It’s safe to say 2020 has been a year unlike any other. The joke that “there’s no manual for this parenting thing” has never held so true. Parents are not only navigating their own minds and lives through these times, but are also trying to guide their children through.
Kids have faced so much in the last several months – schooling transformed overnight, summer camp dreams forfeited, vacations and typical socializing turned upside-down. Kids are having to forego so much they once so enjoyed. We have all had to learn so much about a virus, about social distancing and masks while trying to figure out how to keep life moving. There’s been a lot of change, uncertainty, fear and disappointment. These are big and often uncomfortable emotions for any age and as caregivers navigate their feelings, it can feel overwhelming to know how to guide and support children in them.
This could be our opportunity to build resilience in children! Parents try to not overwhelm yourselves with expectations and other pressures. Keep it simple and focus on these two areas: your presence and your example.
Create space for your child to be open with how they are feeling about changes, limitations, or disappointments they may face. Try not to change the feeling, but instead allow it to exist. Your emotional presence can create the safety and stability they need in a time that may not feel so safe or stable.
You are the ultimate model for your children in how to handle challenges. This means they will see you, too, ride the waves of this tumultuous time. You can guide them in how to frame what is happening and what has happened. Walk them through the thought: “Kiddo, I know you’re sad we had to cancel vacation and it’s okay. I am, too. While this summer isn’t what we hoped it would be, this is what we are going to do so that we still make it special!”
We started and ended Spring in a pandemic. Summer began with a slow move towards a new normal and as we prepare for fall, it can seem uncertain as to what we can expect. It would be easy to focus entirely on the negatives all have experienced but building resilience in our kiddos is about walking with them through these big emotions and helping to focus on what is within their (and our) control. Here at Emerge, we are standing by with in-person and telehealth counseling options for parents and children to navigate just how to do such things!
In uncertainty, Jesus is our safety and stability. As he wants to share that peace with us, you can extend this to your children.
Breanna E. Geib, MAEd, LPC
Licensed Professional Counselor
Breanna Geib serves as a licensed professional counselor at Emerge Counseling Ministries with a B.A. in Psychology from Kent State University and an M.A. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Malone University. She specializes in women’s issues, children/adolescent issues, anxiety and mood disorders, adjustment concerns, self-esteem, mindfulness, grief/loss, boundaries, behavioral issues, and finding identity in Christ.
Throughout her career Breanna has served as a member of the Tuscarawas County Anti-Human Trafficking Task Force, taught a parenting class for Job & Family Services, led a Domestic Violence Group for female inmates, and has advocated against domestic violence and human trafficking through public speaking and education. Among several certifications and memberships, she is part of the American Counseling Association, Chi Sigma Iota, Golden Key International Honor Society, and the National Society of Collegiate Scholars.