Empowering your kids intelligently during the corona-virus pandemic.
Kids need routine and discipline to stay healthy. Limited movement situation (lockdown) has created dis-balance in this routine and they feel disturbed, anxious, and uncertain just as adults. Mothers and Fathers must note this: the most important action as a parent is to find ways how you can bring this balance back and empower your children. The lockdown situation during COVID19 gives us a perfect opportunity to do this. Empowerment makes children ready, stronger, and more confident, especially in controlling difficult situations in life and claiming their rights.
Before, the pandemic the kids were too busy in school and parents at their work. Now, kids are home, and many of us are working from home. This means, we have more time to engage with them, but it also means more mental and emotional energy and discipline of the daily routine. So, before we jump into fixing the kids, what is required is to check our personal emotional and mental health states.
If you are feeling tired, exhausted, and anxious, your kids are most probably feeling the same and not necessarily expressing them. Remember, they absorb your overall presence such as facial expressions, tone of your voice more than your verbal instructions.
My relationship as a dad with my nine years old who lives in distance with her mom pushed me to develop iron man parenting skills to build a trusting and fun relationship with my daughter. We use video conferencing, initially like all parents I tried controlling her. Look at me, sit down, don’t jump, time to sleep, etc. Ideally, I wish she does all those things without me repeatedly asking her. I didn’t have the luxury of her being in front of me, and one wrong move I made and in a click on the red button, she was gone. I would find myself left frozen and heartbroken. My parental ego got crushed, and I felt helpless but I had no choice but to stay calm and understand what was I doing wrong?
So, if you are controlling your kids (in the name of discipline) it will not work. Before they start listening to you, try listening to them, because here is the following baseline rule:
Baseline Rule: Children usually don’t have the right words to verbalize about how they are feeling. Instead, they communicate their feelings through facial expressions, through their body, their behavior, and play. They get frustrated, excited, playful, happy, nervous, sad, jealous, frightened, worried, angry, and embarrassed.
So this is what I did, and I strongly recommend you to try this approach during pandemic times and observe the difference in your child. The empowerment process of your kids requires more work on YOURSELF/ PARENT rather than changing your children.
- I learn to watch her, and not only look at her; without being consumed or triggered because of my expectation. Being fully present for her rather living a mental story in my head. I started to see that her face expressed significantly enough what she was feeling, but because I wanted her to listen to me I would often miss out on her emotions. Eyes and eyebrows are excellent body parts to observe. They move quickly and they give you a whole lot of information. We all have seen enough of upset/angry/crying/happy/laughing/excited faces. The tricky one is an ambivalent poker face that can happen during confusion, guilt, or shame. You must notice this one on time. I call it, make it, or break it relationship moment. Once you master this one, you got everything in control!
- I started hearing her, and not just listening to her; Choosing the right words to express their feelings is the last skill they will develop. In my experience, a lot of adults even struggle with this, so it is not fair to expect your kids will tell you what is going on inside them. The secret code I found was the tone of the voice. It has gold mine of information. I know its a nightmare to hear the annoying voices they make, but behind them is how they feel and that’s how they communicate. I started to learn those tones. Sometimes, she would do aeeinn, haamm, aww, or phew. In this, situation I would recommend going completely quiet and sit down. Silence is a powerful tool and it can do wonders if used correctly. Little older kids know when they are not being reasonable, but because we react to their behaviors/noises, they use it as a tool to gain attention. I suggest you say; “I want to hear you but mom’s ears are hurting, can you speak softly please”. Kids do well when you express how you feel, rather than ignoring, screaming back, threatening them, controlling them, etc.
- I started mirroring her body movement, she loves bolay churiyan song- so I pushed myself to do the same moves as she did. This was taught by my therapist/teacher. Kids have loads of fun when they see their parents copying what they are doing. They will giggle with you and laugh, as they develop new friendships and even have this amazing sense of control, over you. Every time, your kid comes and shows you the drawing she/he made, what she is asking from us is to make her feel proud and appreciated. Don’t fake this process, genuinely look at it and find the effort she has put in it. Similarly, when kids move they are expressing what is in their mind and heart. Running, for example, is a sign of them wanting to be free and even win! so run with them let them win. These memories will stick in their minds for much longer than anything they ever learned in their school classroom. That’s wisdom asking for change!
- I started enjoying what interests her; Children are a powerhouse of ideas. All we need is, to listen to them actively and create opportunities for them to engage. Lets them decide what interests them. They don’t express their interest directly but would show them through drawing, cartoon characters, pointing at things when traveling in a car. These are magic moments, and you can note them in your diary. Bring those moments in and ask them what they feel around it. I don’t believe in getting children busy all the time, I suggest you exploring your mental presence regarding your kids. Parents are often too busy and consumed, that they miss out on the natural inclination the kids show towards their interest. Secondly, watch how their interests clash with your ideas of life. Children love to sing, dance, watch videos, listen to stories and play games — can you find ways to connect that with your values and morals? It creates meaning for them.
Behind every behavior is a feeling — Try to understand the meaning and feeling behind your child’s behavior. They are seeking your attention.
If your children are not in a pleasant mood during the current time of the corona pandemic, then that’s perfectly normal. They are adjusting but don’t let that become a chronic habit. Our parental goal is, is to let our kids know that we are listening, watching, and ready to have fun with them and they need to study, sleep, eat, and play on time.
In a famous video by Jack Ma in world Economic Forum while talking about The Future work skills, he mentioned: “the future is in the hands of people who have qualities like believing, independent thinking, teamwork, and care for others”. This means parents need to give more respect to their kids and trust in their capabilities and consciously develop leadership skills in them. These are life skills and often more important than academic skills.
The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health objectives.