Talking to kids about Corona-virus....
If it is not safe 'out there', lets focus on strength within ourselves
I have delayed making this blog, believing others to be more capable or just avoiding facing things. But things are escalating a lot and I know several families who have lost someone to the virus and many others who have older family members they are worried about both near and far. Added to this the world news is hard to hear and our children are exposed to it.
So the big things to remember are…
· Give facts AND feelings…. Both children and parents are allowed to share and talk about people being scared, and acknowledge the irritations of restrictions, and being disappointed to do less and nervous of contagion. All these are real and inside us, but better when pulled to the surface.
· Get real about feelings – some are created by what is real and others are arise from our imagination running into ‘what next’ and ‘what is worse’ and ‘what we can’t cope with’ so really looking hard at our negative feelings helps us to see the fine line between which of them are showing up in this moment, authentically, and which are moving into drama or denial and dealing with the ‘what if’..in our head.
· Connect and communicate– what we can talk about we can deal with better
…so it is ok to ask and answer questions, or even have a white board with information and uncertanties there for all to see as a shared experience. Don't keep parent worries to yourself – your children will feel your concerns and have nothing to attach that to…which is very uncomfortable. Be together in this, share and its ok for big people to seek small comforts from little people, and visa versa.
· Keep a wide picture, it's not personal, it is shared by many.
It is helpful to think of the whole of humanity managing the same feelings arising within you or your child. Humanity is many and varied and this means a whole variety of strengths and solutions will arise across the globe… diversity is great but we are not different at heart, we are all in this together and showing our children the solidarity of communities and nations is a wonderful way to see the evolution of spirit.
· Remember from great trauma grows great strength – the people of this planet have endured huge hardships and we are still here. There is pain and pleasure, loss and gain and for every bad experience humankind find ways to keep going and to survive…and even thrive after adversity. We have a choice whether to look at the dangers or the ways we defend them, the sorrows or the strengths, so try to get the message across that we can balance the bad with great caring and good.
· Deal with daily difficulties –sometimes we have to shrink back from the global perspective and move into the minutae of the shear irritation of living within limits. It's ok for frustrations to show up and working with them, planning for releasing them safely and being compassionate about anger that arises from anxiety is very important. Have a ‘complain session’ or play wrestling games, shout out 5 things you hate about the situation or write a letter to the universe saying what it could do better…. Express and allow feelings in healthy ways
· Build small skills – patience, courage, understanding….
Pro-actively making posters and sharing small celebrations of the strengths we can see in one another. This raises a sense of gratitude for our coping rather than grumps for the moments of not managing.
· Talk about the future when this abates… when we have learnt more, when we are into recovery…. envision the world ready to grow from this or settle back to itself. Generate the sense of time passing… and how we will view this from next year or what our kids will tell their kids in the future. This unites us in a sense of expectancy, ‘this too shall pass’.
Wishing you resilience