As we are all contending with coronavirus disease, you might begin to think that things are falling apart, and you feel too tired to make things work. Truly, you are not alone in your thoughts, but you don’t have to continue feeling like you can’t make things work anymore. That will only set a precedent for things not to work – because nobody is working on them.
Times are even more trying for parents, as they have to deal with work and bills while looking out for their kids who are now mostly at home 24/7. The stress goes a notch higher if there is a teenager or young adult with an active addiction at home or recovery. If you wish to run your home as smoothly as possible, you have to remain level-headed and strong.
Now is a good time to exercise the basic instincts of survival, and in this case, survival means adapting to the new normal. As a parent, you have to keep doing all the right things you have been doing, but with a few more enhancements.
How Do I Maintain Balance At Home During The Pandemic?
First off, you need to understand that age disparity amongst your kids can determine how they react to events during the COVID-19 Period. Children below ten years (especially below five years) old might become more demanding and require lots of attention. The pre-teens become more explorative, and the teenagers might just want to be left alone, or even become rebellious. Try to understand how the pandemic affects each of your kids, their behavioral changes, and how best you can interact with them.
Despite the seemingly overwhelming challenges, you can apply certain strategies to help everyone at home adapt to the new normal.
- Take time to relax
There are natural limits to which your mind and body have been conditioned – worrying or overworking yourself in a bid to get things right, without resting can put your body in overdrive. By taking care of yourself, you put yourself in a better position to take care of your kids. Get yourself some peaceful me-time daily, even if it’s just 15 minutes spent taking a walk.
- Create a structure that solves problems and unites
It is obvious that things are not as they used to be; the kids are at home, and you are probably working from home. We are all living with a schedule that we never anticipated at the beginning of the year. Nevertheless, the order has to be maintained. Ensure that the kids are enrolled and attending their online classes, and help them with their schoolwork when you can.
That aside, you can have a family meeting, where everyone can layout ideas on what they think should be done. Parents who have these conversations with their kids find it easier to create a daily schedule that incorporates appropriately engaging activities that everyone in the family can enjoy. Thus, nobody feels left alone, and the family bond becomes tightened.
- Special attention for a child struggling with substance use
If you have a child with substance addiction or one in recovery, it might be necessary to give them extra attention. For their benefit, you should try to learn and educate your kid on the risks of indulging addictive substances during COVID-19. Do your best to eliminate triggers that encourage substance use at home, and create participatory activities that keep everyone active as much as possible.
It might sound like a lot to do, and depending on other daily engagements you have at hand, it might actually be a lot to do. If you find yourself being stressed out by the extra responsibility of keeping your child off drugs, you should seek professional help.
It is best to register with a certified rehab center that provides family mediation and virtual assistance for those in recovery and active addicts. You can also go through the center’s options to opt for other evidence-based services that have been helping families manage a loved one’s addiction during COVID-19.
- Isolation not disconnection
Isolation doesn’t mean that you lose touch with people; neither should your kids. As much as you should create time to contact people who matter, your kids should also stay connected with their friends. The new normal is such that kids now have to miss school, extra-curricular activities they used to engage in, and their friends.
Liaise with the parents of your kid’s friends to create plans that help the kids keep in touch and converse with their mates occasionally, through either video calls or virtual games. Though you might make an exceptional companion for your kids, it shouldn’t displace their relationship with their friends.
- Make everyone’s wellbeing a priority
You are all at home all day, every day. What’s there to do other than to eat and sit around all day? Well, instead of letting yourself and the kids go off on a steady indulgence of junks and a sedentary lifestyle, you can craft a healthy diet plan and an exercise routine to follow daily.
As a response to the pandemic’s strain, it is easy to find comfort in being a couch potato and indulging unhealthy eating habits. Both are habits that can compromise your kid’s immune system and repress their mental acuity and emotional balance. It would help if you protected their physical and mental wellbeing through healthy diets and physical exercises.
Teens who had a substance addiction but are now in recovery might find it harder to cope mentally and physically, as they have a lot of free time in their hands. Intense cravings can be a serious issue for such a child. As a coping mechanism, they might begin to seek ways to get ‘high’ through sugar-laden foods, prescription drugs, and other substances they can find at home. While you might be able to curtail the sugar-laden foods, you might not be able to control other substances they might fall back on.
If you notice or confirm that your child is relapsing to drug use again, it might be best to seek the help of addiction recovery professionals. Enroll them in a sober living facility that follows all precautionary health and safety measures to ensure the safety and full recovery of their residents during the coronavirus pandemic.
- Check the tension
If left unchecked, tempers are bound to flare, and misunderstandings are bound to linger. Due to various factors presented by the pandemic, most of us are now prone to stress and frustration at the slightest chance of it. Some insignificant things your kids might do can get you incredibly ignited, and you might find yourself laying out your pent up frustrations on them.
Make a conscious effort to control yourself whenever you are about to go off on the kids. Take some moments to breathe and calm your nerves. Disengage yourself from the situation, and ensure you make amends with your kids when everyone has cooled off.
Bear in mind that your kids are also prone to these frustrations, and it can affect their behavior – they might become defiant. For the sake of everyone, it is your responsibility as a parent to maintain peace at home. Doing daily mindfulness and meditation exercises can help you control the tensions better.
On a final note
COVID-19 is a big challenge for everyone, but we can always live through it. Do as much as you can to protect yourself and the kids from the virus. If you are under a lot of pressure, find suitable mindfulness and meditation exercises you can fix into your daily schedule, to help calm your nerves. Don’t opt for overdrinking or use of substances as an escape from reality. Using substances puts you at risk of substance addiction, and you might be setting a bad example for the kids while at it. Bear in mind that it is hard to hide such activities from kids when you are almost always home.
Also, if your child is wallowing in addiction and you can’t help their situation anymore, seek professional help. Medically-supervised drug detox in an addiction recovery center that follows an evidence-based approach is a good first step to getting clean.