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Lockdown help from Ruth

Here we are -  once again having to cope with the restrictions of lock down and the uncertainty of what next!

I don’t know about your family but my daughter, who is an older teen, found the suddenness of the lockdown hard to process. She went from see you tomorrow, to see you on a screen. Even though screens are better than audio only, they still can’t compete with in person communication.

We are now looking to playing catch up. It is still hard to know whether to commit to travel plans in the future, or if sticking close to home is the better option.

Is you stop and consider all the questions you can’t answer, double these for the ones your child has, and triple these if you have a teen.

My eldest is currently at University, down in Otago, and seems to be coping well. She did have plans to travel this year, to visit our relatives in the UK and take some time for her, but obviously this could not happen. Teens are at an age where they are being pushed to consider what next, but the thing is none of us know, making it that much harder to know how to help.

Check in with your children, are they coping as well as you thought they were at this time?

What do they think about the current situation?

Is there anything they want to know more about?

My five tips to help you to discover what is going on under the surface of the iceberg for your child:

1.Show them that you want to communicate

2.Let them communicate

3.Withhold your reaction

4.Encourage questions

5.Make time for family

Be present, pop your head around the door and say hi, sit at the end of their bed, eat together as a family, go for a drive or a walk.

If they chose to talk to you, then listen. Put down your phone, your pen, and focus. If there are pauses, or silences, then count to ten, then count again. They may be processing, or checking your reaction to what they are saying.

We are all dealing with a bit of unknown here, and your child is looking for support. They may want to try something new or different, so rather than shoot down their idea too quickly, see where it goes; it may be more successful than you thought.

There is a lot of misinformation available on the internet and your child may be confused by what they have seen. Talk about whatever they want to talk about. Encourage research and fact finding.

Solo screen time is fine for a while, but to see some emotion you need to share their space.  Some of the best opportunities for exploration are when interacting with others. Playing a family game, going for a walk or carrying out chores together, can reveal so much. Are they reacting as expected, are they able to self-regulate when things are not going their way, can they laugh, at themselves and with others?

 If you find yourself struggling, you can always plan to talk with me.  

Ruth Taylor

Parenting Coach and Author of the Childish Adult book series


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