Contributed by expert contributor: Joanne Jewell, Mindful Parenting Expert From Mindful ME
This week Joanne Jewell, Mindful Parenting Expert from Mindful ME, chatted with QiDZ mum, Sarah about Sarah’s struggles when it comes to reassuring her daughter around the current situation for Covid-19.
See Sarah’s question below:
My daughter is 12 and very conscious of everything that’s going on.
I am teaching her about the virus and reassuring her that things will be back to normal soon, but she isn’t sleeping and wants me next to her all the time.
I struggle with knowing how to reassure her and what’s the best way to keep checking in without creating more anxiety.
I am, however, trying accept I need to reset the expectations I have of myself.
Yes, dinner is pasta again, because that’s all I can manage again.
Some days I barely have the energy to be creative and feel guilty I am not giving my all to the virtual learning tasks like the mums I see on Instagram.
I’m just trying to tell myself that that’s okay.
Joanne’s Top Tips For Sarah
1) Acknowledge and validate your daughter’s feelings
Your daughter is at an age where she will be a lot more aware of what is going on around her, and this can create anxiety particularly if she feels that she has little or no control over what is happening.
Firstly, acknowledge and validate her feelings – it is worrying that we don’t have the answers.
And at the moment we have no idea when or if things will be normal again.
Our tendency is to try and rescue our children from their feelings.
However, what we need to do is help them put their feelings into words, and realize that all these feelings are normal and can feel uncomfortable – and that’s okay.
2) Encourage her to focus on what is within her control
When she feels calmer, ask her what she thinks she could do that would make her feel a little better.
Encourage her to focus on what is within her control, eg. choosing what she reads in the news or on social media.
Choosing to take care of both her mind and her body with exercise, healthy food, having fun, playing, keeping in contact with friends and family, and also helping her to understand what is outside of her control.
3) Choose what to talk about
Instead of asking her ‘What’s wrong?’ What’s the matter?’ or ‘How are you feeling?’, you could talk about:
What you’ve both chosen to do today
How her choices impact how she feels
Take note of how both of your choices impact on how you both feel, and talk about things you could do together that you both enjoy – playing a board game, dancing around the lounge, making dinner together etc…
4) It’s okay to share that you also struggle
And then talk about what you do that helps you.
Share that it’s okay to have days when you don’t have a lot of energy and how you can help each other.
5) Practice self-compassion
Recognize that whatever you are doing is okay and that she will have feelings that will be difficult. It is not your fault or your responsibility to take these feelings away.
As Brene Brown shares with us:
“I will want to take away your pain but instead I will sit with you and teach you how to feel it”.
Join Joanne’s Workshop on Saturday 23 May at 9am where she will be discussing: ‘Exploring Parenting & Anxiety’.
She will be sharing more tips in the workshop, so be sure to join. Find out more on QiDZ here.
Joanne is a Mindful Parenting expert, couples and individual therapist who has worked with parents and children in schools and privately in Dubai for the past 15 years.
UK qualified, Joanne offers private online & workshop sessions to support parents on a range of topics. Check out Joanne’s upcoming online weekly workshops on QiDZ here as well as details for how to reach her for a private online consultation. You can also find more information on: https://mindfulme.me/mindful-parenting/