Holy Smokes! Over the last few weeks, we have experienced radical changes that have turned our routine upside down and inside out. Most notably, our work and school routines have been disrupted. Parents and kids alike, are learning to do their work from online platforms.
Our wonderful educators are working around the clock to put together online lessons and problem solve a myriad of class and school related challenges. A friend, who is a lead admin in a local school district, said that adjusting their curriculum at this point in the year is sort of like building a plane while trying to fly it!
A good number of parents have set up make shift home offices. Many are learning to ZOOM the cyber highway to join meetings only to find that you forgot to press your mute button as you sighed, ‘Not another one of THESEmeetings…!”
Undoubtedly, most of us are being pushed out of our comfort zone to adjust and adapt in unusual ways. In the midst of all these changes, parents are also tasked with the challenge of having their kids home all day while also having to work. How we view challenging situations has a lot to do with how we cope.
For many kids, their lives have been disrupted in multiple ways. They miss seeing their friends, playing freeze tag at recess, and sports. Their activities like prom and graduation have been cancelled. There is a sense of loss that goes along with the current disruption. You are likely experiencing a similar disruption with friends, family, activities, and events.
‘A Both … And Perspective’: Establishing a Healthy Mindset to Adapt
Our current times provide both an opportunity anda challenge. Think for a moment on the many unforeseen obstacles and difficulties you have navigated as a family. Challenges can help us build resilience, which gives us the mettle to endure and persevere. It helps us build a sense of ‘Family Grit.’ Believe it or not, it is during these times when meaningful family memories are made – hidden within the challenges are camouflaged opportunities.
Within this spirit, let my invite you to embrace a ‘both … and’ perspective as a way to adjust to your current challenging situation. The ‘both … and’ perspective is an important part to effective coping. This way of thinking allows you to bothvalidate the difficulty of your current situation andempower you to identify healthy ways of managing and handling it. You are less likely to feel like a victim of circumstance, but rather one who actively problem solves to navigate such circumstances. Modeling this for your children can teach them healthy coping skills.
As parents, we can validate how unsettling the current situation is, while simultaneously teaching our kids that adjusting to unforeseen circumstances is part of life. This perspective allows you to be genuine and authentic in acknowledging your child’s emotions and perspective while also inviting them to grow from the adverse life circumstances they encounter.
Please know that a healthy mindset should not be confused with a 24-hour smile and bubbly, joyful mood. Rather, a healthy mindset is one that is attuned to and validates strain, hardship and stress AND promotes coping and living through it in healthy and values grounded ways. It implies a balance – validating the challenge AND seeing the opportunity to grow from it
So, before we discuss specific ‘Quarantine Parenting’ strategies, the first step is to establish a healthy mindset. Practicing a ‘both … and perspective’ helps you develop such a mindset.
The topics for the next Four Blogs will be: 1) Developing Your Quarantine Parenting Plan; 2) Using the 5 C’s to Make Your Plan Successful; 3) Using Challenges as Opportunities to Teach and Grow Values and Character within Your Children; 4) Productive Conflict and Mistake Management.