Fellow parents, our new reality of chronic stress and isolation due to the pandemic calls for new parenting approaches.
New approaches could be novel or modified ways of being, which stem from thoughtful reflection, rather than actions without a clear purpose. Please notice my emphasis on BEING, rather than DOING.
We are spending more time with our children and play new roles for them…beyond that of home-based teacher. These opportunities are revealing aspects of children and their needs that perhaps their teachers/coaches/sitters/friends formerly knew better. In addition, our children’s needs are changing, along with the world that is changing around them.
Are we making the most of this opportunity for re-invention?
Let’s be honest. We did not choose these circumstances. Yet, we can choose HOW we want to BE in these circumstances. A couple of choices are in my mind: either we survive through this indefinite time as best as we can; or we choose to BE in every moment as consciously as we can, guided by mindful reflection.
I invite you to reflect with the following prompts:
- During these difficult times, what have I learned about my child’s personal preferences, strengths, academic skills, and ability to cope with emotions?
- Based on my better understanding of my child, how has our family been able to support the child’s preferences, strengths, academic needs, and ability to cope with emotions?
- Do we the parents/care takers have the skills, energy and time to respond to the needs of our child/ren? Caveat: It would not be fair/realistic to expect ourselves or parents in general to have all of the above.
- Could our family benefit from the help of others (relatives, tutors, sitters, therapists, coaches, etc.) for better responding to our children’s needs?
Having these reflections in mind can help us to be more sensitive with our children, more compassionate with our shortcomings, and more proactive in seeking support.
I share here my adaptation of the Serenity Prayer for parents:
May I have serenity
to accept that I cannot
change who my child is,
courage to adjust my parenting as I am able,
and wisdom to know the difference.
Dr. Diana Bermudez © 2020
Based on Karl Niebuhr’s Serenity Prayer