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KIRA M.  |  CLINICAL PSYCHOLOGIST

RETURN TO GRID

Helping your kids cope with stress
and isolation

I think it’s incredibly weird if at some point
a parent says or doesn’t think that I think every parent says I’m not cut out for this, especially during a pandemic — nobody is.

This is not the year for new math
You know, as a teacher and educator — and my parents were educators — I don’t want to get in trouble by saying this, but this is not the year to focus on the new math. It is not about curriculum. It is not about educational milestones, per say. I think one of the most valuable things that parents can do for their kids right now is to model for them how to work on emotion regulation and how to work on stress management.

And you don’t have to do it successfully. I’m not saying that a parent has to figure that all out, know how to do it, but showing kids the struggle of the process. And man, you lose it sometimes and then you say, “Hey, you know, mom just really lost her temper there. Sorry for snapping. I’m going to try and take a deep breath. I’m going to try and figure out what my options are.” That’s really hard to do! The rest of the stuff, in my opinion as a psychologist at least, that’s not as important.

Work on modeling the effort
In terms of coming out of this pandemic, the most important thing for kids and especially for parents who are really struggling emotionally right now is to figure out how they can work on showing effort to kids — working on the effort and modeling the effort, because that’s the kind of stuff that is going to stick with them. They’ll catch up on math. They’ll catch up on spelling. We don’t need to worry about that. You know, Paw Patrol has its place and the bar is low. That’s totally OK.

…parents in general need to… just be nicer to themselves.

I think another thing parents in general need to do is just be nicer to themselves. Recognize that you cannot hold yourself accountable to the same level of parenting or the same level of support for your kids that you would expect. You are in a disaster. Disasters are different. And when the circumstances change, your expectations can change. But right now we just got to be nice and be more kind to ourselves and to other people and to recognize that the real important things are those relationships and kids getting to see us work through this difficult thing.

That’s what will really last. The rest of it can wait or can get dealt with later.

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