By: Megan de Beyer
I feel compelled to reach out to each of you, as parents, in these unprecedented times. As lockdown restrictions lift, the future remains uncertain at best. Our natural reaction to uncertainty is to hold onto old coping patterns (even if outdated) and to try to control the outcome – an impossible feat in times of Coronavirus
My parenting tips focus on creating a safe family atmosphere while surrendering control of external events.
AS WITHIN, SO WITHOUT.
When our thoughts and feelings change, our lives change. Our subjective world is perception-driven. Therefore, choosing to consciously transform our attitude automatically changes our immediate environment. As parents, we can start by opening and softening, and being more gentle on ourselves first.
We cannot control the world, but we can be mindful of our inner landscape and choose to place our attention on uplifting thoughts and emotions. We can still have an enriching experience of our lives.
CREATIVITY AND PLAY ARE IMPORTANT AT EVERY AGE.
Logical thinking is useful, but our left-brain orientation can be troublesome when pure logic fails to reconcile the complexities of a global crisis. On the other hand, creativity and play stimulate the right brain, bringing a balanced state. When we laugh, dance, sing, paint, or create, we invite a receptive state of mind. Not only is this fun (and perhaps embarrassing for teens), it also bonds us with our children and creates an opportunity for spontaneous solutions to appear.
CREATE SPACE FOR STILLNESS.
As the Buddha said, “You have all the answers you need. The challenge is to quiet the mind.” The temptation, as lockdown eases, is to fill our diaries to pacify teens desperate to reconnect with their tribe. While this is very important, teenagers also gain tremendous inner strength by learning to come home to themselves. The more the parent can nurture the space for still days doing nothing, the more teen children will follow suit.
SPEND TIME IN NATURE.
Nature’s colours and elements are very healing for our brain. Walk barefoot, swim in natural pools, allow yourself to be still in nature and just breathe it in. When pressed for time, open your window and take a few deep breaths while looking at the sky or stars. Natural cycles embrace the ups and down, spontaneously opening up to creative possibilities.
Give up on the ‘to do’ list. Give up perfection and sky-high standards. Practice letting go and accepting what is, even for a few hours. Say to yourself and to your teens, “that’s good enough.” Take the pressure off. Drop your guard and be vulnerable. If you think you should be coping perfectly, then you are aiming too high. It’s not normal to be totally balanced and calm during a crisis.
You don’t need to feel 100% right now. Take a nap, ask for a hug, and allow your kids to do nothing. The one worthwhile thing to DO is to limit screen time, particularly social media and gaming. You can remain the nag here I give you full permission.