Why Parenting Has Changed Since the Pandemic.
As an educator for over 25 years, my students’ parents asked endless questions ranging from, “How do I handle my child arguing with me over homework?” to, “How can I get my children to share their worries with me?”
During the distance learning phase beginning in March 2020, I started offering virtual tutoring sessions. Toward the end of July, I decided to record daily parenting tip videos until the first day of school.
I had planned to record daily tips for a few weeks before the first day of school to help parents prepare for distance learning challenges. My goal changed to posting daily parenting tip videos for 100 consecutive days. Not only did I receive questions from parents about conquering distance learning challenges, but many parents were struggling with significant stress, sleepless nights, and often frustrating arguments with their obstinate children.
These 100 parenting tips helped decrease parenting stress and increase peace in raising children’s challenging journey turned into One Hundred Parenting Tips Inspired by the Pandemic published by Balboa Press.
Parenting during the pandemic caused many parents to question whether they knew how to parent. Conflicts increased, chaos became the norm, and peace seemed like a magical unicorn that only existed in children’s books and shows.
After asking parents, grandparents, mental health specialists, an elementary school principal who won the National Distinguished Principal of the Year Award as well as a student, I came to the following realization: if we don’t change the way we raise our kids, parenting will continue to be chaotic and our children will not be prepared with much-needed tools to thrive as adults.
I believe the following three parenting tips will increase the chances of children acquiring the emotional intelligence, self-confidence, and life skills needed to be mentally healthy, successful adults.
1. Learn to emotionally connect with your child.
If we’re struggling with why our child isn’t listening to us or wondering why parenting has to be so difficult, we need to learn our primary role as a parent. The old way of parenting involved making sure your child was disciplined, followed our rules, and carried out our commands. We are now realizing that in order to avoid conflicts, experience more peace during our parenting journey, and reduce stress, we need to be less focused on their academic achievements and be far more concerned with focusing on their social and emotional development.
Help your child manage personal feelings, understand the needs/feelings of others, and focus on your connection with your child. Role model positive interactions as well as how to thrive so they know what it looks like to practice self-care, to practice important family values, and find their flow. Finding their flow could be as simple as scheduling time for fun activities.
To promote social and emotional growth, children must learn how to delay gratification, never to allow their emotions to dictate their behavior, and to identify their feelings. When feelings are understood, being vulnerable is seen as a strength, and managing emotions are practiced, there will be more peace and less stress.
2. Learn your child’s primary love language.
The best way to ensure your kids feel heard is to take the love language quiz so you can communicate using their love language. Dr. Gary Chapman describes five love languages: Words of Affirmation, Acts of Service, Receiving Gifts, Quality Time, and Physical Touch. Knowing your child’s top choice can help strengthen your bond and prevent behavioral issues. Identify your children’s primary love language by paying attention to how they show you love.
Does your child prefer hugs over a little toy (physical touch)? Do his eyes light up when you praise them for doing a fantastic job (words of affirmation)? Some kids love to help their moms cook or want to help their dad work on his car (acts of service). My daughter would scream with joy if I brought home a Happy Meal (receiving gifts). My eldest would enjoy coming into my room and sharing her favorite part of her day or any current worries (quality time).
3. Letting Go of Parenting Expectations.
Surrendering is one of the most challenging tips for parents to practice. Most parents focus on their children’s future success, their perfect behavior, which often may not resemble their reality. These idealized images can affect and damage how we look at our kids. Believing that our children should live up to our expectations can result in major disappointment. These idealized thoughts and feelings don’t allow us to fully live in the present and be grateful for the way our children are, not the way we want them to be.
Life becomes more comfortable when we let go of our fantasy and accept reality. Letting go of this fantasy does not happen overnight. It is a process that takes time.
When parents let go of their unrealistic, fantasized expectations, they will see their children empathize with them. Make the time to observe who they are, and understand their likes and dislikes, instead of demanding them to be what we feel they must be to meet our expectations.
I invite you to practice these three tips for 30 days. Take a few minutes every day to be conscious of the words you say, the actions you take and the energy you give your child. I guarantee you that your child will feel loved, accepted, and important.
When your child feels unconditionally loved, you’ll experience more peace and less conflict.