I hear from a lot of moms and dads who watch Live On Purpose TV on YouTube about the problems they are experiencing with their children during the pandemic.
How do I get my child to do their schoolwork?
How do I help them stop arguing and get along better?
How do I get my kids to listen without yelling?
I noticed that the questions aren't much different than what was being asked before March 2020 when we went into lockdown, but then we added the pandemic into the equation.You see, these problems have always existed in parenting. Not every parent has all the problems, but every parent has some problems.
Regardless of whether there is a pandemic or not, parents will face problems. How we see the current situation of a worldwide pandemic will influence how big the problems are in our families. The pandemic is neutral. It is what it is.
How we choose to see or react to events has a big impact on our family's culture. Like it or not, our children constantly watch and observe us to gather cues for their own behavior. How our children see us react to the pandemic and other circumstances will influence how our children react. If we rant and rave about having to put a mask on to go to the store, or talk about how awful it is that we have to social distance and can't go to the movies, our children will pick up negative tones and begin to see the pandemic and everything related to it as "bad".
Instead of saying, "This pandemic is ruining everything, we can't even have a birthday party." What if we said, "How can we have a birthday celebration during a pandemic?"
Get creative, have an outside party, have an online game party night, have friends and family send recordings wishing your loved one a Happy Birthday and then send them the messages throughout the day. Maybe one for each year of their life. There are lots of ideas and it takes a little work, but you can come up with a memorable day. Remember, the key here is to shift from "We can't because ... " to "How can we?"
During any difficult time, it is important to focus on gratitude. This can help keep us from painting everything as bad and finding the good that does exist in our day. EVERYTHING has up-sides and down-sides, including difficult or painful situations. Psychologically, we put ourselves and our children in position to succeed when we choose to focus on the positive. The fastest way to do that is through gratitude.People often feel more powerful when they figure out what they control and focus on their area of influence. You may not be able to control the restaurants or movie theaters being open, but you can control the routines in your day. You can control what time your kids get up or the times you eat or the activities you do as a family. Generally speaking, kids do better when they have set times and routines to their day. You can still control this to a great extent.
You can also control what activities your family participates in. They might not have all the after school activities you are used to, but that doesn't mean your family can't take bike rides or kick the soccer ball around, or take walks after dinner. Saturday evening may be a family fun night with movies or games.
Whether you are in a pandemic or not, you can choose to enjoy your children. Start out by noticing that it is actually a choice. This is one of the secrets of positive parenting. You might even say it out loud, "I choose to enjoy my child today." You can do this through shifting your focus to what is unique about them. Imagine how someone first meeting them might view them. What do they do that makes you smile? What do you enjoy doing together? What do you want them to remember about this time in their lives?
See? You are thinking and when we think we begin to create memories our children will end up treasuring when they look back on their childhood. This IS their childhood! We don't get to postpone that until after the pandemic, so let's do this on purpose.
About Paul H. Jenkins, Ph.D.
Dr. Paul Jenkins works with organizations and individuals to establish and maintain habitual patterns of positive perception and focus that increase happiness, engagement, productivity, profit, and ultimate achievement of professional and personal life missions. With two decades of experience as a professional psychologist, Dr. Paul (as he is known to clients and his laughing, learning audiences) lays out the how and the why behind the art and science of being constructive in an often destructive environment. It is like having an owner’s manual for your brain – one you can actually read, understand, and apply. You understand your own mind and improve its functioning on purpose.
His deeply thoughtful writing, engaging and fun keynote addresses, powerfully practical breakout seminars, individual and corporate coaching and counseling are profound and simple. His clients, readers, and audiences get an iron grip on powerful psychological principles that make an immediate difference in their personal, family, and professional lives.
Dr. Paul’s book Pathological Positivity and its pocket-sized companion Portable Positivity, are available now to power up your positivity. Corporate and group discounts can be arranged to provide these books to all members of your organization.
Paul H. Jenkins, Ph.D.
Live On purpose
1429 S. 550 E.
Orem, UT 84097
Phone: 801-380-5161 voice or text
Email: [email protected]