Once upon a time, we had a view of what the world looked like and we no longer have this perspective. And perhaps this isn’t all “bad”. In order for there to be change, there often needs to be a powerful pattern interrupt, just like with a child’s behaviors or our own behaviors. We are amidst of a collective shift: the birth of innovative schools, reevaluating how we view health, education, and work. We are reconnecting to nature, ourselves, others, neighbors, and our communities. Support for populations who have been made vulnerable, a compassionate and clear demand for equality for all beings and the earth itself, along with the deep realization that the better we all are, the better we- all are.
You Are Not Alone
Right now as we anticipate schools re-opening or not re-opening, stress levels have increased. Neither option is ideal because they both leave us with the same feelings of frustration, uncertainty, overwhelm, worry and fear. Please know, these responses are all natural. Before our world changed, most of us were already living in flight or fight and stressed to the max. It may feel like it doesn’t take much to “push us over the edge” because we are already walking the line, waiting for the other shoe to drop. We feel this and our kids feel this too.
Our emotions are natural and also uncomfortable. Most of us were not encouraged to truly feel our feelings or taught how to process challenging circumstances. We all come from a long line of avoidance and to be honest, this approach had its place in our survival. However, now we are face-to-face with more than we feel we can handle and we all need a little support. Believe me, you are brave enough. Just by reading this, you are brave enough. By waking up today. And as I said before, the better we all are, the better we all are. It takes a village.
5 ways to Cope with Unexpected Change:
1. ) Realize that there has never been a certainty, only the perception of it.
I understand it might be hard to read this and your mind might be disagreeing – and that is okay. That is part of the evolution. This world has always been and always will be full of everything, the “good” and the “bad” and everything in between. We are here to learn, evolve, grow, forgive, play and this requires a courageous heart, something we all have. How do I know? Because we are here. Remember that everything changes and it always will. Whether we like it or not, this world keeps turning and surprising us. We don’t know the end of the story yet. Anything is possible. This is the beauty if we can let it be.
Keep breathing, as simple as it sounds, this is essential.
Breath supports us in regulating our emotions. Nothing is going to change the fact that this world can be overwhelming and unpredictable, but your breath can bring you back to this moment now. And this moment is the only moment that matters. The saying “be here now” is not meant to invalidate or ignore the pain of the world, but rather to bring us into ourselves in the now so that we can fully experience being here and move forward with presence, courage, compassion and clarity. From a regulated place, we can make sound decisions, we can show up and truly listen to ourselves and those around us. The answers we are looking for are in the problem.
3.) Find the Right Support & Ask for Help
If any part of you still believes you “should be able to do this alone” it’s time to integrate that outdated model. Thank it for the purpose it served for you and give yourself permission to grow beyond this place of doing it all alone. No one can do this all alone and if you have any doubts, simply take a look around. This modern-day world is the epitome of how untrue this belief is. You, just like everyone else, deserve care, support and to be heard. Find your person or your community that really “get” you. It is an investment worth making. You are worth it.
4.) Be Your Own Cheerleader & Your Child’s
Are they struggling with online school? Get curious, authentically listen, validate their emotions, and then ask if they’d like you to help them find a new solution. Embracing your creativity has the potential to channel anxiety and worry as they are a similar frequency. I am not saying- don’t worry- as there is plenty to worry about. But, rather how can you engage differently with this energy in a way that can actually benefit those around you and most importantly- yourself.
5.) Forgive Yourself for Yesterday
Forgive yourself this morning or any time you don’t feel you did your best. We are always doing our best while growing. This is life. We were raised to believe that there was a perfect way to walk through life, but our presence is more perfect than any perfect there could be. Our stumbles and pain are what lead us to beauty and realization. You are doing better than you think you are.
5 Tips for Parenting During Social-Distance Learning:
1. Let them Vent
Some children thrive in this type of learning, others do not. Join your child wherever they are and listen to their experience. Once you have an idea of where they are at, you can explore creative solutions and new strategies. Don’t forget to ask for help!
2.) Designated Space
This can help create a sense of security. It’s those little things that lead to a sense of consistency that we can all benefit from, at least sometimes.
3.) Create a Schedule
Some children require more structure than others, so tune in and observe what works. Notice that you might have different needs than your child. If so, how can you get both your needs met? How are you different? How are you the same?
4.) Include Movement, Recess and Nature
With so many places closed and shut down these days, nature is calling. Time outdoors allows us to reconnect to ourselves, each other, and to something greater, in real-time. Nature can help to balance the extra time spent on devices these days.
5.) Balance What is Most Important
Emotional health is more important than grades. Lower your expectations and remember that wellness is more important than marks and always will be.
I hope these tips help you process what we are going through, accept the current reality and then when you are ready, move forward confidently and compassionately with a deep understanding that nothing is final, everything changes.
Perhaps this “too much, too fast” change we have endured this year will show us just how resilient we are. And your kids too!
You’ve got this!
Kirsten Cobabe, MSW supports parents in navigating the waves of adolescence while learning how to talk with their teenagers by becoming authentically curious and truly present. She supports teenagers along their journey to adulthood. As an advocate for families for over two decades, Kirsten has observed the recent and dramatic shifts, along with how to cultivate dynamic transformation. Her validating approach coupled with an open-hearted space form a foundation of radical self-acceptance. She engages families in fostering rapport, cultivating conscious connections, transforming obstacles, and restoring harmony in the home. She believes that through raising our consciousness, we can better raise the next generation. With those Kirsten considers herself honored to work with, specific tools are applied to create lasting change to reshape their worlds. With the right support, anything is possible.
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