Dr. Gary Hill
Parenting in the Era of COVID
We have all been dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic for almost six months now. If you are the parent of a teenager or young adult, you are probably feeling exhausted from having them at home. If you are finding it difficult to keep your kids happy and motivated, to make sure they are staying in touch with friends, or aren’t sleeping too much, you are not alone Or, maybe you are struggling to have your teens take the virus seriously and follow safety precautions. You are not alone either. If you are worried that your kids are spending too much time gaming, or not getting enough sleep, or are experiencing increased family conflict, welcome to the club! I could go on, but I think you get the message. Parenting is never easy, but it is exhausting in the era of Covid!
To help parents better navigate the unique challenges of parenting during a pandemic, I rely on research from the field of family therapy. This research suggests that there are four basic styles of parenting:
1. Uninvolved (neglectful, absent, passive, uninterested)
2. Authoritarian (too much punishment, rigid rules, overly intense structure)
3. Permissive (no guidelines, lenient, indulgent, non-directive, conflict avoidant)
4. Authoritative (supportive, assertive, sets limits, nurturing, flexible, balanced)
Each of these styles has some unique strengths when it comes to dealing with kids’ behavior. And just as no two kids are the same, there is no such thing as one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to parenting. To achieve the most positive parenting results, I advise every parent to do the following:
1. Identify your current parenting style.
2. Determine each of your kids’ personalities and temperaments.
3. Assess which parenting style best fits each kid’s personality and temperament.
4. Adapt your parenting style to create lasting bonds with your kids.
Additional Parenting Tips:
Make sure you and your spouse are on the same parenting page. This will really help you get your kids to comply with your requests and, as an added bonus, reducing parenting differences may lead to a better marriage.
It is never too late to change or improve your parenting style. Whether you are parents of young children, teenagers, or young adults, adapting your parenting style to best fit your kid’s personality and temperament, will result in a stronger bond and less frustration and exhaustion, especially in our current climate of crisis and uncertainty.