A conscientious parent can sometimes find themselves over focussing on one or more of their children. The appropriate level of connection and supervision can gradually increase to a worry driven response to a child – especially a child that we are more sensitive to. At this time of lockdown and school closure, this pattern can easily be intensified. A cycle of over monitoring, which can be either positive or negative in tone, contributes to children becoming reactive rather than responsible. The key to reversing this is for parents to shift attention to calming themselves, being realistic and only putting energy into what is within their control.
Couples finding an even balance between connection and space to be individuals is central for the health of their relationship. How do you work on this balance when spending so much time together in Covid-19 lockdown? It’s easy to experience varying degrees of suffocation in a relationship and to use emotional distancing to manage this. Making a deliberate choice to stay connected is a way of protecting a relationship at this time, however, the ways a couple connect is key. It’s all too easy to triangle and talk about 3rd party topics – including the children. This is not the same as genuinely sharing ourselves with our spouse.
Having an external drama to be absorbed in can become a detour from experiencing and addressing other more generalised tensions and issues in our lives. The anxiety sponge of the current crisis is so easily fed by an intense repetitive news cycle and amplified by social media posts. We can superficially feel better and experience a heightened togetherness amid this drama – but is this sustainable? And what are the costs? How can we thoughtfully allocate our limited supplies of life energy right now?
Withdrawing is a natural response to stress. What happens when it is socially mandated? What do we need to watch out for in following societal obligations while watching that we don’t inadvertently contribute to vulnerability to mood symptoms?
Stay tuned for the weekly series:
Week 2 = When the unfolding COVID-19 ‘Reality TV-like Drama’ moves into the territory of obsession.
Week 3 = Couples living in lock-down. How to stay connected and not suffocated.
Week 4 = Parents and children in constant view. How to resist the pull to be over-monitoring.
Week 5 = Couples in close proximity. How to understand and reduce an escalation in conflict.
Week 6 = Parents supervising children’s schoolwork. What is and isn’t effective?
Week 7 = Staying connected to extended family. How is this helpful to couples, parents, and children?
Week 8 = Becoming more mature in the face of challenges. How can this season be an opportunity for developing goals that have substance?
Our support services remain available as telehealth during this time. Contact the Family Systems Practice on 02 9904 5600 email@example.com
For those who want to understand how family system therapy provides a map for navigating stress in self and relationships see the online seminars at the Family Systems Institute: www.thefsi.com.au