Thoughtful Parenting: Stepping back to find perspective
As we “emerge” from COVID lockdowns and restrictions, we have forgotten to mindfully emerge from technology and the past.
Kids are stressed out full of anxiety, or tapped out, collapsing into what looks like depression. During the first part of COVID, we locked the stress into our bodies as we endured isolation and shifted work and school to technology. With hybrid models of learning we slowly emerged, but the increase in transitions and new schedules stretched our children’s ability to adapt. Being in school full-time has increased the pressure to catch up and return to “business as usual” before COVID. Children with any learning differences, ADHD, or emotional challenges before COVID, are now emerging letting us know that their tools have been stretched beyond what they can do alone.
The same is true for families. Pre-COVID challenges in relationships, partnerships, or marriages grew with the pressures and changes of a global pandemic. It’s easy to get scared when we look at the challenging behaviors and worrying emotions that our children express, especially if our own pains or challenges are triggered. When our pain is triggered, we urgently want to fix things.
As I step back and see my clients with compassion, I am grateful. Every emotion and behavior has a function. I am grateful that the intensity of the pandemic has put pressure on us to allow the unhealed parts of ourselves to surface so they can be seen and healed. Our children, and our own bodies, are asking us to connect on deeper levels to find resiliency.
Everyone intuitively has the skills for healing. Some of us need a therapist to help us learn how to do it, and some of us just need a friend to connect with as we practice. Our children are asking us to:
- Put down our technology (cell phone, remote, computer)
- Take a deep breath in and audibly let it out
- Notice sensations in the body (imagine it is energy inside of us)
- Move the energy in the body to wake it up or calm it down
- Look at your child in the eyes without needing to fix them or help them
- Take a deep breath again and give them a hug
At the end of the day, we all need someone to say, “I see you, and I’m here.” That is what creates healing and resiliency.
Sophie Berkley, LPC RPT-S specializes in working with children, adolescents, and families. For more information visit http://www.sophieberkley.com.
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