The start of 2021 has been very challenging with high numbers of CV19, a total lockdown and a return to home schooling. You’ve been overseeing lessons, whilst trying to carve out some time and space to do your own work. It’s been sooo relentless and tiring. And if the adults have been having a hard time imagine how difficult it’s been for kids, with less emotional maturity, to cope with challenge, change and loss. And that is exactly what the adults can teach them.
If that feels like an impossible thing to do right now remember you are not alone and that with the vaccine roll out, the drop in CV19 numbers and a provisional plan out of lockdown from the government, there is now at least some light at the end of the tunnel..
If Covid has taught us anything it has shown us that we are dependent on others for our wellbeing and that pulling together and asking for and giving help is what helps us to survive crises, and cope with everyday challenges. I’m delighted that The Parent Team are carrying on the legacy created by my business partner Camilla McGill and I back in 2004. The team are continuing with our model of evidence-based practices that help families thrive and are expanding their knowledge base all the time.
But back to you. You have no doubt felt plenty of frustration and maybe some resentment around the restrictions on your freedom (and perhaps seeing others not being so compliant). You may have felt anxious and powerless. Of course our children have all those feelings as well. Some are more prone to anxiety than others. About 15% of people have what’s been dubbed the ‘worrier’ gene which makes them more prone to feeling unsafe. You may have noticed differences between your own children or you and your partner.
Anxiety is closely linked to uncertainty so helping a child to feel more in control is part of the solution. Since there is much that we can’t control it’s important to focus on what we can do. Even after the pandemic has receded, our children will of course face adversity and we want them to not be overwhelmed by their negative feelings. It won’t work to try to push them away or ignore them and if children learn that uncomfortable feelings can’t be tolerated they can develop habits of distraction like disappearing into a virtual world or, in adulthood, numbing with alcohol or gambling or obsessive work habits. We want them to emerge from set-backs stronger and able to try again. This depends on them remaining optimistic and hopeful. Resilience is having the confidence that you can cope with what life throws at you, including emotions, and knowing that you have inner resources to deal with challenges.
Resilience and optimism aren’t just characteristics that your child has or does not have; they can be taught.
Here’s what you can do to help...
Here’s what to avoid...
We will come through this time, maybe stronger than before. It’s up to us how we respond to these troubles and what we teach our children in the process. See it as an opportunity. Focus on what you can do for your children, and reach out for support and advice when you need it!