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Home | Insights | This is Freakin’ Hard: Three Simple Things You Can Do to Make it Easier

This is Freakin’ Hard: Three Simple Things You Can Do to Make it Easier

This is a hard season in parenting.

It just is. For all of us. I’m no exception. No point in sugarcoating it. The Atlantic article “Parents Are Not Okay” really resonated with me…I’m seeing it in my clients, with my friends, and in my very own home.

StressThe stress we are all feeling right now, after months and months of sustained cycles of fear, hope, and uncertainty, is not what humans are built for.

Parents are struggling. And so are our kids.

I felt this in stereo this week after having my kiddos home due to possible “close contact” with a Covid-positive student at my daughter’s middle school. When I got that dreaded exposure email in only the fourth week of the year, the reality of the daily uncertainty of school and activities really set in.

A lot of parents are asking me right now, “what can we do to make it better?” And while I don’t have all the answers, here are three simple (though not always easy) ideas:

  1. With the return of school and activities it’s so easy to put yourself at the bottom of the list—intentionally or otherwise. Don’t. You parent better when you feel better. Invest in feeling better. Truly heartful parenting means putting yourself on this list, and maybe even at the top of it. This is something we talk a lot about in the Heartful Parent Academy, and I also really love this episode from podcast host Sara Dean.
  2. Understand that kids and teens do well if they can, and that, like us, they do better when they feel better. If they seem more emotionally volatile right now, it’s because they probably are. What you are seeing on the outside is a reflection of what’s going on on the inside. Lean into that and rather than punish them, yell at them, or make them feel worse, consider how you can provide support, emotional guidance, and empathy. Help them learn to sit in the discomfort. While you’re teaching them, you just might gain some new skills yourself!
  3. Lead with curiosity. Rather than assuming how they are feeling, ask them! Give them space to explore the stress and anxiety they may be feeling. Ask lots of questions and demonstrate a genuine interest in getting to know them and their inner landscape. There are few things more powerful for us as humans than feeling seen and all it takes to give that to a kid is to be present and listen.

TantrumOur kids need us to show up for them right now. They need us to be present. And they need to feel seen. The frustration, pain, and loss of the pandemic is not something we can protect them from. Instead, we need to help them manage it.

We need to help them understand on a deep level that they can make it through this.

We all can.

If you are reading this, you’ve made it through 100% of your bad days. With you by their side, your kids can too.

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Christy Keating is a certified parent coach,  positive discipline educator, and motivational speaker. She is the founder and CEO of The Heartful Parent Collective, which includes Heartful Parent Coaching, Savvy Parents Safe Kids, and Heartful Parent Academy.

The mother of two amazing daughters, Christy strives to build a happier, healthier world - one child, one parent, and one family at a time.