We are our kids most important role model and they will probably remember this pandemic stay-at-home time for the rest of their lives. It’s a unique opportunity for us to demonstrate:
- Calm, thoughtful responses to all the challenges and frustrations we encounter.
- Great conflict management skills with our co-parent and others:
- respectful listening
- sharing our point of view
- arriving at a shared understanding
- Creativity and discipline in managing our own time and helping our kids manage their time.
- Constructive responses to fear and uncertainty:
- reminding and demonstrating for our kids that information is the antidote to fear by reading and viewing reliable sources of info (not Joe on facebook).
- assessing needs and planning to fill them rather than acting on fear-driven impulses (going to the grocery store with a carefully planned list instead of hoarding toilet paper).
- talking openly about our concerns and about how we’re managing them.
- The value we place on togetherness by playing board games, learning crafts together, learning together to play musical instruments or a new language.
- Our attention to the difference between things we can control and things we can’t control by showing how important it is to devote energy and time only to those things that we have some control over, not wasting energy and time caught up in frustration.
- Constructive, thoughtful responses to official public health guidelines.
Monica McGoldrick, my family therapy mentor, once said that she advises parents to ask themselves, “How do you want your kids to remember you and the things they learned from you 20 years from now?” Her question has never been more important.