Our team has put together informational resources and guides to support parents during COVID time. We intend to keep you informed and fully equipped for the best communication with your children. Our programme will assist parents and carers in reducing worry and stress. It will contain articles, factsheets, videos and daily tips.
You could read more articles by Daniela Ș., Psychologist
Why do we need suffering?
Life events sometimes put us in unexpected situations, which we are not ready to face and for which we have to build our wings in flight.
Today I want to talk about the case when our children are brutally faced with the loss of a close person, which, even if they are not part of the family, means a lot to them, is a landmark and maybe even a model.
No matter what the schooling options are, online or with a physical presence, the suffering of children is experienced in the same way. Physical distance does not mean emotional distance. Maybe quite the opposite.
Why are rules so hard to respect? I asked 16-year-old Anna.
That is how rules make me feel, she answered.
These last months, characterized by indeterminate isolation, panic over rare sources and information overload, have been a breeding ground for uncontrolled anxiety. Parents and adolescents turned to the psychologist for intense episodes of panic attacks.
The idea for this article was suggested to me by a teenager who compared his condition during a panic attack to the feeling he has when he cannot solve the steps to get out of the Escape Room.
The instinctive response to a panic attack is one that makes the problem bigger than Goliath. The way to overcome panic attacks requires behaviours that are quite different from what we usually do. By keeping the same pattern, we will get the same result. If you are looking for effective solutions to reduce and then eliminate panic attacks, try to look for the ones that are right and appropriate for you.
One of the most productive ways to work with panic attacks in therapy is to answer the following questions, firstly: What panic means to me?
Find your sense of humour and write the answers down on paper, then read further.
Most of my clients describe it in terms of:
- a big, scary trap
- a small, dark room where they cannot breathe
- a huge hand holding their throat
- a big, big stone right on their chest
- a crazy carousel that cannot be stopped
When for various reasons, we have to spend more time than usual with our children, things that we used to put in the background become visible and generate many questions, even perplexities. We look at our children and wonder why they behave in a certain way, and we try to discover the reasons why. Sometimes it's very hard to find them. But if we turn the mirror towards ourselves, we may be surprised to find the answers we are looking for staring directly back at us.
Anca is 40 years old and the mother of a 9-year-old girl, Sonia. She is also the one who inspired me to write this short article after she told me the following story:
"During the isolation period, more than ever, Sonia came and woke me up in the morning. Almost every time I told her: 'please don't wake me up so early'. Suddenly, I realised that I sounded just like Sonia when I had to wake her up for school."
As many behavioural manifestations of our adolescents have found suitable ground during this period of isolation, the cases that come to a therapist's office, highlight aspects that often reach critical levels. The tools that parents previously considered effective, are now proving to be much weaker in these new conditions. This is also the case with ODD behaviour.
Teenagers all around the world behave similarly, and it is widely known that it is part of their development to oppose authority. Often they express this opposition by arguing, disobeying, or talking back to adults. When this behaviour becomes excessive compared to what is usual for their age, we are probably confronted with a type of behaviour disorder called an 'oppositional defiant disorder' or ODD.
This behaviour often disrupts daily activities, including those within the family structure and at school. Associated with ODD, we also find other behavioural problems: attention deficit disorder, learning disabilities, mood disorders and anxiety disorders.
Mommy, why are you sleeping with my daddy?
During the period of isolation imposed by the emergence of Covid, many of the unresolved problems of the parent-child relationship or couple's relationships have worsened. The extended time spent together has put the spotlight on vulnerabilities and blockages in communication. One of the problems that several mothers addressed during this period to the therapist is related to children still sleeping in their parents' bed, even up to a relatively advanced age. If finding a solution to this problem before isolation was postponed for whatever reason, parents then assumed that during this time together, it would have been much easier to solve the problem.When that didn't happen, parents began to wonder what was actually stopping them from taking action.
The New Normal
The decision to close all schools to slow down the spread of the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 keeps us all safe and well. We have been asked to stay at home and to practice social/physical distancing. It is a very unusual situation, never faced before, but we have to follow the right advice to get through this. This pandemic has changed everyone’s daily routines.
Children and adolescents may be struggling with these changes. They will miss their friends, school routine and extra-curricular activities. We are all in a period of adjustment, where we have to find appropriate things that can help us and our children overcome this temporary setback. Children and young people need more support to give them a sense of control of their lives. Routines and schedules are ways to helping them and to let them feel more secure and reassured.
You could read more articles about coping with children during this period:
A Trauma Psychologist Weighs In On The Risks Of 'Motivational' Pressure During Quarantine
A "motivational" message has been circulating during the coronavirus lockdown, which is allegedly supposed to kick our butts into gear since most of us now have more time on our hands.
Mental Health and Psychosocial Considerations
In January 2020 the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the outbreak of a new coronavirus disease, COVID-19, to be a Public Health Emergency of International Concern. WHO stated that there is a high risk of COVID-19 spreading to other countries around the world.
How To Protect Your Mental Health
All of this is taking its toll on people's mental health, particularly those already living with conditions like anxiety and OCD. So how can we protect our mental health?