Parents: We Don’t Have to be Perfect During the Coronavirus Crisis, but We Need to be Present

For: Tennessean – Part of the USA Today Network

Since schools have closed, I’ve seen color-coded schedules for homeschooling popping up on social media and so many incredible virtual options for education. There has been idea sharing and cross pollination of fields in unprecedented ways. Amazing!

Simultaneously, I’ve felt mounting pressure to create the infrastructure of a homeschool for my kids while also transitioning my business to an online platform. Like many of us, the increased number of hats we wear over the course of the day has been stressful and I can feel the “not enough” shame messages sneaking in.

As a psychologist (and parent myself), I know that we don’t parent well from a place of shame. But before we start shaming ourselves for feeling shame, let’s remember that we are in a situation with an enormous wake…

A recent article by Brooks et al, (2020) summarized the research on the impact of quarantining in past outbreaks (e.g., SARS and Ebola). One study demonstrated that children who had been quarantined had mean post-traumatic stress (PTSD) scores that were four times higher than children who were not quarantined.

Additionally, quarantined parents had higher rates of PTSD than those who were not quarantined.

This review also showed overall higher numbers of mental health problems in those who had been quarantined (e.g., depression, insomnia, PTSD, irritability, stress, low mood, exhaustion, anger). “…the psychological impact of quarantine is wide-ranging, substantial, and can be long lasting” (Brooks et al, 2020).

We have to give one another room to manage this crisis in ways that fit for our lives and families. I’m grateful for those who are sharing homeschooling ideas AND for those who are sharing about the increased TV time and video games their kiddos are enjoying. We all need to do what we need to do to get by.

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