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  • Writer's pictureDr. Tyffani Dent

Parenting During the Pandemic

I am the mother of two amazing girls (NOTE: amazing is relative as sometimes, they do work my nerves). I am also a trained clinical psychologist who has as one of my areas of specialty, working with children and adolescents who have experienced trauma.

During this time of Stay-At-Home orders and concerns about spreading of COVID19, I am finding that my divergent roles are converging as I attempt to navigate the world of having my children live through a traumatic experience that is filled with grief, loss, and uncertainty.

Existing within this COVID19 time, I have come to recognize that the traumas that I have worked so hard to shield my children from are occurring in this moment. They have experienced the loss of moments.

Field trips

End-of-year parties

Studying with friends


We must realize that our children are also dealing with grief reactions---for what they can never get back.

Because grief is personal.

It is the loss of things hoped for

The premature ending of dreams worked for

Commencements planned and cancelled

Sporting seasons that did not occur

Tournaments that were left without completion

Prom attire not worn

And yet, in this time, they are still being expected to function

To act as if studying in front of a computer screen or completing an educational packet is the same as attending the brick and mortar classrooms where they had their own desk, filled with their own folders, seated beside their own friends

To stay within the walls of their homes because it is safer

While also not being able to have the space to address the fears that go with not being safe

Within times of trauma, we talk about finding those who can support you and being connected

But our kids are being told to “social distance” and those from whom they previously sought physical comfort are now not permitted in their space

Sometimes, only available as a voice over a telephone

They are suffering. They are experiencing this trauma with us. Yet, unlike us, the world is not really set up to give their voices room to speak.

Because we are too busy trying to survive ourselves.

In all of this, I look at my children. I spend time with them (individually so they know that they have my undivided attention)

I ask them how they are doing with all of the day-to-day changes

I normalize their fears

their disappointments

Their grief

I ask what they need to feel less stress, less fear,

More hope

And I listen to their responses

The psychologist in me knows that they are experiencing trauma and deserve to have it acknowledged and addressed

The mother in me chooses to do what I can

Just to make them feel ok

Dr. Dent is a licensed psychologist. Her hardest job is being a Black Woman who centers the experiences of Black women and girls. She is grateful for the opportunity to parent two awesome Black girls---even through COVID19 and homeschooling

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