The challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic were outside of our control. As a result, our lives were disrupted in nearly every single way, especially during the early stages. Efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19 meant many of us needed to adjust our daily lives, keeping our social circles small and avoiding potentially crowded spaces. But, again, many of these changes were unmanageable, as we made the best of the situation.
The Impact on Our Kids
Our kids felt the impact of these changes due to remote learning and lack of activities with their friends. Some kids adjusted to the changes, embraced Zoom meet-ups with friends, and maintained their schooling without hindering their progress. However, some kids might have struggled through the changes, perhaps declining academic performance or regressing socially.
Some kids might have struggled emotionally with these changes. The impact of isolation under social distancing protocols left many feeling lonely and missing their friends. Kids with pre-existing mental health challenges, like depression and anxiety, might have experienced an increase in symptoms. Other kids might have regressed academically, meaning they will need additional support throughout the summer to catch up. They might have even failed and need to repeat the academic year during in-person settings this fall.
Few would doubt that any person was not impacted by the events of the past year. Collectively as a society, we experienced a relatively traumatic event. Each person coped in their own way, some better than others; however, we all felt the impact to some degree—everyone experienced loss and change. While we tried to do our best with these circumstances, we had very little control over the events as they unfolded.
Unexpected Changes Each Day
Parenting during the pandemic was a challenge none of us could have prepared for. No one had experienced such an event as this. While we all went through this pandemic together, no one had a guidebook or a road map to help navigate through the chaos. During the last year, many of us were in a reactive mode. We needed to deal with restrictions and changes as they came. Sometimes, what we could do one day would change the next based on infection rates.
We might have done all we could to keep ourselves and our families safe; however, we had no control over how others would react. We had no control over the risks that others might take or how cautious other families would be. Whether or not they abided by safety recommendations or not, the collective behavior of others could have a direct impact on us, no matter what we did. Nevertheless, we need to remember that we did the best we could, considering the severity of the circumstances.
The Challenge of Parenting During a Pandemic
Some parents might worry that they failed their kids throughout the pandemic. Seeing our kids struggle with the challenges of social distancing, fear of catching coronavirus, and overall disruption to daily life, we might have felt helpless, though we did the best that we could. However, we also felt the impact of these changes. Many needed to switch our homes into a workspace, some lost their jobs, and we needed to cope with the challenges.
Blaming ourselves if our kids struggled during the pandemic does not help our kids or us. We might feel that we failed our kids if we could not support their schooling, mental health, or socializing during this time. However, everyone was just trying to keep their heads above water. Getting through the pandemic was like navigating a sinking ship to shore. We could not expect comfort or normalcy. We merely did all we could to survive and get through until we could regain our footing.
Getting Back to Normal
As we get back to a state of normalcy, we need to keep things in perspective. If our kids struggled or were held back, we can get them additional support to catch up over the summer. Perhaps we need to be gentle with our kids and manage our expectations. Some of our kids might feel anxious about getting back out there among friends. They might have coped with the pandemic by losing themselves in Netflix, gaming, or social media. We cannot expect our kids to bounce back right away. They might need time and support to re-acclimate.
No matter what, as parents, we need to remember that we did the best that we could through a collective challenge. We need to forgive ourselves, letting go of self-blame and guilt to move forward. Each of us experienced some degree of difficulty during the pandemic. We are not alone and can heal together. We can help our kids who struggled, one day at a time.
Getting back to normal as we emerge from the restrictions of the pandemic might be just as challenging as dealing with the pandemic itself. Parents might feel that they could not adequately support their kids throughout, now blaming themselves for their child’s regression emotionally, socially, or academically. None of us could have anticipated the changes occurring during the pandemic. The uncertainty was stressful for everyone. However, we cannot blame ourselves if our kids continue to struggle, even as things go back to normal. We were all just trying to keep afloat during a trying year. Some kids might have turned to maladaptive coping skills, like addiction, excessive gaming, screen addiction, or others to get through. If your child struggles to cope with the changes of the pandemic, Fire Mountain Residential Treatment Center is here to help you and your family. Call us today at (303) 443-3343. We’re here to help your family’s fire burn brightest.