If you feel like this new way of life is tough, you're not alone. It's been an extreme and sudden change. Now we are all working from home and it is hardto get away from each other. Everyone will handle it in their own way. So in this new world that we live in, our personal resilience needs to evolve to cater for the pace of the world change. Parents are having to navigate the uncertainty of their employment, become teachers overnight, manage the household 24/7 to a new level, work out the logistics of working from home, be the ideal partner, parent, caregiver, the list is endless…what comes with this terrain is a high level of stress, anxiety and overwhelm.
This is time for us to "hold the space" for our children until they are ready to do this themselves. So as this is a universal stressful time, here are my top 10 tips on how to navigate this terrain specifically over this self-isolation period!
NO JUDGMENT - It's important we remain neutral and suspend judgements and assumptions where our kids are concerned. Making mental judgements about our kids, rights or wrongs can limit your listening. It's about communicating acceptance which creates a high quality connection with each other.
LISTENING INTENTLY TO THEIR CONCERNS - This is a time when we can ask questions from different points of view. When we ask the question from the 1st person point of view, it is to serve our own agenda. When we ask them from the 2nd person point of view, we ask questions to understand the other person's perspectives and feelings from the inside. Create space for your child to speak into. This may involve just holding them or sitting quietly in the silence. Sometimes it isn't easy sitting in silence but creating a gap in the conversation gives time for your child to fill the silence.
APPRECIATION AND ENCOURAGEMENT - Be positive for them . Look for their strengths and find progress that confirms they are progressing. If that's a bit difficult, revisit their goals or remind them of their personal resources or look at other areas of their life when they have successfully overcome similar challenges.
EMPOWER THEM TO BELIEVE - They need to know that there is a bright vision ahead at some point. Ask them to use their own imagination. You can use a miracle question to help clarify what they want. "Imagine that while you are asleep tonight, a miracle happens. You wake up tomorrow and things are exactly as you want them to be. How would things be different? What would you notice first? What would other's notice?" . This empowers themselves to see their vision and future.
PUT YOURSELF IN THEIR SHOES - It's not about you. Everyone deals with things differently – as the adult you need to hold the space for them. If you find things coming up, put them aside for you to reflect on at a later date. Imagine what it is like in ‘their’ shoes and have compassion for what they are experiencing.
DON’T TRY AND FIX IT ON THEIR BEHALF - This is probably the hardest part as a parent. When we are watching someone in pain, especially someone close to us, we desperately want to fix it for them. Sometimes, they have to go through this pain to learn the lessons. Sometimes it isn't pretty but if you can see this as a good thing it gives you the strength to hold the space. You know they are building the resilience they need when life presents challenges.
BREATHE - Slow breathing helps you to remain relaxed. Use this to help the other person. Nice, slow deep breaths works wonder at times when one is feeling anxious, stressed, and overwhelmed.
PATIENCE – Up level your ability to have patience during this period. There's so much confusion and uncertainty and so many routines have been disrupted. Your patience sets the example for them now and gives them confidence that someone they love is steering their family ship.
BOUNDARIES – Given everyone in each other's space make ure you have firm boundaries in place. Try a family meeting to clarify discussions, give each person a chance to air their concerns. Setting expectations on boundaries helps to regulate conversations.
GET EXCITED – This can be a time of amazing family growth and bonding. We have time together and it can be so rewarding, if we choose to look at it this way. You can look to old fashioned family practices for ideas if you are running out of suggestions. Share family stories at night, have virtual family parties, do charades, play board games. These are just a few ideas but this is so open for your interpretation.
All these tips apply now in this rapidly changing world but they also apply for any time of stressful change and with any family member.
Your own resilience may be struggling to keep up too. Remember that your emotional well-being is just as important as your family members'. If you need support for yourself personally or your child needs support, now may be the time to consider developing your own mindset. Use this period to explore the facets of your life that are out of alignment. What we resisted, avoided before is now in the forefront. Healing maybe something to consider to recalibrate, deal with the fear, transition this period in a way that serves you and your kids. Feel free to reach out if you need support and take advantage of the 30 min free consultation to explore what could be possible….
With love and light,