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Coronavirus Parenting Getting You Down? Get This One Thing Right, and Your Kids Will Be OK

Coronavirus Parenting Getting You Down? Get This One Thing Right, and Your Kids Will Be OK
Whether your kids are older teens (like mine), toddlers, or somewhere in between, it hasn’t been easy to keep our kids on track amidst so many other obligations and uncertainty. We’re likely not on our A+ game these days, and neither are our kids.
It can help to remember your best might not be what you’re used to, but is still exactly what you and your family need. Not some pie-in-the-sky best. Your true best. The type of “best” you know in your gut is what you’re comfortable with.
Remember, the goal is to survive these tough times with our emotional and physical health in tact. Parents need only to tune in to what’s most important - growing through this together.
Not sure what that looks like? Aim to keep these two goals in mind:
  1. Let your kids know they’re loved and cared for. This is #1, eclipsing any fear of kids getting behind in their school assignments. Say it, show it, live it. With compassion, listening, and attention, show your children they matter, you are there for them, and they are not alone no matter what. Hug your kids, laugh with them, look them in the eye and tell them they matter. Even if you don’t think you need to, take the risk and tell them. They need to hear it. And we need to say it. Nothing is more important for their emotional health and resilience.
  2.  Talk honestly about emotions. Ask your kids how they feel about what’s going on these days; their home lessons, not seeing friends, mostly staying in. Encouraging them to speak about their experience shows them you care about their inner souls, and paves the way for them to value and cope with their emotions now, and into their future. In the world of psychology, this is called “name it, tame it.” If you name the feeling, you can tame the feeling. As kids practice expressing their feelings in a safe and supportive environment, they lay down coping skills they can draw on the rest of their lives.
When we give ourselves a break, we give ourselves permission to do what feels best for our families. Easing up is a powerful way to model love and compassion, and a stealthy tool to counteract the anxiety that seems to creep in from everywhere.
Compassion also helps maintain the emotional resilience we need. Kids don’t need much more than knowing they are loved, and they can handle what life is doling out these days.
It is fitting that this weekend we celebrate mothers; our caretakers who have kept us feeling safe, special, and loved. Our gratitude and full hearts help keep us strong, and allow us to pass it on. Thank you.
May this Mother’s Day weekend bring permission to pause, reflect, and rebalance wherever you need to. Wishing you and your families a beautiful weekend.
Warmly,
Alicia

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Alicia H Clark PsyD Wellness Digest

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Alicia H. Clark, PsyD, PLLC, 1350 Connecticut Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20036