Is that a light shining brightly at the end of that tunnel ahead? Covid restrictions are being lifted everywhere, and we are all moving at various speeds towards the new normal. For our children, it is back to socializing with friends (or for the toddlers, learning how to socialize with friends), fully in-person classes now or in the fall, maybe a summer of mask-less outdoor play. As we parents feel our way into this “new normal”, how are our children coping with moving out of the cocoons they’ve been in for the past year? There are likely to be some stressful moments for our kids (and us) for a while, whether our kids are inclined to rush back to their friends and their pre-Covid lives or would prefer to remain in semi-solitude. How can we help them manage the stress? In this week’s GCP podcast episode we explore this with our pediatric stress expert, Stanford University’s Dr. Victor Carrión.
In Managing the Transition to Post-Pandemic Life with Dr. Victor Carrión, we get some great tools to help our children through this transition period. Dr. Carrión offers an age-specific guide to recognizing signs of stress overload and advice on what to do about it and when to call in additional help if necessary. This is an episode parents of kids of all ages won’t want to miss.
As you’ll see in my exchange below with Dr. Carrión from this episode, he understands that some parents may be uncomfortable with having these kinds of talks with their kids, and offers ways into the conversations:
CSL: What about if you have a parent who isn’t so much in touch with that ability [to talk about feelings] themselves? I mean, there are many parents who are feeling so much stress and anxiety from their own circumstances and stress and anxiety for what they are not able to do for or with their children. But there are also people who are fairly distrustful of the concept of therapy and therapeutic advice and parents who feel like it’s better not to open that Pandora’s box or a can of worms because it makes the child uncomfortable and it makes the parent uncomfortable. I wonder whether parents should try to put that aside. I mean, if we’re looking at these statistics where children are increasingly feeling this pressure and depression, is it time for parents to sort of put aside their own feelings about talking and feeling and emoting to help their kids? And how would you suggest they try to do that?
VC: So first, let’s take our own pulse. Let’s see how we are doing before we try to help anybody, because the healthier we are, the more apt we’re going to be to help our kids. So if we are feeling very stressed, there’s an opportunity through modeling to actually teach kids how to take care of themselves without having that conversation. If you don’t want to have that conversation…kids are watching us. So just by saying that you’re eating right, that you’re trying to sleep right, that you are exercising, that you are talking about your own feelings, that modeling will help them because they will emulate what works for the parents.
And in terms of addressing or not addressing something, avoidance can be helpful. Sometimes you can say, you know what, I have too much going on today. I cannot handle it. I am going to do it this weekend. But then you really have to do it this weekend. You cannot keep delaying it. You cannot keep avoiding the conversation or talking about your feelings because avoidance is never a solution.
Listen to my latest episode Managing the Transition to Post-Pandemic Life with Dr. Victor Carrión here or find it on your favorite streaming platform. And please don’t forget to subscribe, rate and review #GCP Podcast!