Have you been at your worst with your kids during the pandemic?
Have you been at your worst with your kids during the pandemic?

Have you been at your worst with your kids during the pandemic?

Lately, I have had a lot of parents calling in, laden with guilt, treating me a little bit like a confession box.

The pandemic has pushed many parents to the edge of intolerance and frustration with their children, who find themselves at the receiving end of anger outbursts, anxiety attacks or melancholia. Parents are shattered in the face of their own inability to get a grip on their emotional demonstrations in the worst forms. Screaming, hitting, slapping, spanking, dissing, criticising and/or avoiding our kids was never part of anyone’s plan.

Last week, one mother wept through most of her session, sharing that her anger had been out of control, calling herself a monster. Another mom confessed she hides herself in the bathroom every dinner time, as by the end of the day she just can’t handle her twins anymore. A father said he was ashamed of threatening his son with a shoe in his hand, when the little guy threw a ball at him to catch during a meeting. One mother messaged me saying, “I have read all the books I need, I know all the do’s and don’ts, rights and wrongs, but I still slip. It kills me to see my child’s face after I have removed my frustration on him. “

The periodic cycle of anger, frustration, guilt, sadness, exhaustion, leading back to anger, has thrown many off, despite the deluge of parenting wisdom around.

While we are intellectually aware, emotionally adept and behaviourally in control the most we can, the heat of the pandemic has gotten to most families. With patience running out, a lot to do in a day and no solace in sight, we can all relate to and empathise with each other’s high strung reactions to people around us. There is no question that children are being exposed to undesirable tumult.

Can there be some simple corrective action? Can the impact of this ever be undone? Will children be traumatised for life or can we help them get over it? Truth is we never know. But we have to try.

There are a few scientific and psychological constructs that we can pin hope on to believe that the trauma caused to children due to the emerging and increasing impulsivity amongst parents, can be reversed, repaired or limited.

While aggravated or in a emotionally aroused state, children often do not differentiate between negative or positive attention. This means that even if you are shouting at a crying child, they do not get impacted by the words or the volume, but in fact may feel comforted […]

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