Parenting in Pandemic

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As Covid -19 has changed everything, the burden of responsibilities has fallen on the shoulders of parents yet again.

Riyaz Kazmi

IN KASHMIR, joys knew no bounds the moment it was announced that this year the academic session would be started earlier as on 24th February, 2020. After spending seven months at home, children were suffering emotionally and experiencing a social ache. They had been thrust into an extremely difficult situation. Now, they had a reason to be excited which was palpable.

After such a long spell of inactivity it was not an easy job to re-establish the routine. But enthusiastic students were trying hard to get back on the track. For a week, everything went very well. However, as usual, the happiness was short lived and a pall of gloom descended upon Kashmir, when the Covid – 19 pandemic came knocking on everyone’s doors. It snowballed so fast that everything got entrapped and came to a grinding halt.

Fortunately or unfortunately, it didn’t come as a surprise to children of the valley as they are already quite familiar with the shutdowns. All these years, children here have been affected but parents have never given up. As Covid -19 has changed everything, the burden of responsibilities has fallen on the shoulders of parents yet again.

The pandemic has taken a toll on everyone’s mental health. It takes a lot of patience to console, calm and control our children. However, the sooner we understand our new roles, the more peaceful our lives will be.

Educational institutions play a major role in the upbringing of children. The way teachers engage them in different activities cannot be replaced by any virtual learning. Teachers know when to be tough or tender. For parents, it is not an easy task to take over their roles and responsibilities. It is no wonder then that many parents in Kashmir are using a comical yet revealing phrase, School Kar Gassun Yelleh, Tawanus Ha Lageh (When will schools re-open, so that we can save ourselves from the trouble and tough times that our kids are giving us at home).

Nevertheless we must admit that the lock down period has given us ample time and opportunity to develop a strong bond with our children. It has been a blessing in disguise to find and better ourselves in many ways.

Earlier, we didn’t get the time to know about our children’s day. These days, due to online classes, we’re having the opportunity to monitor their interactions closely and help them accordingly. This has proved beneficial as we’re developing a more understanding bond with our kids and are raising them better.

Additionally, men have started sharing family responsibilities. From cleaning to cooking, many men are doing their bit. This has brought in the necessary realisation that the whole burden of the household must not fall on the women of the house. They need to enjoy their own time and space. Fathers and mother working together and dividing work at home is also bound to develop the same sensibility in the kids for the longer run.

In the absence of any avenue to socialise with their friends, we must ensure that children get to have a good family time. We have to be their best buddies. We can start with staying with them through their homework, give them company as they watch their favourite shows and can also actively involve them in small house chores like setting the table. This will also prove beneficial to our own mental health; as our children will prove to be a beacon of hope for us in these tumultuous times.

Our children are the reflection of our behaviour. The way we react will determine their future behaviour as well. The more we try to stay calm and patient, the more we can groom them into the civilized and cultured human beings.

Patience is one of the main life skills and the key to deal with our kids smartly and strategically. If we can keep it cool with our kids, we can be patient with others as well.

In addition to patience, we also need some semblance of discipline within our household. This has been especially difficult to do during the pandemic lockdowns. Covid 19 is taking a heavy toll on us both physically and mentally.

Therefore, we have to gear up to remain active. Doing aerobics, yoga, zumba and playing games with our children will not only ease off mental stress but will also keep everyone fit.

Another beneficial activity can be getting our kids to explore their creative sides. Once we try to engage our children in creative pursuits, it becomes quite easy to go through the hard times. Our support and appreciation can bring the best out of them. Once we help them find their creative side, it will keep the engaged, motivated and happy.

Roles have evolved and changed during these times and we’re all trying to put out best foot forward. Teachers have entered households and parents have entered the eco system of schools. Therefore, the job has become advanced and challenging. With the right mind set, collaborative behaviour and understanding, we can surely overcome these new obstacles.

As we juggle our responsibilities, let us also remember those among us who are not privileged enough to have resources or even loved ones to assist them. It has become imperative to look out for these people and extend help. Good parenting always involves good role models. Be one for your children!

  • The author can be reached at Riyazahm72@gmail.com

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