gen Z discussion is something all parents need to hear. It’s not pretty or comfortable, but the insight into how much harder it is for our pre-teens and teens today is something we all need to understand. Then, as military kids, we add the multiple relocations to the mix, and the stress is magnified tenfold. The takeaway for me was how she shared an idea to think back to yourself at your child’s age, see what you felt and were going through, then let your story go, and pause to listen to your child with a different perspective.

There is so much more to this interview; don’t miss hearing all this gold shared in the session.

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Joanne Holbrook is a mother of two and spouse to a United States Army Officer who has moved every two years for the past 18 years. She has lived and raised her family in South Africa, England, Germany, Australia, and across the United States, and is currently living in Hawaii. As a South African, combined with her world travels, including her 25 years of teaching in performing arts high schools, has allowed Joanne to observe culture and parenting from
multiple international perspectives.

She is the author of the four-time award-winning book “Your Passport To Parenting,” which has been translated into multiple languages, and a professional keynote speaker, parenting course creator, and facilitator who shares parenting stories to help build positive, values-based families worldwide.

Connect with Joanne: Social Media: Facebook Instagram LinkedIn TikTok

Sign up for her online course IGNITE – fire up your parenting spirit at


Day 1 – IWS23 Recap: Rediscover New Beginnings with Amanda Dodson, Doula
Day 1 – IWS23 Recap: Cultivating Empathy in Early Childhood with Shermaine Perry-Knights
Day 2 – IWS23 Recap: Parenting in Blended Families with Chaplain (LTC) Terrell Jones
Day 3 – IWS23 Recap: Adult Children and Extended Family Relationships with Corie Weathers, LPC

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