As we move towards the latter phases of social rules for quarantine, most of us are considering how we are going to get back to work and our children back to school. Here are some thoughts for supporting your children. Children up to and around the age of 12 It is reassuring to believe that children are resilient and get over things quickly. However, children are more complicated than this. They are intimately aware of what is going on around them, especially the reactions and feelings of their loved ones. They internalise and process this information before developing their own responses. These responses are the building blocks of a developing personality. Some therapists call this Attachment theory. It may be helpful to regularly discuss what is going on without using alarming language. Be honest but reassuring; acknowledge the feelings they may have and do not dismiss them. Find out from the school, nursery and childcare the proposed process of how it plans to open and discuss this with your children so they can visualise what will happen. Include their travel arrangements. Humans need to feel safe and supported. Nothing gives greater reassurance than hugging your children.
Teenage children Psychologists suggest that teenagers continue their psychological and emotional development but are not yet fully developed. They have the capacity to understand but perhaps not yet the life experience to support their considerations. Their behaviours can seem extreme or disengaged because their brains are developing at an accelerated pace. There are excellent websites to support teenagers understand anxiety, stress and depression and offer appropriate and safe support. Humans are family based social creatures. To be physically near is to feel safe.
Check in with your teenage children regularly even if they do not want to talk. Ask how they are feeling. Be honest about how you feel while remembering they are still children and emotionally vulnerable. They may not show it; however, their developing personalities will be exposed to a positive and secure environment. Offer and be willing to listen at any time in a non-judgemental way. Non-judgement does not mean non-boundaried. And of course, nothing gives greater reassurance than hugging your children. Teenagers can make this difficult, but at an important emotional level they will internalise and appreciate this display of love and safety. Many therapists will offer compelling reasons to invest in their type of therapy. Choose the therapy and therapist you feel speaks to you.