In the last post, Meagan gave us a terrific piece about the impact of the pandemic on many marriages, with some practical advice about how we can strengthen our relationships during this time. In considering the whole family, I wanted to follow up on that and talk about parenting in the time of COVID. As we know, we have been experiencing this different way of life for about a year now. While there are some encouraging signs that we may soon start getting back to a little more normalcy, it is likely that we are just scratching the surface of understanding the impact that the pandemic has had on our children.
Predictability is a stabilizing force for kids and teens. The uncertainty of the pandemic has altered our ability as parents to provide this in many ways. Circumstances have changed over and over again, and it has been hard to settle into any kind of routine. The isolation from peers and family, uncertainty, missed milestones, loss of activities, as well as anxiety about health have taken its toll. For some young people, the pandemic may have exacerbated mental health needs that were already present. For others, especially those with social anxiety, being at home and online schooling may be a temporary relief to their anxiety, but this is not a long-term solution and may result in increased difficulty as they return to school and other aspects of life.
Here are a few ways that we can support our kids and teens as we continue to navigate the pandemic, and as we look ahead to getting back to a more familiar way of life.
Laura Dempsey is a licensed social worker and therapist with nearly 20 years of experience counseling children and families.