Parenting during Challenging Times
Matt Larson, Youth Services Coordinator
Parenting is one of the toughest things that we do with our lives. Granted, some of us seem to be blessed with perfect children, who mind and please us with their witty humor; and wonder us with their skills of organization and general cleanliness. Meanwhile, most of us are being challenged by the reality that our children don’t possess these fairy tale traits 24 hours at a time now.
One day, matter a weeks ago, our parenting schedules took a major hit. To the point that the house-hold dysfunctions of old may be welcome dysfunctions for some of us now. Our children are requiring new levels of parenting in some cases; in others we are wondering how our children are still functioning as we see less and less of them somehow. The spaces within our lives are seemingly shrinking by the day. The narrow and confined social interactions we have are grinding away at our relationships, disrupting what may have been peaceful parenting.
So, we find ourselves challenged. We are mastering homeschooling and possibly working from home at the same time; and we have to navigate this with another adult! This might be in the same home or between multiple homes in our children’s lives. Yes, these struggles are impacting both shared-home and multi-home co-parents. Sharing the responsibilities of nourishing our children, their health and education with their other adults is becoming a major point of frustration in all types co-parenting.
You may feel that decisions are being made for the well-being of your children without you. That you are expected to trust that our parent partners are taking the proper caution during these unprecedented times. All of this may be pushing your anxieties to the max. This may be making it so you can’t envision sending your child to another house during shelter in place. Or, on the other hand are the over the top precautions making it so you think it’s safe to do just about whatever you want? These philosophical differences may be impacting your visitation. Maybe you are not seeing your children as often as you had scheduled, or maybe more often than you feel you can handle.
Setting the challenges of the current situations aside so we can appreciate the moments we do have with our children remains important. Demonstrating how we can compromise through the challenges of COVID-19 are rising to the top. Some of these compromises may include visiting with our children via Zoom or FaceTime to provide some of these moments, or dropping off an activity so they can occupy some of their time during the shelter at home order. These compromises have the possibility of being the toughest compromises a parent may make. No matter what side of all of this you fall upon, you are not alone. Separated parents, step parents, parents living together, and extended family are impacted. Missed parenting time during this crisis can be made up, and the fragile relationships with our parenting partners will take time and effort to heal.
Remember, we always act as a beacon for our children. We are examples of how to function in a community; and here we are, at this pivotal point where our children’s community has abruptly changed. We are now able to demonstrate our skills of adaptation. We are actively involved and incredibly vital in how our children’s community can remain functional through turmoil.
So. parents, keep talking, compose emails to each other so you can express your views, and avoid blasts of emotional fodder. Recognize your differences and be prepared to make amends on the other end of all of this. Reach out to the services available in to you, and be prepared for uncertainty.