We’ve been living in this semi-isolation for awhile now. Lucky for me, my kids are with me and attending their online classes. While I haven’t had any problems with the kids wanting to leave to see their friends, I’ve been hearing other parents tell a different story.
How’s it going there with you?
Because kids don’t always seem to understand that isolation is the key to not spreading the virus. Having grown up with after-school activities galore, they have more downtime and they don’t know what to do with it. Because sometimes when there’s downtime, we have time to think of what we had previously been pushing away. Which leads me to…
Sitting with whatever fears, worries or hurts doesn’t feel good for kids. Well, we can include us in that too, right? And when those feelings come up because there’s not a lot to distract us from them, stuff happens. People act out. They’re grumpy or depressed. They can be quick to anger without provocation. And they don’t see it. They can’t explain it. It just happens. They’re feeling crummy, but they don’t really understand why.
And because as parents, we’re not mind readers, so we don’t know. Interactions can escalate without warning. Buttons can be pushed. Wounds can be reopened (spiritually speaking, not real body wounds).
How do I know? Because it happened here with the kids and me. They’ve been holding onto a lot of stuff from the divorce and suddenly there was attitude that I hadn’t had with them. So I took a step back before I said something that I wouldn’t want to regret saying and the following morning, when things were calmer, I sat them down and talked with them.
It was the best thing I could have done. Caring voice, with concern and a little discipline (you aren’t allowed to be disrespectful to me) and I asked what was going on with them. Because even living in the same home, there are times where they aren’t talking about how they feel because it’s scary. It’s hard to process and they don’t feel secure in their future as college students. They’re worried about their dad who doesn’t talk with them or check in. They miss their friends. They’re concerned about who’s going to be the next person to get the virus.
All these feelings are coming to the surface to be dealt with and they don’t want to deal with them. They don’t want to feel the pain of their parents’ divorce again, but there’s not really a choice when you don’t have a whole heck of a lot of distractions to occupy you. And you have to process all the emotions in order to heal. So it’s time.
They each have a therapist who they are talking to weekly which is helping. We are taking more time to talk these days too even though sometimes it’s hard to hear what each of them has to say (and vice versa). We’ve started cooking together a little bit which brings a communal goal to bond us. Because let me say this honestly, I’m tired of cooking so much. I needed help and they’re quite old enough. But my prior efforts of pushing them to cook with me in order to learn wasn’t working. It was when I changed my tune and began to invite them to cook with me that I saw the change.
Subtle changes can make such an impact. Don’t you think? So tell me, how’s it going with you???