Permission to Wobble - when the easing of lockdown brings a different set of challenges




Spring is here. Lockdown is easing. Days out and time with family and friends (albeit in a snowy garden at times) beckon. Surely we should feel relaxed and happy that life is finally returning to some sort of normality?


BUT


Have you found you’ve been feeling strangely unsettled or just a bit wobbly lately?

Are your children are particularly emotional or their behaviour a little up and down at the moment despite all the nice things you’re doing?


Perhaps that lovely day out you’d been looking forward to ended in tears or random angst and you wonder why you bothered.


Maybe going out feels far more stressful than you expected or perhaps you can’t quite put your finger on it, but you just don’t feel quite right.


Or it’s just you feel a bit flat or reluctant to do what everyone else is doing.


You’re not alone.


Pause for a moment.


Let’s just consider what’s happening and maybe then those wobbles – for you or your child - might not seem so strange.


If the easing of lockdown seems to have brought different challenges to family life rather than easing the pressure perhaps you’re in need of permission to wobble. Not permission from me, but giving yourself permission to feel how you feel and for your children to do the same.


Obviously how you behave when you experience those feelings is still your responsibility, but the starting point is not brushing them under the carpet, but approaching them with acceptance, awareness and kindness.


Here’s 5 reasons why you, or your children may be feeling a bit wobbly right now. As a coach I couldn’t write a blog without a reflective question or two so at the end of each reason there’s an opportunity to pause and reflect too.


1. We are still living in strange and challenging times. This last year has been tough and “normality” – whatever that may be – is still a way off. This is a constant journey of adjustment.


Human beings are first and foremost emotional beings. If you’re expecting to go through a year of a global pandemic and then begin to return to normal with no emotional reaction then perhaps it’s your expectations which need amending. This last year has involved a huge amount of change and loss. Maybe no one in your circle has died, but I can guarantee you have still felt the fall out of a global pandemic in some way.


Pause and consider:


What change and losses have you experienced over the last year?

What might you be grieving for?

What change and losses does the ending/easing of lockdown bring for you and your child? How can you help your child to understand and feel supported through this?



2. Too often emotions get sorted into very binary “positive” and “negative” categories. If something “good” happens we should feel “good.” Life is never that simple and in truth emotions are neither positive or negative. Some emotions feel more positive or enjoyable. Some feel more uncomfortable. Our emotions are, in reality signposts offering information about our experience of the world. Perhaps these feelings - joyful, wobbly, excited, unsettled, fearful and many more are just indicators we are experiencing another big change in a catalogue of changes.


Pause and consider:


What are your emotions and your child’s emotions telling you?

How can you help your child to understand and communicate what they’re feeling?



3. For the last few months we’ve been telling our children home is safe. Out there is not. We may not have explicitly said this, but by following the law of the land there has been a clear message – many things you are not allowed to do for safety reasons.


However well we have communicated all of this to our child and helped them to feel safe and supported there has been a clear message around safety and our contact with other people. Now we’re telling them out there is a bit more safe, but not fully safe. It’s a lot to get your head around as an adult, let alone a child. Adjusting to the new safe/danger boundaries might just take a bit of time.


Pause and consider:


What messages may you and your child have picked up which could be influencing your feelings?

What “everyday” activities now feel like an adjustment?

What do you need to help you adjust?

What messages does your child need to hear now?



4. The last time your child approached a big school holiday there was a huge and sudden change afterwards. Christmas was in itself a strange time and then, just as they thought they were returning to school there was another long period of school closure. Whether that looked like home school, part time school or full time in a school set up which was very different to usual there was a change for your child.


In your child's experience school holidays may be an indicator of uncertain times or big change ahead. Most human beings also aren’t big fans of uncertainty! How different have school holidays been over the last year for your child?


Pause and consider:


How might your child be feeling about school holidays and the return to school?

What might they be enjoying?

What might they be concerned about?

What messages might they have inadvertently picked up about school holidays?

What might they need to reassure them?



5. It’s been a long time since we have been able to do lots of things like hang out with family – especially if you take a year as a percentage of a child’s life. Readjusting to different social settings and even the sensory experiences can be both positive and challenging at the same time. Getting used to the new normal (for now until the next change) is a lot for our children to take on board and a readjustment for parents too.


I know I’ve got out of the habit of taking a bag with us for our frequent trips to the local park. Now I have to remember to pack extra snacks, clothes and random items we take for a trip further afield. My children have got out of the habit of queuing. It sounds simple, but getting back into these habits potentially takes a little time and hard work. Being around lots of people (I’m not even talking big crowds) actually brings feelings of uncertainty for me which it never would have done before.


At the moment things we did automatically are stretching me a little because I’m out of the habit. It won’t take long to come back, but it is an adjustment.


Pause and consider:


What seemingly small events might feel pretty significant at the moment for you or your child?

What is the impact of this?

What do you know helps you and your child when you’re going through change?



If you can relax and enjoy this new phase then great, but if it’s bringing a whole range of emotions or you or your children are finding it challenging I’d encourage you to go gently with yourself and them.


Back in 2009 I went on a week long Norwegian cruise. When I returned to land for a few days it still felt like the ground was in motion – like being at sea. It took a while for solid ground to feel solid again. We’re still in the midst of this pandemic. In time the world may feel more solid again, but until then you may just need to give yourself permission to wobble.




If you know you could do with a helping hand to move forward in this area e-mail me at juliecresswell@optimum-coaching.co.uk to arrange a chat.

I help parents whose children find everyday expectations difficult to tap into their expertise on their child and find ways to best support their child so they can make their family life a more positive and happier experience for the whole family.


#parenting #coaching #optimumfamilylife #parentlife #lockdown3.0 #parenthood #threenagers #tweens #teens #emotionalwellbeing #change

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