Skip To Main Content
Laying the Foundation

Laying the Foundation

Another year is here. The last year involved a lot of adjustments and adapting to new circumstances with an online school experience. The sudden changes may have led us to a place where we could not be certain about the near future. It is only natural to have concerns and mixed feelings about how this coming year will turn out for us and our families. To start this year, we thought of exploring ways in which we could model helpful attitudes to support our children in responding to sudden and difficult conditions. 

Being Authentic
When changes occur, we may feel a loss of control over our situation. We might find ourselves engaging in controlling behaviors to manage our own uncomfortable experiences. Overprotecting or overly managing the lives of our children is an easy loop to fall into. By doing this, we are unknowingly enabling them to feel powerless. Instead, we can state how we actually feel and redirect that energy to what is at hand. This can help us model authenticity as well as help children feel more in control. 

Exercising Agency
It might be helpful to look back and ask ourselves and our children what brought us through the past year. We may find ourselves thinking of all that we did in our individual capacities to cope. This is our agency, the resources or strengths we already possess. Naming them and listing out various choices in approaching a situation can encourage children to choose ways of responding. This helps them feel confident about managing challenges and helps them make more informed decisions. 

Practicing Gratitude
Gratitude can have a direct impact on our well-being and health. The influence of this attitude can also be felt when the emotion from a particular event is re-lived. Sometimes as parents we promote it as mere politeness, and add-ons to conversation to express respect. However, intentionally keeping time aside to engage in gratitude with our children can not only lift their spirits, but also aids in relationship building and stress-relief. Open letters of gratitude, gratitude journaling, or gratitude-based conversations with the family over a meal can be some of the ways we can include more of ‘Vitamin G.’ 

Emotional Regulation
It is useful to keep in mind that children mirror ways in which the adults in their lives regulate emotions during difficult moments. Experiencing meltdowns or stressful moments are completely valid and are sometimes unavoidable. However, we have a choice of how we emotionally stabilize ourselves. This helps children feel more capable and less resistant in coping with overwhelming experiences more effectively. 

Relationship Building
Strong families have open lines of communication where all family members feel heard and respected. It can be built on many factors, such as good listening skills, validation of feelings, use of ‘I’ messages and connecting with loved ones, all of which contribute to a child’s well-being. Strong relationships enable children to learn how to build trust in others as they share both good and bad times together. To start with, acknowledging and celebrating each other’s qualities, differences and strengths can be a great way to open the floor for meaningful conversations. 

Life adjustments often come with a wide range of challenges and emotions. Transitions can either feel smooth or that journey to the new normal can get bumpy. Knowing we are not alone and finding peace in the chaos can be key in staying focussed on what is possible in order to reinforce a sense of control and reassure children that the situation will get better.