I think we can all agree that 2020 has turned out a lot differently than any of us could have imagined. It has been almost three months since COVID-19 entered our lives and while we may have settled into a “new normal,” the vast majority of us are still in mourning. We are not only mourning the lives lost to this illness, but also the lives that we lived before the days of masks, isolation and chronic unknowing.
Those of us with children have the challenge of navigating these changes not only for ourselves, but also for our kids. We’ve quickly added the role of full-time parent, housekeeper and teacher, to our various other responsibilities – which for many includes full time remote worker, and for some means no work at all.
While balancing all these responsibilities, parents are most consistently concerned primarily with their children: Are they getting enough of my attention? Are their educational needs being met? Am I being a “good enough” parent even though my rope is thin? How will this impact my kids?
Of course, this experience has been traumatic for most of us in one way or another. As parents, it is our nature to worry about our children – after all, they carry our hopes and dreams, and we’ve invested our lives and our love in them. It is reasonable for parents to wonder what long-term impact this experience may have on our children, and to wonder if the chaos of this time may cause them any harm.
While it’s impossible to know what we may learn in hindsight regarding the impact that this time has had on our families, we can look to the trauma research field for some hints. For years, trauma researchers focused on the impact of individual and collective trauma, but in more recent years, we see the outcomes of this research move us into another direction – the study of resilience.