The Covid-19 pandemic has come and gone and life has returned to (somewhat) normal (“What is normal?” you might even ask.) One would expect that our children can go back to life as they knew it: Go to school with ease, perform daily tasks and routines, navigate challenges, and connect socially with peers… but what if your child seems to be struggling with some of the items on this list? What if they seem ‘stuck’ – worried about going to school or refusing to go at all, struggling to connect with peers due to continued feelings of shyness or inadequacy, battling to engage in evening routines such as falling asleep on their own… How do you navigate this as parent? What is the best step to take if you witness your child get in their own way to develop as a competent, brave being?
During the pandemic, the world’s collective energy rapidly shifted to an energy of fear, where many of us were asking: “What now?” and “What if…” Many of us were scared of what tomorrow, next week or the next month would hold, and we got stuck in worrying about the future and the safety of our families, our friends and our world. Perhaps many of us were already engaging in this kind of future-oriented way of thinking before the pandemic, but chances are that for many of us, the pandemic truly unleashed the human ability to be (too) focused on the future, while forgetting about the now – the present moment.
Anxiety often stems from the constant focus on the past or the future. It presents itself as: “If only I could…” and “What would happen if…” Anxiety tricks us all into believing that worrying about something in the future or the past will give us the ability to change it. Present-moment thinking, on the other hand, gifts us the opportunity to realise how much really is in our control. If your teenager is writing an exam tomorrow and she is stressed about it today, thinking “What if I fail that exam tomorrow?” she no longer focuses on the present moment. Present-moment thinking would be: “I notice I am feeling anxious about the exam tomorrow, and I know that right now I can choose to focus on studying for the exam so that I am as prepared as possible.” It is most likely that this teen’s focus on the present moment will bring her relief as she will remind herself that all she has power over, is the here-and-now.
You might have an 8-year-old at home who struggles a lot with fear of failure and who is constantly worried that when he needs to hand in a project, it won’t be good enough. Or perhaps your 10-year-old had a traumatic experience when she got stuck in an elevator and now fears all elevators and enclosed spaces. Present-moment awareness and thinking can be a helpful tool for them, too!
Empower yourself as a parent with this 4-Part Mini Parenting Course on Anxiety. This course was designed with you in mind. You will receive a one-page document per week, giving you vital insight on anxiety, and challenging you to reflect on your own understanding of anxiety and how it has shown up in your personal life, but also in the way you parent. As a bonus you will receive a free 20-minute flash coaching session with me to deepen your knowledge and understanding on anxiety and to have any burning questions answered.
Sign up here for this opportunity to learn how to unleash the power of the present moment.