How to remain a “positive” parent during confinement? How to support your brats, how to protect yourself, what good attitudes to adopt? Isabelle Filliozat, psychotherapist and author of I have tried everything (JC Lattès, 2011), helped popularize positive parenting and caring education.
Nana mom: At home (teleworking) with 2½ year old twins and a 7 year old girl, how do you organize it so that everyone can find it?
It’s mission impossible! This is the first thing to do. Cool ! No need to put pressure. At 7 years old, she can be a little independent, but 2 and a half year old twins, it’s super addictive and 100% attention constantly, no question of teleworking. You can organize half-day tours and telecommute while the other parent takes care of the children.
Peony: My eldest son (14) is silent and subject to mood swings since confinement. He sometimes did not join the rest of the family (two children 11 and 3 years old as well as their father, my spouse) for meals…
His behavior is much of his age. At 14, mood swings are natural. Let’s measure all the transformations that occur in his body and in his head! It’s healthy that he doesn’t join the rest of the family from time to time. At his age, he needs to start to distance himself, and above all, it must be particularly difficult for him at times to mix with an 11-year-old child, because he sees himself younger. Getting out of the situation allows him not to be exasperated and violent. This is how he manages it.
Yannou: Following the CP program is not easy for our little wolf who does not want to work at home! Is it systematic to offer systematic rewards to encourage children to go to work?
It is certainly not easy to follow a program. Yes, the house is the house. School is school. Frankly, you can really let go of the program to focus on executive skills (the ability to choose, decide, inhibit an action …) while playing. It will be more useful to him.
The rewards are counterproductive. The child needs more and more to get to work and this extinguishes what is called intrinsic motivation, that is to say in this case the taste for learning! The more the reward, the less the child will like to work to work, to learn to learn. He will start to work for a reward and will always want more.
Groundhog: Should we share our anxieties with our children, for example the professional problems linked to the crisis?
It depends on their age. But in general, the answer is yes. Otherwise, they are even more anxious because they perceive the tensions without being able to understand them. Children don’t need us to be perfect, carefree and answer everything: they need to see how we solve problems. We explain the situation in simple words, then we share our feelings and say what we are going to do to regulate them and deal with the situation.
Mélojulien: How can you explain to children that there is a time for parents’ teleworking and that you have to be calm during this time (sometimes long)? Can we give rules to our children, without always having to take into account their emotions? Because sometimes, especially in confinement, we just want them to obey.
I’m not going to tell you how to explain when there is no point in explaining! No (mental) explanation will help them meet their needs. With small children, telecommuting is downright complicated. All the bosses (I hope) realize that you can’t work at home with small children. Solidarity is also that. So in practical terms, a few options:
- properly fill the “tank” of the front child by playing with him while being fully present to him for 20 minutes;
- regularly, every 10 or 20 minutes (depending on the age of the child), you say a word to him, go behind him to give him a little massage of a second, a kiss …
If you come to him regularly, he will be calm and suddenly you will come to disturb you less.
Milia: Two children, 6 and 8 years old, business manager, a husband who works a lot because there is so much activity in this period of crisis … I can’t take it any more. What to do ?
Not easy ! Already a good duffel battle with the kids. Then cook together and not for them. Involve them in all household tasks which will no longer be “tasks”, but games to keep the house.
Children will love to participate (unless asked to help out and do household chores). And head over to Childhood & covid.com for other options. And if you feel that you are likely to crack (or before) you can call 0805 827 827. We have just created this toll free number with a few friends to respond precisely to these situations. Courage!
Tired mother: My children (two boys aged 4 and 8) have been fighting and fighting frequently since the start of confinement. I am alone with them in a small apartment. How can I not end up constantly in the middle of their arguments?
You will benefit from organizing the fights: we choose a schedule, a time, a ring (the bed or we specify a space on the ground with cushions) and we set the timer. Fight ? Ready ? Go! When the fight is organized, it limits violence because children tend to respect the rules.
Violet: After 3 weeks of confinement, our teens continue to work seriously on weekdays but get depressed because they don’t see their friends. Not necessarily easy to cheer them up.
Why the need to cheer them up? Empathy will be enough! We need to learn to bear that our children are not always radiant with happiness. It’s natural to get depressed! We can take advantage of this to advance our emotional intelligence. Instead of fighting against depression, we welcome it, we taste it, we feel it …
This is learning to live. Learn also to suffer without being destroyed by suffering!
Mu: After the first three weeks of pretty successful confinement with my two children, I recently became irritable, mainly due to professional concerns. How to manage to recover from the distance between work and my private life?
Great to watch this irritability going up. It’s the first thing, to be aware of what’s going on inside us. This prevents us from projecting it excessively onto our surroundings. We are a “. One cannot “put distance” between two parts of oneself without damage. Perhaps you would benefit from integrating your children more and sharing your concerns with them? If they are small, you could play with them, with figurines, with their cuddly toys at “mom (or dad) work”, by making them play a situation at the center of your current concerns. Who knows, it might even help you think about it differently?
Mom LH: How to avoid trauma in children knowing that they are far from their bearings (class, nanny, friends, activities) and can hardly go out to spend their time to change their minds?
They are experiencing trauma, yes, but there will be trauma only if their emotions are not heard, if they cannot work out this situation. Our job is to help them get the best out of it, an education, help them bring out their inner resources! And of course, accompany their emotions and nourish them with love! And note all the little moments of joy in the day, because there are, of course!
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