Express News Service
BENGALURU : Our restructured lives seem to be burdening different age groups with unique challenges. One such section of importance is parenting and parent-child mental health during Covid-19. Parents seem to be dealing with work from home, their child’s homeschooling, and household responsibilities. These changes have resulted in stress, overload of responsibilities and disruption in work and personal life balance. Further, the necessity for parents to homeschool the child and to ensure that the child is completing the assigned work on time has turned out to be a challenge. Parenting is a full-time job with emotional aspects to it. Most efficient parenting requires calmness, kindness and respect towards the child, partnership amongst parents, and proper communication between parent-child.
Here are six strategies for effective parenting:
Identify the problem: It is essential to build an attitude of openness, consider different perspectives before concluding, focussing on the situation than the individual to understand the nature of the problem. The problems in the current situation can be due to lack of structure, social stimulation in children, and me-time. Behavioral impulsiveness is a child’s way of expressing a cry for help, which demands attention.
Set house rules: While rules help in setting clear boundaries, they also encourage structure and a sense of responsibility in family members. Setting up a fixed work/study schedule, division of responsibilities, etc., will help the child stay engaged, feel productive and confident.
Build healthy communication: Communication is not limited to saying things the right way but also ensuring that the child is feeling understood. Adopt active listening, express empathy, exhibit a non-judgmental attitude and facilitate the child’s expression. Engage in collective activities: It is natural for children to exhibit a sense of insecurity when parents are overwhelmed. Engaging in activities such as playing games together, engaging in music or art activities, watering the plants or setting the dinner table together, etc, will help the child feel safe and relaxed.
Engage in me-time to avoid over-engagement with a child: Parents should not just focus on the amount of time spent with a child, but it’s the ‘quality’ that matters. Parents need to engage in me-time activities to relax and do things they enjoy during stressful times.
Incorporate playful parenting and learning: Playful parenting results in less nagging, reduced arguments, and less stress. Parents can incorporate playfulness during home-schooling hours or learning via adding gaming in the curriculum, learning through technology, digital and virtual learning.The author is a clinical psychologist, Fortis Hospital, Bangalore