Originally published in the Times of Israel
Uncertainty has become the norm.
The recommended first step in dealing with uncertainty is to identify and latch on to what is certain. Well, there’s nothing more constant or certain in our lives than home and family. It’s a ‘given’. Sometimes even taken for granted. That’s exactly where corona has taken us. Corona has brought us home. That’s the only place where we’re safe. It’s our shelter. Home is the basic. It’s the source. Nowadays we find ourselves in what is probably the most intense home/family situation we’ve ever experienced.
It’s new, it’s intense, and…it’s doable.
I’ve compiled some food for thought that could give you new insights re lockdown with the kids. As opposed to other food that you’ve probably been consuming in the past couple of weeks, you won’t gain weight from this, and you’ll be saving energy as well!
- GUILT: Parents thrive on guilt. No need to find a reason. Guilt has a way of finding you on its own. It’s a bit like corona. Very viral and makes you weak; especially re confidence in parenting. Don’t let it in the house!!
- CONTROL A: You can’t control other people. Not even your children. Odds are they know exactly what they should be doing at any given time of the day. If you think that you have to remind them a thousand times, think again. That could save a lot of energy.
CONTROL B: The good news is that you are in complete control of your behavior. No need to be drawn into issues that you would rather avoid.
- BELONGING: Lockup at home inevitably helps the child internalize that he is a part of, and belongs to something bigger. It may be new to him/her that the world doesn’t revolve around him/her. More good news: He/she can deal with it.
- SIMPLICITY: Everything’s going back to simplicity. The simplicity of parenting as well. Remove the terms and conditions to being a ‘good parent’. Get rid of the guilt (I know I mentioned it already, doesn’t hurt to say it again). You are the parent. No doubt you’re doing your best.
- CONSIDERATION of ELDERS: Now it’s the elders who are looked out for. They are most vulnerable and are first priority. We’re back to the basic structure of the family where parents and elders are in the lead and children follow. This could be just what the world has been waiting for…
- RESILIENCE: Children have a strong immune system. They are hardly contracting coronavirus. More good news: their resilience is not only physical. It’s emotional as well, despite what we are told time and again. They bounce back quickly. What we often perceive as trauma could be an adventure for them. BTW they reflect what we’re feeling. That’s not to blame you. Just to help you relax/save energy.
- PERSPECTIVE: Relating to the group as a whole could help you avoid volatile (and unnecessary) issues with an individual child. It’s not that you’re ignoring the child. You’re just ignoring the issue. At any rate you probably noticed that being in lockdown puts everything into different perspective.
- RELY AND EXPECT: Rely on your kids. Expect more from them. Great time to try out issues that you never thought they could handle. You may not even be surprised because deep down you know they have it in them!
- RELAY RESPONSIBILITY: If reminding, cajoling, bribing, threatening and worrying about issues that aren’t your responsibility are getting you nowhere fast then check what your responsibility is, and let go of what isn’t. It’s not that you’re compromising on your principles and values. You’re just letting your children take responsibility for what’s theirs (i.e. getting up, going to sleep, brushing teeth, taking a shower, schoolwork, etc.). They can handle it.
- IMMUNE SYSTEM: Avoiding undue waste of energy and stress boosts your immune system. That’s the best thing you can do for yourself and your kids.