Updated: Apr 29, 2020
The original article that I wrote a few weeks ago (Covid-Relationships) provides the starting point for this article that looks to support parents with their relationships with their children, not only to overcome some of the challenges that may have presented themselves during this lockdown period, but to allow your parent-child relationship to thrive!
A quick reflection
In the original Covid-Relationships article I refer to a number of considerations that we need to bear in mind as we progress through this lockdown period (and they will be helpful beyond this time too!). In a nutshell these points are:
“All relationships take effort”, referring to the fact that as times change and relationships need to adjust, so does the amount or type of effort that we put into our relationships.
“All relationships require balance”, so similar to the above point, be aware of how balanced your relationships are, what helps to maintain this balance and what you need to do should your balance be slipping.
"All relationships have space parameters”, being aware of and adjusting to your ‘space’ needs those of the people we’re in relationships with can be a significant factor in maintaining a sense of balance.
“All relationships have routines”, these help us to feel a sense of safety and certainty. Being able to recognise the role that routines play in our relationships will help us to adjust should the need arise.
“All relationships have comfort zones” that allow us to feel comfortable to lower our guards, which is critical in all significant relationships. When the space begins to feel more threatening, we’re heading towards a rocky patch. Recognise, appreciate and adjust accordingly.
“All relationships have breaking points” refers to the fact that we are all only human, and all relationships carry the potential for being broken, even between a child and a parent. Knowing the strength of a relationship, and the various signs that indicate that something is ‘off’ in the areas discussed above can help to safely steer around these breaking points. If not, we run the risk of creating irreparable damage.
As a parent, all these points apply to all of your relationships, including your relationship with your child(ren). Taking time to reflect on these points, and how things have shifted during the lockdown period will be a great place to start, following this, the four points discussed below will empower you to remain in control (as much as possible) and to maintain a focus on the positive influence you can have on your child to help them navigate their way through life.
What is my role as a parent, and what am I dealing with.
Considering the fundamental question that explores your role as a parent can help to provide you with some context to what you are dealing with, or trying to deal with regarding your children. Similarly, through reflecting on this point we can begin to be able to separate issues that fall in the two categories of “Personal Stuff” and “Parenting Stuff”. Being able to recognise that there is a difference and this “stuff” needs to be separated and dealt with differently is critical to supporting your relationship with your child (as well as with yourself, which will be discussed in the final Covid-Relationship follow up article, coming soon).
What is my ultimate goal as a parent?
Taking time to consider what you are actually working towards with each of your children, what you are supporting them to achieve, etc, or the type of person that you are moulding them into helps to provide us with some context to our engagements with our children. Being able to be critical with ourselves about the reasons that motivate us to achieve these (parenting) goals helps to sharpen our perspective and can also help in clarifying whether we are doing it for our children, ourselves, or someone else. (Here is a link to an article I wrote about Parental Blur which may be of interest to you)
What is happening NOW that is helping or hindering my role and interfering in my parenting goals (for me and my child)?
Very often, when we are presented with challenges, we view them through layers of the past, multiple present factors, as well as thoughts, ideas, goals etc about the future. You can understand how this can complicate the actual matter at hand. Taking a little time to strip a situation down to the bare essential can help to provide greater clarity about what is actually going on, therefore empowering you to respond as best you can.
What needs to be done, changed, implemented or achieved?
Seeking to better understand your ‘context’, sharpening your ‘perspective’ and improving your ‘clarity’ will help to empower you to feel more in control and better equipped to focus on what is critical or a priority. In doing so, you will be able to plan and better implement your plans to engage with, support or intervene with your child. Ultimately, you are striving towards equipping them with the tools, skills and internal resources to manage whatever life throws at them, while trying to strength, build or maintain one of the most important relationships they will experience.
The Next Step
In order to discuss the points covered in this article in more depth, I will be hosting a live chat on 1 May. Please click here for Facebook Live or YouTube Live. If you found this article helpful, and feel others may benefit too, please share this with them, and encourage them to join the chat. For any questions, please contact me by clicking here.