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Serenity Now!

Is it possible we had a honeymoon period in a pandemic?

If social media can be believed at all, in the first weeks, those privileged to not be dealing with lost jobs or family members contracting Covid-19 could creatively and with the best of intentions devise neighborhood socially distanced diversions and feel-good moments for our friends and neighbors. We cheered each other, left wine and care packages at each others' doorsteps and sang songs from balconies. We joked about day-drinking and 24/7 yoga pants, and stalked Pinterest for activities for little ones when spring break turned into the longest summer vacation ever.

Then sometime around June we realized even as we started seeing some loosening of restrictions that this was going to be our reality for the foreseeable future - and the Pollyanna Positivity kind of stopped. We grew tired and touched out, fearful and frustrated . . . and parenting just kept getting harder and harder. Maybe you started watching the clock wishing for bedtime; or you heard yourself mirroring your teen's sarcastic tone and snarky comments, or perhaps sending the kids to their rooms became more bout you taking a five minute break from the noise than anything else.

Be gentle with yourself.

It is true that we, not our children, are responsible for the quality of the parent/child relationship.

Also true; we are all digging deep to manage day-to-day decisions and demands on us that none of us could have anticipated before March 2020. Parents working from home, single

parents and parents of school-aged children especially are trying to walk a tightrope in the wind. Uncertainty is a key driver of anxiety. It takes a lot of coping energy just to maintain some sense of normalcy.

Fatigue comes from many sources besides lack of sleep. Goodness knows parents get precious little of that as it is, but emotional fatigue due to stress is just as real. Breakdowns in our ability to control our own emotions are bound to happen, even under the best circumstances. When parents are coping with isolation and anxiety about schooling, income instability, the social and political climate and a host of other pandemic-related worries on top of the normal stresses of raising a family, yelling happens. Threats and shaming language come flying out of our mouths like marbles from a Chinese Checkers game toddler-flung to the floor of the toy aisle at Target.

Regardless of age, there are two key factors or skills that determine how those breakdowns affect a child.

1) how the adult manages and expresses their feelings during the episode, and

2) how the adult re-approaches the child afterward to repair the breach.

Resolving to do better, asking for help from family, and memorizing affirmations or go-to phrases are a good start. Do not be too hard on yourself, though, if you find that it is really hard to tap into those strategies during highly emotional moments when your sweet angel is stomping on your last nerve.

Although we may have lost a little of that "we're all in this together" feeling of early Spring, you do not have to face this challenge alone. You still have a "village".

The support of a parenting coach who works directly with you may be helpful in identifying and understanding the sources of these breakdowns and in developing responses that are respectful, compassionate and authentic.

Wisdom Season Parenting is committed to strengthening both your confidence as a parent and your relationship with your child by providing the support you need; right where you are, just when you need it most. Click on the Services Link or call/email and together we will find an approach that works for you and your family.

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