What A Mess! How Do We Get Back On Track?
Q: “Our family has gone through a transition because of the recent pandemic. My husband is depressed because he had to close his business. He’s snappy with the kids and me and has relinquished his parenting duties, until he doesn’t like a decision I’ve made. Then we spiral into arguments. Working remotely from home, I relaxed our stance on screen time because the kids were bored. It seemed the easiest solution to balancing everything at the time, but what a mess we are in emotionally, financially, and parentally. How do we get life back on track when normal seems to be a thing of the past?”
JOYCE’S FIX: Life will always comprise an element of adjustment. Whether we are stricken with a pandemic beyond our control or maturation of our children, we must adapt to the changes that emerge year in and year out. Things happen. It’s our response to the alterations in our daily lives that determines the emotional toll on us. Let’s take your situation and find a new standard that will apply to your family.
1. Depression never defeats a true hero. Your husband needs to be reminded that he is worthwhile to the family. He did not fail; circumstances failed him.
2. Kids are kids. Parents should never forget that kids need instruction, guidance, and boundaries. You relaxed rules in a time of duress, but the reins must be tightened again. Ease into it: “Hey, guys, today we’re going to cut down our screen time by 30 minutes. Johnny, your extra 30 minutes will be spent mowing the backyard. Julie, your 30 minutes will be organizing your closet.” Take five minutes and compose a list of helpful projects your children can do around the house.(Oh, and let Dad help with the list and monitor the activities. Get him back in the parenting game.)
3. Lessons. If nothing else, during this adverse time, we have learned a few things about what’s really important in life. Mealtime together has happened again — at least I hope it has in your home. This is a fabulous opportunity for discussion about topics such as:
• Time. The one thing that has been equalized for us all — and that truly has never changed — is we’ve become more aware of the distribution of time. How will we continue to spend that precious commodity?
• Contentment. “Things” will never bring a content state of mind. Love, however, is still the bond that satisfies a hunger within us that cannot be ignored. When efforts invested resound with positive, encouraging tones, your newfound family standard will be one that finds each of you a survivor of life under fire.
Struggling with a relationship issue? Write Joyce Oglesby, Family Life FIX-IT Pro at firstname.lastname@example.org and find a solution for life.