Open hearts. Honest conversations.

Episode 1: Parenting During a Pandemic

Valerie’s guest is Julia Staub-French, clinical counsellor and Executive Director of the Agency. Together they explore the idea that while circumstances have changed, the basic principles of good parenting have not. They talk about the concept that parents don’t have to be perfect, and in fact, attempting to be perfect parents often means not attending to the unique needs of ourselves or our children.

Parents are asked to consider how they are connecting with their kids during this time. Are we “checking out” with too much screen time or other distractions or are we authentically engaging with the lives of our children?

Parents are invited to be honest with kids about challenging circumstances while maintaining their role as problem solvers and adult leaders in the family.

Finally, Val and Julia talk about the silver lining of pandemic parenting, the opportunity for children and their parents to experience resilience.

Show Notes:

  • There is no magic pandemic parenting that needs to happen.
  • It does not make us better parents if we feel bad about ourselves as parents and compare ourselves to others, thinking they are better than us.
  • When we feel shame about ourselves as parents we are preoccupied with ourselves and we are not connecting with our child. We can miss out on our own kids’ unique needs when we are trying to match what others are doing.
  • If we do something that’s not that great as a parent, we can stay connected with ourselves, stay connected with our child, and we can repair what we’ve said or done.
  • If we are starting to see a pattern coming out with our kids and you know in your heart that this is not the kind of parent you want to be, that’s the time to ask for some help.
  • Many parents are using distractions, like eating, alcohol, screen-time to help deal with the anxiety brought on by the pandemic.  If you’re doing that a lot it is likely not a great coping strategy. It is avoidance.
  • The basics for healthy coping are to talk with someone else about your feelings, get some physical exercise, remove yourself from the place in which the unhealthy coping is happening.  
  • Kids notice when parents are stressed and having a hard time.
  • You can be honest with your kids about the situation and also the ways in which you are solving it.  This sends the message life can be hard and we can get through hard things together.
  • The silver lining of the pandemic is that kids are learning that they can get through difficult experiences and still be ok.  So, the next time they encounter a difficulty they can look back and say “I survived that hard time, and I can do it again.”


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