If the pressures of lockdown didn’t bring out your best parenting self, understand the importance of ‘repair’.
Lockdown has been tough and way way tougher for our Auckland crew. I was going to write a blog on ideas to help our parents get through but, you know what? Everyone did their best and all the well-meaning advice really doesn’t cut it when you’re at the coalface and I couldn’t bring myself to add to the tide of ‘top lockdown parenting tips’.
For most of us lockdown was, and continues to be, a massive source of stress. When we’re stressed our thinking brain is hijacked by our emotional brain so we can be less patient, more critical, snappy and angry. Probably afterwards feeling guilt, shame and regret, promising ourselves that the next time we will be more patient or kinder only to be triggered into a disappointing, impatient meltdown once more.
Here’s some evidence-based information you should know – it’s all about REPAIR.
If your child is verbal, it is ok to tell them ‘sorry’. When your negative response outweighs the ‘issue’, own it, tell them it wasn’t their fault (do not follow it with a ‘but you should have put your toys away…’). You overreacted, own it! However, avoid weighing them down with too much information about how stressed you are – remember you are their rock not the other way round!
If they are too young to understand, when you have a little more in the tank, give some extra cuddles, time just holding them, reading or playing with them. If it’s been a particularly tough time, they will probably have more ‘needy’ behaviour. Sink into this, if they’ve gone back developmentally, this is normal, go back there with them. Once you’ve settled them emotionally, over time, they can start to move forward again.
Our children’s brains are wired through regular, repetitive interactions and responses with the adults in their close circle – in the scheme of things lockdown has been a blip. So focussed repair of any relationship ruptures will help them, and you, get back on the right track.
If you have any questions please ask, all is anonymous and every question will help others for sure.