Make Sure the Children Are OKAY

Helping Our Children Through These Uncertain Times

                It was nothing but pride that made me refuse to see that my sons were experiencing depression.  It was nothing but pride that made me buy into the idea that children do not feel pain and loss to the same degree as adults.  It was nothing but pride that made me believe that I knew what was best for my children simply because I was their mother.  It was nothing but pride that prevented me from standing on the rooftop and crying for help for my broken family until someone heard and responded.  It was nothing but pride that made me ignore my mother’s suggestion that we get family counseling.  It was nothing but pride that made me believe that if I were okay, they would be okay.  Yet none of us were okay.

                By the grace of God my sons endured loss, pain, being misunderstood, their mother’s selfishness, their father’s rejection, and their stepfather’s sometime overbearing discipline.  By the grace of God, we continued to love each other even when we did not understand or like each other.  By the grace of God, we persevered through feelings of being misplaced.  By God’s grace we moved beyond the ignorance of believing that everything that is wrong with a child can be handled through punishment and whippings.  By the grace of God our healing process is in full effect and our beliefs on rearing children have evolve.

We are thankful for God’s grace.  Yet, our journey may not have been as rocky and tumultuous had I realized that as a parent it is not necessary for me to be the sole source for meeting every need.  Sometimes parents are the facilitators that ensures that those who are trained to meet needs are employed to do so.  The best parents seek out help and utilize it. 

During this pandemic, when parents are being forced to spend more time with their children, I hope that parents are paying attention to children.  Remember that children are people just as adults are people.  Children feel the same anxieties, fears, and angst as adults.  All is not well for our children.  Pay attention to your children.  This pandemic has caused them to suffer much loss.  Children often lack the language acquisition to express their feeling.  Sometimes they act out in ways we consider strange.  Pay close attention.  Do not brush off what your gut tells you is something you should be mindful of.  If you find your child’s behavior unsettling talk with your pediatrician.  Be proactive.   Of course, give plenty of hugs, have fun as much as you can, make life at home as simple as possible.  Enjoy each other. Be receptive to your children’s needs.

These times are affecting us all in ways that we cannot explain and may not even be aware of.  Do not ignore your own anxiety, fears, and angst.  Be honest and truthful with yourself and talk to your physician.  Get your own counseling to help you deal with the pressures and demands of family life during this time.  Most of us have never lived through anything like this.  Unfamiliarity often sparks trepidation.  So many varying news reports and conflicting information can make it difficult to make decisions and cause us to be unsure of ourselves. Family counseling may be necessary.

Children are vulnerable at every stage.  They must be protected and cared for during these times of great uncertainty and change.  Things may never be as they once were, but we must do everything we can to make children feel safe and secure.  There will be long term affects and transformations associated with this time in history.  Right now, families must work to emerge strong.  The future depends on it.  Make sure the children are okay.

These links may be helpful

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/beyond-freud/202003/how-parents-can-help-their-children-during-the-pandemic

A STEP IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION

BEGINNING COUNSELING THERAPY

                Almost thirty years ago, my mother casually suggested that my children and I engage in family counseling.  I was recently divorced and had two small sons.  I responded as I often did back then when she made suggestions.  I brushed it off. As a young woman, I did not value my mother’s observation about many things.  I might even be rich now had I heeded her advice on saving.  I thought I had it all together and knew what was best for me and my family.  Well, I did not have it all together and on many levels my family suffered. 

                Since then, my children and I have had many opportunities to engage in therapy, yet for one reason or another, it did not last.  The truth is, I did not want someone else “in my business.”  I did not want anyone else to witness our family dysfunction.  I had created an image that I did not want anyone to toy with. So, I simply adjusted the weight and carried on.  Women, especially Black women, are masters at this. 

                When I decided to remarry, we went from being a single parent household to a blended family.  Blending a family can be an extremely difficult endeavor. My husband and I ignored our inability to deal with the various aspects of our new family.  We had college degrees but lack the information and skills for successfully blending our families. Like so many other couples of our generation, we assumed things would simply fall in place. The result was a family blended in a rock tumbler. The experience was tumultuous, to say the least. We survived, but not without scares.

                In January 2019, my mother died.  She quietly transitioned while sitting in her rocking chair in her bedroom.  On December 26, 2019, my beloved husband died in the hospital.  These events compiled with the challenges and changes brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic and continued images of racism caused me to experience anxiety and feelings of depressions.  I contemplated going to therapy but could not decide who to trust with my innermost thoughts and feelings.  I found someone in July and made an appointment.  Due to some unforeseen issues, I canceled.  This happened more than once.  Finally, on October 16, 2020, I completed my first session.

                The session was conducted via Telehealth.  I was a little nervous just before logging on and even cried a few tears thinking about what I might be discussing.  My therapist made it so easy though.  The setting was warm and personable. She graciously eased me through the session. Listening intently and questioning effectively, she helped me discover things within myself of which I was unaware.  Then she encouraged me to engage in some activities that would make life less anxious and more enjoyable. When it was over, I felt light and happy and pleased with myself for taking this important first step. 

                After the session, I left home to meet my son for lunch.  As I was driving, I began to cry because I could feel joy bubbling up from my soul.  I could not really explain it except to say that something was being lifted from me. I thought to myself, “If I had known therapy tasted this good, I would have done it long ago.” I was grateful and made a new determination to live authentic and true to myself.

                I realize that there is much work ahead.  However, I am determined to engage life intentionally and with purpose.  I also realize that to do that I need help to identify the many things that are happening within me that may hamper my progress.  In addition, I need assistance in developing strategies for success.  My goal is to live in what Gay Hendricks, author of The Big Leap, calls my GENIOUS ZONE with no upper limits.  Good change is on the horizon of my life and I am here for it.