Parenting During Covid
Parenting in the best of times is an incredibly wonderful, yet challenging job. Sleepless nights;
waiting up for a teenager on a date; wrestling a Toddler into a bath, are all part of being a parent. Charging into the fray comes a worldwide pandemic. Who knew? Who could predict or plan for such a swift change in almost everything of modern life, including parenting.
Families face several stresses causally related to COVID-19 restrictions. Job stress; school stress; health stress; masking stress; isolation stress as well as a combative election and riots in the streets. How does a parent stay mindful of the news and restrictions yet remain in the peace of God's promises? Psalm 39:19 reminds us that afflictions have always been with us "many are the afflictions of the righteous" and that we have the answer "the Lord delivers him out of them all." Can we, who have rarely had to face so much change in such a short amount of time, stand firm in gratitude and a joyful heart that Jesus will prevail? How can we stand strong in faith before our family and resist the stress of so much? Carol Cuppy writes in her article, Turtle Time: Mental Health Breaks during Coronavirus, “Parenting is by far the hardest job any of us will ever have but it is also the most wonderful." She calls it the "hardest job you'll ever love”.
In relation to the pandemic stresses, she has some helpful coping skills we can adopt. She asks us to consider a turtle. The turtle sometimes faces danger, and his shell protects him, and he goes about his life. Other times there is a stronger danger sensed and the turtle pulls his head into his shell or flips completely over and requires help righting himself. In a family situation, each member of the family may be reacting to the present danger in their own "turtle response". Her advice:
*Focus on safety-be aware that safety does not just refer to physical safety, but also to emotional, verbal, and spiritual safety.
*Supervising Kids-Be aware of what your kids are doing without standing over them.
*Quite times for at least 15 minutes per day.
*Start the Conversation. Carol advises that we ask questions. "Is anything worrying you? How was your day? How can I help with school? Tell me 3 things that were great about your day."
When you, as a parent, feel tipped completely over on your back, it is time to find someone who can help center you. Perhaps a good friend, the Pastor or a relative. Seek out help. That turtle shell is heavy. Ask yourself often how you are feeling. Mothers are especially good at putting everyone else before themselves and end up crashing. Especially now, when our stress levels can lead to unhealthy immune systems, we must guard ourselves. There is a reason why the flight attendant says to "put our own mask on first and then that of your child’s". God will deliver you in this affliction.
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