Parenting during Shelter-in-Place
Hoping you are managing and staying healthy. These are such challenging times, especially for parents of young children. I often wonder how you do it.
When stress is high, anger and frustration are right around the corner. And currently there is a lot to feel anxious about.
There are so many opportunities for the needs of parents and kids to be in conflict. Kids want attention, parents have to work. Kids want to talk and run around outside, parents want quiet and being outside is currently complicated. No wonder there is struggle.
As adults we are going to lose it sometimes, respond in ways that aren’t kind or patient. If managing our frustration is something we struggled with before, it is going to be harder now. Ideally we learn skills when the stressors are not too high, so there can be a sense of making progress. Unfortunately, circumstances are not helping here.
So how to cope?
Try to accept everyone’s feelings. Kids are frustrated, and parents are too. Remember that beneath each feeling is a need. When we find the needs, we can understand why people feel the way they do.
When the methods you have learned for managing your frustration are not enough to put the brakes on, be gentle with yourself. We all make mistakes. We need self-forgiveness now more than ever. It is only useful to feel badly long enough to let the lesson sink in, then it is time to move on. Try to reflect on what triggered you, and how you could respond differently in future.
Below are steps for making an apology to heal the rupture in connection. You model what to do when someone messes up, so kids learn how to apologize, as they make mistakes too.
Please be kind to yourself and may you and your families stay safe and healthy.
How to Apologize
- Wait till you feel calm enough and mean it when you say you are sorry.
- State what behavior you regret. “I am sorry for yelling at you earlier this morning”.
- Pause. Never say “but” after an apology, it diminishes the message you are trying to convey.
- Allow the other person to say something back to you about how it made them feel.
- Take this in (without judging yourself) and acknowledge the pain/discomfort the other person felt as a result of your action. “I am sorry, it scares you when I yell.”
- Pause, in case the other has something more to say. Say something about why you got mad. “When you do …, I feel …” Perhaps explain by stating the need that is under the feeling.
- How can we do better? What could we do differently next time? “I am going to try to take better care of myself so I am not so on edge”. How could you do better?
- State your agreement as far as what you will each try to do to avoid anger and hurt feelings in future.
My whole practice is currently online (via HIPAA compliant zoom or by phone), for individual counseling and groups. I am offering online groups for mothers wanting support during shelter-in-place:
Mindful Moms Group
This can be a continuation course for those who have taken the first series in “Anger & Stress Management”, or is open to other moms.
We will use the book “Raising Good Humans: A Mindful Guide to Breaking the Cycle of Reactive Parenting and Raising, Kind, Confident Kids,” by Hunter Clarke-Fields. The group is discussion based. The structure is: brief check in; talk about current challenges, or share what you have been trying that is working better; an educational piece where I go over the main points of a chapter for about 10-15 min; any discussion of the material if people want, or further sharing, or questions and discussion. Reading of a chapter of the book in between sessions is suggested but not required.
If this is of interest, please let me know, and your availability.
Cost is at the rate of $400 for the series. Sliding scale if the fee could create a hardship.
Anger & Stress Management for Mothers
This is an educational 8 session series with room for discussion. Currently being organized, please inquire about dates/times.