When a friend's child is battling an illness, we want to show them we care—but Jimmy Kimmel notes from experience we may want to reconsider the well-meaning question, “How is she doing?"

As Kimmel said in a recent interview with The New York Times, constant requests for medical updates can rip open the wound of grief if a child's prognosis isn't good.

In the interview, Jimmy Kimmel opened up about the public outpouring of support since he revealed his young son's congenital heart disorder. As the late-night host disclosed in a moving monologue last spring, little Billy Kimmel had emergency open-heart surgery as a newborn. Now, Kimmel people constantly ask about baby Billy's health.

“But thank God I can say he's doing well. If that wasn't the case, each day would be very, very painful," Kimmel says, adding Billy likely won't need another surgery until he's at least 8 years old.

But many families aren't so lucky: Congenital malformations, like Billy's heart issue, along with congenital deformations and chromosomal abnormalities are the leading cause of death for infants, and the second leading cause of death (following accidents) in kids between 1 and 4 years old, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

This means that for a lot of families, constant questions about a child's health are constant reminders of the worst possible thing any parent can imagine. Of course parents want to talk about their kids, but they may not want to talk about the illness all the time.

Kimmel's comments remind us that maybe we should be asking about the child—not his or her illness.

Questions about a child's interests, pastimes and personality are ways we can show friends we recognize that their child is not defined by an illness.

As Kimmel notes, all the questions about his son's health are well-meaning and appreciated. But, in retrospect, he wonders if he should have shared so much with the television audience. “What I didn't think through was that, everywhere I went, every day of my life, people would be asking me how my son is doing."

It's a question those of us whose kids are among the 84.8% the CDC considers to be in good or excellent health take for granted. If a friend or family member's child is among the other 15% of kids, they're likely aware of that almost all the time and don't need a reminder.

Instead, consider asking them how they are doing—or even if they caught Jimmy Kimmel last night. When we're dealing with big issues, sometimes small talk is easier than the obvious questions.

Having a newborn is challenging at the best of times, but during forced isolation and in a climate of fear and uncertainty, it can become overwhelming.

The coronavirus pandemic is setting up our communities for genuine mental health concerns. This may be especially true for new parents. When will 'normal' life return? How will I pay for diapers and baby food? Will my mom be able to help us now? What if my baby or my family get COVID-19? Unfortunately, no one knows the long-term impact or answers just yet.

Most families have built a network of social support by the time they have their first child—if they don't already have a support system, they develop one through various baby classes and groups set up for parents. The creation of the village can be instrumental to the mental health of new parents. Social distancing, the lockdown of cities, and isolation will inadvertently affect the type of support available.

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Raising a mentally strong kid doesn't mean he won't cry when he's sad or that he won't fail sometimes. Mental strength won't make your child immune to hardship—but it also won't cause him to suppress his emotions.

In fact, it's quite the opposite. Mental strength is what helps kids bounce back from setbacks. It gives them the strength to keep going, even when they're plagued with self-doubt. A strong mental muscle is the key to helping kids reach their greatest potential in life.

But raising a mentally strong kid requires parents to avoid the common yet unhealthy parenting practices that rob kids of mental strength. In my book, 13 Things Mentally Strong Parents Don't Do, I identify 13 things to avoid if you want to raise a mentally strong kid equipped to tackle life's toughest challenges:

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