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