Parenting during a crisis

As a parent, this can be a tough time. There is no doubt we are in uncharted territory. As a society we have faced pandemics in the past, but this time it is different.  We don’t have many places to turn for advice, because this kind of event has not happened in our lifetime. How do you parent through a crisis?

W are seeing governments across the globe ordering their citizens to stay home. Here in the US, business have been ordered closed, people have been told to stay home, schools are closing their doors for the remainder of the school year and moving to digital platforms. Parents are finding themselves teachers in their own homeschool.  We turn on the news to see the number of people infected with the virus rise, as well as watch the death count increase. 

Fear is running rampant.

Do a quick google search to see a list of Top Fears. I did that and I see a common thread through the various lists.  Among the top ten fears people have are:

Fear of

  • sickness
  • death
  • loneliness
  • not enough money for the future
  • being judged by others

Are you familiar with Maslov’s Hierarchy of needs? From a psychology perspective it is a list of basic human needs that we all have. Many of the basic needs fall into a few categories, such as physiological (food, water, shelter) and safety (health, employment).

When looking at this list of basic needs, guess what? Many of them overlap with the greatest fears. With the crisis we are all facing, many of our basic needs feel threatened, therefore we become afraid.

It’s no surprise that some of our greatest fears of humans come from the things we need the most (or the lack of these things).

Parenting during a crisis

And if you look at the circumstances out there right now, there are so many unknowns regarding our basic needs and our greatest fears. The current COVID-19 situation is hitting close to home in one way or another for so many people. Because of the nature of circumstances, there are multiple top fears and basic needs that are affected.   

People are losing their jobs. People are getting sick. Loved ones are dying. We are quarantined and not permitted to meet in groups (loneliness).

So, as a parent you are personally dealing with very real fears on a daily basis. Anxiety about the future is at an all time high. And your kids are home from school with you. You can’t follow your normal routine to help deal with the stress you are experiencing. They can’t follow their own normal routine. Very little about our lives are ‘normal’ right now.

Are your kids excited about an extended ‘vacation’ from school? We know that is not the case, but that is what they may be feeling. Sure, school may look different, but the requirements are lighter and the day is shorter, and they are home. So from their perspective, they have an extra long summer break.

If that’s what your kids are thinking- good for you! That means that the fear and anxiety you may be feeling have not transferred to them. Kids will often take their lead from you as the parent. If you express your fear, they will pick up those same fears.

Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

Matt 6:34

Tips on Parenting during a crisis:

Don’t compare yourself to others. Your family is unique. What works for one family doesn’t work for others. Right now, focus on what works best for you and your family. Celebrate your success based on your family and don’t compare your success with other families.

Cut yourself some slack. Remember: in this crisis no one knows what to do or how to do it. We have never been in this situation before. There is no one size fits all solution to the situation you are facing. As a parent, I have to believe you are doing your best. That is what we need to keep in mind. We don’t have to be perfect. We don’t have to have it all together. But we need to do our best. Things are different, situations change, we adapt. Today may not work out so well, but you can improve tomorrow. Do the best you can. That is all you can do.

Talk to your kids. Check in and see how they are doing, especially if they are at an age that they understand some of the situation. You have your fears, and they likely have some of their own. Talking through them will help you both. (check out this list of resources to help you talk to your kids during the crisis)

Pray together. It is said that the Bible says do not fear 365 times. That is one time for every day of the year. If you need, look up some of those verses, read them together, and pray that God would help you work through your fear. Check out this Family Resource Pack if you are interested in a collection of faith based family activities.

Make the most of your time together. Once this is over, you will likely never have this kind of time with your family again. Make memories together. Play games and do some puzzles. Go for walks together. Cook together. No matter how stressed of frustrated you are, try to appreciate the blessing of extra time you have now. Take advantage of it. We all know how fast our kids grow up. For all of us, time just slowed down, and we have more time to spend some quality time together without the business of life getting in the way.

How are you dealing with all of the recent changes? Leave a comment or send me a message and let me know.

Here are a few of the sites I used when looking up the top fears:
Amazon #1 image

Are you looking for more great family devotion resources? Check out an Amazon #1 best selling children’s ministry book: Got Fruit: a guide to family devotions based on the fruit of the spirit.

Your child’s relationship with God must extend beyond Sunday morning. Parents have to take a leading role in the discipleship of their kids. Based on the Fruit of the Spirit, Got Fruit? is an effective tool to help parents disciple their children. If you are looking for help with your family devotion time, Got Fruit? is for you! Through this devotional you will be guided through discussions that build on each of the 9 fruits of the spirit. Each of the 9 devotionals include bible passages that highlight the highlighted fruit as well as a few related thoughts. Also included is a series of discussion questions that will help you guide your children in a conversation to bring truth and understanding. This short devotional is a perfect tool to guide you as you disciple your children into a deeper relationship and understanding with God.

About the Author

Ron is happily married to his best friend, and dad to the best daughter you could imagine. As a teacher and children's pastor, he has over 20 years experience of teaching, leading, writing, creating and consulting. He has written for churches, contributed to several collaborative publications, and written a #1 Best Selling Devotional, Got Fruit? on Amazon. His blog is consistantly listed in the Top 40 Children's Ministry Blogs and Websites. Don't hesitate to ask if you think he could help you and your ministry in any way.

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