27 August 2020

Parenting Ideas Insights

Parenting Ideas Insights

Staying the course in COVID times

COVID-19 continues to test us in ways that were unimaginable at the start of 2020. It’s becoming the defining event of this generation and a reference point for decades to come. We’ve had depression kids, war kids and now we have COVID-19 kids.

The impact of COVID-19 is felt di erently across the country. Currently, Victoria is in Stage 4 lockdown while other states are on high alert. Not every student is working from home, but most students are COVID conscious, knowing that they’re only a corona cough or virus-filled hug away from remote learning.

Encouraging kids to stay the course when they’ve been denied access to the classroom, peers and community activities is now a common parenting challenge. Denial is generally tolerable in the short term, but the novelty of changed circumstances soon wears off. The following strategies will assist both parents and kids to stay the COVID long course:

Accept difficult emotions

‘There’s nothing so bad that we can’t talk about, but there are behaviours that we won’t accept’ is a mantra that serves families well. It’s okay for children to feel frustrated, annoyed, angry or upset about their change of circumstances due to the pandemic but that doesn’t give them permission to behave disrespectfully, miss school requirements or fail to assist at home. It helps if parents validate how their children feel, then encourage them to focus on fulfilling school and family expectations.

Encourage acceptance

Some children and young people will protest the COVID induced changes that have been imposed upon them. In some respects, it may be admirable for children to push for a better deal, but the severity of the COVID-19 pandemic means that the individual needs to bend toward the greater community good. This is simply a case of accepting and making the best of the situation at hand.

Take it one day and week at a time

On family bush walks my young children would rarely complain when the tracks were windy. The complaint levels rose when paths were long and straight as the finish line seemed such a long way o . In a similar vein during our current times it’s smart to keep kids focused on getting through each day and week rather than look too far ahead. Six weeks of Stage 4 may seem intolerable, so it’s better to focus on getting through each day and week.

Be the hope person

Help children and young people understand that they will get through di icult times. “This too shall pass” is perhaps the most apt meme for our times. If your hope bucket is emptying out, seek out positive friends and relatives who can top it up. Our own resilience needs nurturing if we are to last the distance.

The internal parenting manual that guides us probably doesn’t include chapters dealing with remote learning, lack of peer interaction and kids’ disappointment. Most of us are treading new parenting ground so it’s best to be open to change, accepting of difficulties and forgiving of inevitable parenting stumbles.

Michael Grose

Michael Grose, founder of Parenting Ideas, is one of Australia’s leading parenting educators. He’s the author of 10 books for parents including Thriving! and the bestselling Why First Borns Rule the World and Last Borns Want to Change It, and his latest release Spoonfed Generation: How to raise independent children.