I can still remember the complex mix of emotions I felt after having my son, who is now 3. The love, adoration, and awesome responsibility of having this tiny human in our lives was overwhelming. That responsibility in the beginning at times manifested as fear. I still remember wondering why on earth anyone would trust me with this perfect tiny person… Surely there are more “adult like” adults around to take better, more perfect, care of him?
I also remember thinking to myself, wow, if I am feeling this way as a person with decades of childcare experience plus a doctorate degree which I use daily to work with children, parents, and families… This is a crazy parenting world I am entering. I remember reflecting on parenting culture prior to having a child myself and having some semblance of understanding of the intense pressure on parents. But man it sure sank in once I had our son and felt the intensity of the weight of the pressure on parents myself.
This pandemic has been, for me, most similar to either my very raw and emotional teen years or my new motherhood months. I have felt so much more aware of the responsibility I have of keeping my son safe but also keenly aware of his development and how each and every choice we make impacts him. It has been emotionally overwhelming at times and it has become easy to fall into the trap of thinking that someone out there must have the answers of how we get through this and protect our children from harm at all costs.
I can recognize now the fear and sincere worry for his well being that has been underneath all of this. I also am the first person to say that parenting from fear is truly never the way to go. Our fears, particularly during a pandemic, need to be recognized, acknowledged, and then given the energy that is warranted. But no, we can’t live in the fear and we certainly don’t want our kids to either. This brings up the question, if keeping my entire family home in a bubble is not the thing to do, what should I try to do instead?
This brings up an even bigger question for parents, what do our children really need from us, particularly now in a pandemic?
What all of this boils down to is that our kids need a parent who is emotionally connected and attuned to their experience to help them get through this situation as best we can. We need to help them feel safe and secure while not doing things we would normally do and this can be accomplished simply if we have released our own fears about “what if” and “what could be” and just live in the moment with them. We need to let ourselves know that, now more than ever, they just need us. They don’t need some different, more perfect version of us that can somehow fix all of this for them, they just need US. Our messy, emotional, challenged, tired selves.
I am a big believer in the idea that there are no perfect parents but even more so now. None of us will weather this storm making perfect decisions and preventing every challenge. It is just not possible. All we can do is emotionally meet as many of our kids’ needs as possible and ride this out together.
I have been enjoying a few podcasts recently that I wanted to mention here for any of our readers who are looking for more support in an audio version!
Janet Lansbury - Unruffled
Ask Lisa - The Psychology of Parenting
Both of these present helpful parenting tips and tools while also understanding that parents are human and going to struggle, especially right now. This is a tough world to live in as a parent and we can only take it one day at a time right now.
If you or your loved ones would like more support, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us at Thrive! We have space for a few new clients and would love for that to be you!
At Thrive, we take a positive, client centered approach to therapy that is focused on creating a genuine connection with our clients. If you would like to talk with a Thrive Therapist about yourself, your child, or teen attending therapy via video sessions, please reach out to us by phone at 858-342-1304.
As always, thanks for reading and comments are always welcome regarding any issues around child or teen psychotherapy services in San Diego by Thrive Therapy Studio.
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"Watch your thoughts,
They become words.
Watch your words,
They become actions.
Watch your actions,
They become habits.
Watch your habits,
They become character;
It becomes your destiny."