Positive Parenting in Uncertain Times.Part 7: Bursting the Bubble

Bursting the Bubble

Well, we are in Level 2 – we’ve all been told we can ‘burst our bubbles’. Step away from the protective shield that we have been in for over 8 weeks.

It’s a bit like a ‘Marvel’ movie. The attack of Covid 19 took hold and we were all told to stay home, stay in our bubble, this unseen shield will help protect us.

As responsible adults we wrapped around our vulnerable family members in the ‘bubble’. Those over 70, those with mental health illnesses, those pre or post-surgery, those physically unwell, those with low immunity, those dying and those experiencing loss. Hoping too that some one would have wrapped around the parents and/or caregiver, the one that ‘held’ those in the bubble together, the one that connected (via social media, Zoom, Phone, Face time etc.) with others outside of their bubbles.  

Now that are ‘bubbles have burst’ as parents and caregivers we are ‘free’ to choose what to do next…..Yes there are guide lines, yes there are very tight health and safety policies around ‘Keeping Safe’, yes there is a ‘new’ norm, which is hopefully going to still protect everyone we have wrapped around so tightly. Now there are ‘big’ decisions to be made. Especially regarding your children living with chronic illness. Do they attend school? How safe will it be?

Throughout this series of articles, I’ve covered feelings, emotions and change.

During Level two all those things are ‘ramped’ up. You want to do what is best for your child physically and mentally to keep them safe. Now you are asking yourself at what point will you be comfortable with your child socializing amongst that group of 10 people, at school, with their friends, at the mall, the restaurant and cinema?

You take advice from medical staff, IDFNZ and other professionals but ultimately, it’s up to you.

You are aware that the virus is still out there, ‘what if’s’ start to creep into your mind.

You start talking to others around you, others experiencing the same feelings, questions and thoughts. You are all faced with the same dilemmas.

The ‘Bubble’ has burst, there is a ‘new norm’ but you are still wanting to protect your child/ren – how do you do this?

I’d advise you to get support from those that care, those that have the facts, speak to schools, Kinde, Play Centers, ask to see the new Health and Safety Policies that specifically relate to Covid 19. Ask questions, lots of them until you are satisfied, they will be as safe as they can be. 

Speak to your child/ren about the importance of hand washing still, coughing and sneezing into the arm, ask their teacher for any social stories on ‘being safe’ outside of the bubble. Talk about social distancing still, hugging friends, touching surfaces……What you as a family are ‘happy’ for your child to do and not to do.

They will be seeing extended family and friends after several weeks and although excited, they (and you) may feel overcome with tears and can't explain why.....The long awaited hug may bring over a wash of emotions - it's OK. Continue to talk, to share, to express how you feel, continue to listen to your child and listen to your inner self. It's OK to ask for help.

Talk about change, grief and loss – as there will be a lot of this still occurring and going on even in Level 2. If your child goes back to school they will be grieving for the loss of the ‘old ways’ as I’m sure schools will be operating very differently – they may be reducing or stopping assemblies, camps, outings etc. I’m sure there will be more posters and information and discussion around hygiene and hand washing – this could cause some anxiety and Obsessive-Compulsive Tendencies (OCD) tendencies?

If a sibling (a sibling of a another who is unwell) goes to school or work, what measures will be put in place to make everyone feel safe and comfortable in relation to them returning home after a day in a different environment. Will there be a new family routine of showering upon returning home, washing uniforms more frequently, shoes off at the door etc. If they are new routines, talk to your child/ren. Introduce fun ways to carry out this new routine.  

The term ‘Resilience’ will be heard a lot, as I’m sure their teachers will talk to them about how they have become more and more resilient through this process – talk to your child about resilience, how do they feel they have managed so far and continue to manage.

‘Resilience is the psychological quality that allows some people to be knocked down by the adversities of life and come back at least as strong as before. Rather than letting difficulties, traumatic events, or failure overcome them and drain their resolve, highly resilient people find a way to change course, emotionally heal, and continue moving toward their goals.’

https://www.psychologytoday.com/nz/basics/resilience

Skylight in Wellington has some great resources around loss and grief and resilience currently.

https://www.skylight.org.nz/

*I’ll cover resilience more in next week’s articles

Activities

Use ‘Bubble’ mixtures to create bubbles – watch them burst – talk about what happens as it bursts.

You could all write a ‘family’ story “The Day your bubble burst” incorporate into this an ‘imaginative; family. However, make sure it has elements of your family, your life, your routine and values. Often children and young people will share more if it’s written and spoke about in the ‘third person’ (it feels safer for them) 

Remember to practice mindfulness, breathing, relaxation.

Create ‘social story’ around going back to school, socializing, leaving the bubble