The COVID-19 outbreak has put many families the unique situation of all being at home at the same time for an extended period of time. This containment can create restlessness, irritability and stress among parents, caregivers and children.
In this unprecedented, and extraordinarily stressful, time, those of us who work with children know that the risk of child abuse can go up.
Parents are under an enormous amount of stress right now – whether it’s from being stuck inside for many hours every day or the financial stress that so many of us are facing. Add that to the stress of having children home from school and underfoot 24/7 and it can feel very overwhelming.
At Children’s Minnesota, we know that after a disaster, such as the current COVID-19 outbreak, occurs, child abuse rates can go up. It’s natural for parents to feel frustrated, and to feel even more frustrated that they are getting frustrated!
Tips to maintain balance as a stressed parent
Use these tips to maintain balance and keep your cool during this challenging time.
Try to provide structure for your children. Children crave routines and habits. Tell them at the beginning of each day, or even week, what they are going to be doing so they know what to expect. This can ward off temper tantrums and outbursts.
Take some time for yourself, especially if your children are making you feel angry or frustrated. This can be as simple as going to another room to take a break.
Forgive yourself for not being a “perfect parent.” There’s no road map for navigating this event. We are all figuring it out as we go.
Remember that physical discipline is not an effective form of punishment. It may temporarily startle your child into giving you the desired response, but it ultimately teaches your child that violence is the appropriate method for getting results. Try alternative methods of discipline, such as time-outs or taking away privileges.
Reach out for support
Children’s Minnesota knows parenting can be extremely overwhelming and can sometimes feel impossible. But, we also know we can help you get through those difficult times. Children’s Minnesota offers a Parent Warmline, a call-in support line for parents looking for someone to talk to that understands them. If you ever feel overwhelmed or frustrated to the point of physical harm, please don’t hesitate to call 612-813-6336 and someone at Children’s Minnesota will support you.