Being an effective parent with children who’ve had their lives turned upside down due to the COVID-19 crisis can be difficult. Emotions are heightened, no childcare is available, and parents are still expected to perform at high levels in full-time jobs. I cannot think of a more challenging situation for parents and children.
Worst of all, I cannot imagine the endless meltdowns children will have when they are forced to wear masks at school, sit 6 feet apart from friends, and comply with the distressing set of rules offered by the Centers for Disease Control to re-open schools. It will be hard to be patient with a child who refuses to go to school, which then makes you late for your thermal scan at work where you also wear a mask.
It is critical that we prepare ourselves now to be more effective parents, especially because things could get even worse. Below are 7 parenting strategies that can help guide you as you face current and future challenges with the COVID-19 crisis.
These recommendations were originally developed by therapist, Pat Harvey in her book, Parenting a Child Who Has Intense Emotions. I believe her recommendations are very useful for parents as they navigate the uncertainty and tension associated with the COVID-19 crisis.
7 Strategies for Effective Parenting
1. Don’t be judgmental: If you are thinking negatively about your child, gently remind yourself that your child is doing the best he or she can.
2. Validate your child: Respond to your child’s truth and feelings, even if it is difficult.
3. Be responsive, not reactive: Take a few seconds to keep your emotions in check before you respond to your child’s behavior.
4. You can lose the battle and still win the war. It is not essential that you have absolute control of your child. Choose your battles so that you have a more positive relationship.
5. It takes two to engage in power struggles. You can walk away without feeling like you are giving in. You can enforce limits without arguing about them. Your child does not have to agree that you are right nor do you have to prove that he or she is wrong.
6. Balance your responses. Balanced parenting means that you are able to give your child some choices and control while still setting behavioral guidelines.
7. Choose the most effective response. If what you are doing is not working, try something else.
If you need help managing your emotions and developing your parenting skills, please contact me through my website to make an appointment.