3 Tips To Help With Pandemic Parenting
Updated: Oct 15
I know that the return to in-school learning has been tough for a lot of people, but I must say that I have seen an amazing amount of determination and resolve coming from parents during this time.
I mean, what parent would have imagined a year ago that they’d be disinfecting their kids’ backpack every night, creating a daily mask rotation for the laundry, or having to explain what a pandemic is to a 5 year old?
Parenting sometimes boils down to being able to adapt 5 minutes quicker than our little ones. In those few minutes, we are called to process hard truths and swallow hard before modelling calmness and stability for our kids.
Great job at holding the fort thus far parents.
With that in mind, I'd like to share 3 postures that we can all assume as we help guide our kids through this unique time.
1. Give Your Kids The Benefit Of The Doubt
One constant in life is that most people will tend to give themselves the benefit of the doubt in almost any situation. Think about it. We know our own intentions. We know our own motives. And we are often quick to show ourselves grace if we make a misstep.
Good rule of life: We should always assume the same posture with our kids.
Yes, they can be frustrating. And yes, they can be immature. But remember...we are in a pandemic which has got everyone on edge.
Give them the room to have a bad day. Give them the space to vent without talking back or correcting them. And give them a day off from routine or responsibility if that's what they need.
Your kids are just as human as you are, and there will be days during this crazy time when they need the same space and benefit of the doubt that you do.
2. Be A Champion Of Your Kids
A common phrase I hear from adults as they describe their parents' posture toward them is, 'I knew they loved me, but there was a sense that they weren't fully on my side.' What these people are essentially saying is their parents weren't champions of him. They didn't stand beside them, cheering on their goals, their dreams, or their point of view.
In short, there was love...but no true understanding.
Being a champion of your kids doesn't mean you have to be dishonest or allow them to run roughshod over their lives. Instead, being a champion of your kids means...
- believing them
- trusting them
- defending them
- honouring them
- presuming the best about them
Some of us have gotten used to considering our kids as somehow being lesser people whose words, attitudes and actions are to be tolerated rather than embraced. When this occurs, it's not a victimless posture. Our kids WILL feel it when this happens, and many will grow up yearning for their parents to be in their corner, championing them, when others won't.
3. Be Authentic With Your Kids
One of the most perplexing and potentially damaging things kids can experience is having to navigate unspoken secrets during their upbringing. At the end of the day, kids are tough, perceptive, and ultimately understanding.
So, let them in (within boundaries of course).
If you're sad because your aunt passed away, share that with your kids. If you're feeling bad about losing your cool and blowing your top, apologize to them. And, if you're job sucks and you're looking at other options, let them know.
Being authentic doesn't mean providing your kids with every scary detail of your life. It means opening the door to your emotional self so they can see your processing and be presented with a proper model for how to cope with ups and downs while being open and authentic themselves.