We’re heading into spring 2021. As we progress into this year, we can now see that 2020 was not an anomaly. The many crises of last year either linger or have transformed into something new. Of course, this very much relates to the pandemic and the related mitigation tactics. But, as you know, there’s much more going on.
Political turmoil feels like the new normal. It’s become so prevalent that you may be tempted to downplay its daily impact. In reality, we’ll need the skills to cope as tensions ebb and flow. Otherwise, the changing state of affairs can wreak havoc on your emotions. Furthermore, this creates new challenges for you as a parent.
The Impact of Political Turmoil in 2021
Social unrest. Racial strife. Election-related divisions. The list goes on and the variations are endless. Each of these situations is amplified thanks to the smartphone/social media world we live in. The stakes feel higher. The conflict feels ever-present.
This isn’t about which particular “side” you’re on. Everyone is struggling and everyone is feeling judged. So, for starters, take solace that you are not alone. Also, it may offer you some sense of balance to accept that even those with differing viewpoints are in turmoil.
5 Ways to Manage Your Emotions & Meet Your Children’s Needs
As always, this is what grounds you. In good times and bad, your body and mind need care. Self-care forms a strong foundation — no matter which way the prevailing winds are blowing. In addition, you are leading by example for your children. Let them see you diligently focusing on elements like:
- Stress management
- Sleep patterns
- Eating choices
- Activity and exercise
2. Take Tech Breaks
Related to self-care is the increasing need to take breaks from your devices. Coordinate these breaks with your children’s downtime and do something together in that time frame. Prioritize relief from the non-stop notifications, clickbait, fake news, and flame wars. This way, your kids get time to bond with a calmer, less distracted version of you.
3. Monitor Your Reactions (especially around your children)
Inevitably, some headlines and updates will infuriate you. That’s fine and, sometimes, is completely normal. What is essential to control, however, is how you express your emotions. Slow down and pay attention to the rise of your responses. How do your thoughts change? How does your body react? Serve as a role model for your kids by modulating your reaction.
4. Create Non-Ideological Friendships
It’s a dangerous combination: political turmoil and digital life. Unfortunately, what often bonds you with people is a shared disdain for something the “other side” is doing. This fosters black-and-white thinking. You may feel hesitant to question or be skeptical for fear of losing your friends. Non-ideological friendships are forged with deeper values and can withstand some differences of opinion.
5. Be There and Be Calm for Your Kids
Political divisions and social issues can feel urgent. Unfortunately, you rarely have the power or resources to create systemic change. What you do have is the ability to influence and guide your children.
You can encourage your kids to embrace independent thinking. You can also inspire them to be open-minded and curious. No matter how emotional you get over today’s headlines, try not to lose sight of the role you play in shaping your children’s lives. Be there for them, stay calm, and model compassion.
Asking For Help is a Vote for Recovery
The onslaught of events over the past 12 months is enough to stress anyone out. As with social struggles, collective action works best. Ask for help. Lean on your support system. Talk with a qualified therapist.
Commitment to regular counseling sessions is a way to help yourself. It’s also a way to help others in your life — like your kids. Let’s talk about how to create a crucial balance in your life. It begins with more information about parent counseling and consultation. Soon, it could result in some much-needed peace of mind.