Parenting During the Pandemic

"Psychologist and Play Therapist Sezgi Şentürk Direm wrote about how we should treat ourselves and our children in the world changing with the pandemic."

ne day we woke up and discovered that nothing would be the same. A dangerous virus spread everywhere from the streets to our neighbors, and we had to protect our family. Just then we quarantined at home. We cleaned everything to avoid bringing the virus home. Our eyes were on the news. We did not know what was happening outside. What would happen that day, were the measures taken sufficient, how many of us were sick? We weren’t prepared. We were experiencing a collective trauma and anxious about how we would overcome it. New symptoms of the virus appeared every single day. There was a rapid spread of misinformation. Most importantly, how would we tell our children about the coronavirus? Almost every work I read or watched during this period was very functional and valuable. But we were exposed to new information every second. Just browsing through this information could be the trigger for coronaphobia, which spreads faster than the virus.

Fortunately, those days have passed and now we know what to do. Even after taking the necessary measures, we should be aware of the fact that following the COVID-19 news and spending time on social media drives us near to anxiety and panic. Anxiety and panic have an adverse effect not only on our mood but also on our immune system. It is rather difficult for us to pay attention to our children and focus on our work while struggling with these emotions as adults. When we ask, “What’s happening to me?” to ourselves and find peace in our inner world, we can focus our attention on another area we want. Only in this way can we free ourselves from anxiety and panic.

We had virtual coffee breaks with our friends, read books to each other, learned recipes to boost our morale during the pandemic process. These were our sources of motivation. How about our children? They played games, danced, or helped in the kitchen. Sometimes they cried because they want to go out. Many emotional changes and strains… This was sometimes difficult and sometimes fun for our children who had opportunities to spend time with their parents. Perhaps most families have never been this close. We got to know each other all over again. While we, as adults, could find different sources to turn to for information, our children turned to us. As parents, we could not tell them anything we did not know. We could not say that one day this would be over, and everything would be the same as before. Because we didn’t know and still don’t.

Personally, when I searched for things to benefit my child, there is only one thing I found: “my care”. Along with that, my space and time to accompany her emotions. I can laugh with her when she has fun, I can say I’m here and hug her when she’s scared. When she is sad, I can be there for her. When she is disappointed, I can share her dreams. And I can pay attention to her emotions. These can help us grow a deeper and stronger bond. Maybe life offers us new opportunities; opportunities for a stronger relationship, to compensate for whatever happened in the past, to get to know each other, to take care of ourselves… To find our own sources of inspiration, to hug our loved ones and to hug ourselves realizing our need if no one is available…

Warm regards,

Psychologist & Psychotherapist

Sezgi Şentürk Direm




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