What you need to know:
- Set ground rules regarding hugging, social distancing, hand washing, face masks, spaces for events.
- Give your children an opportunity to air their needs regarding things to be bought, delicacies and travel destinations.
- You will certainly contend with your children’s disappointment about cancelled trips due to Covid-19.
I have five children of ages 7, 9, 12, 15 and 17 years. They have had their friends brag about the things they will get from their parents and the places they will go on holiday. They think we are too mean, inconsiderate and not good enough parents. They have also been putting me and their father under a lot of pressure to allow them to go visiting their friends. We are alarmed because of the high prevalence of teenage pregnancies because our 15 and 17-year-old are daughters. How do we handle all these demands and expectations during the Covid-19 pandemic?
Having to manage expectations of your five children is tasking but doable. During this period of the Covid-19 pandemic, the finances have run low and hence meeting obligations for some families is elusive. Children being naturally competitive, they feel cheated in the game of fun when their friends tell them about their larger- than -life plans. It is understandable that your children will see you as mean, inconsiderate and not good enough but clear explanation the perspective can be changed.
Give your children an opportunity to air their needs regarding things to be bought, delicacies and travel destinations. Giving them facts about the resources you have, other needs to be factored like their school fees and other essentials for next year will help them to be objective in their expectations. This way, you will be giving them an opportunity to practise financial management and an important skill for children.
You ask a key question, “How do we handle all these demands and expectations during Covid-19 pandemic?” We have witnessed that the numbers of Covid-19 infections have been on the rise and hence your concern. You should have discussions with your children about their safety from Covid-19 especially with numerous events during Christmas. Safety measures for any holiday get-together ought be discussed and decided before you set out for holidays. Set ground rules regarding hugging, social distancing, hand washing, face masks, spaces for events etc. The prior discussions of adhering to the Ministry of health protocols will remove the awkwardness and frustration of interacting differently. Children should be given a script to use if anyone does not respect the safety rules like, “My parents say I am not allowed to hug or come close to anyone so that I can protect myself and them from a Covid-19 infection.”
Certainly, this Christmas will not be celebrated in the way your family is accustomed to, hence be pre-emptive and find new ways of making the pandemic holidays special. Your children in the different developmental stages should be given an opportunity to be creative and innovative on activities they can do while keeping safe. This way, you will give your children a voice and make them feel respected. The changes warranted by Covid-9 presents a chance to make this year’s Christmas holidays children- friendly and uniquely fun. You will certainly contend with your children’s disappointment about cancelled trips due to Covid-19 but you can validate their feelings and make them feel understood. You say to them, “it is normal to get angry and frustrated when your hopes are disappointed. We made this decision for your safety.”
Your concern over your adolescent girls getting pregnant during celebrations is real. Caution is certainly thrown to the wind as people enjoy especially the highly temperamental adolescents. Impact of Covid-19 on teen pregnancy rates has been shown to be on the rise and hence you need to know where your adolescent children are going, who they will visit with, upscale their knowledge on reproductive health and mutually set rules on responsible sexual lives.
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