Of course, we’re scared. That means it’s time to be gentle and compassionate with ourselves and others.
Can you imagine how scared our kids are? Their routines have been disrupted and they miss their teachers and friends. They have less control over their lives than we do!
We have a special opportunity here to demonstrate how to deal with stress or what to do when we are overwhelmed and need to ask for help. This situation could actually build resilience skills in our kids.
Emotional connection in our relationships eases fear and anxiety. Here are some practical hints that may create an environment for connection:
1.) Set up routines.
Set flexible routines as quickly as possible since dependable order can facilitate a sense of calm.
2.) Be realistic about homeschooling.
It is not intended to substitute for school. It does not need to be the equivalent of an 8-hour day. The role of teaching or even supportive home learning packages should not be allowed to become primary in your relationship with your child. You are parent first, resource teacher second.
3.) Invite your teen to get back to nature.
The natural world is the best antidote for isolation and can prevent depression.
Choice-making is the antidote to feeling trapped and powerless. Give tweens and teens as much control or agency in their lives as possible. If they can exercise healthy control over their own lives, they will feel better.
– What type of pizza should we order for the family?
– Which chore do you want to contribute today?
– Maybe we should get out of ourselves and help the older neighbors. What do you think about mowing their lawn?
5.) Connection eases fear and anxiety.
You can ease their fear through connection. Try engaging them with open-ended questions or statements of invitation to check in with your kids about how they are doing.
Here are a few to try:
– How do you feel about your school closing?
– What do you miss doing with your friends?
– I know you’ve heard the news about the virus, what do you think about it all?
If you are worried about the way your tweens and teens are responding to recent events and you need help dealing with it as we all do from time to time, reach out for support. There are many more things you can both do to ease anxiety and one of them is to work with seek supportive resources and work with a coach.
Editor’s note: This article has been edited for length. To read the full story, click here or make sure to grab a copy of the April 3–9, 2020 issue of the NEWS.