Last week I ran a little poll on my instagram stories, asking what emotion my followers felt their children were struggling with most during the Coronavirus lockdown. The response was anger and irritability. Which isn't that surprisingly really. I mean, let's put ourselves in our kids shoes. Everything is different. They're not getting the same level of stimulation or interaction as before the lockdown. Even their parents aren't able to tell them when things will return to their pre lockdown life. And they've got to do some weird form of schooling, which is supposed to take happen in the place where they are usually relaxing. It's unsettling for adults, so of course it's going to be hard for kids to process.
If your child is struggling with anger and irritability, there's no doubt that's hard on you too. You've got very little space to remove yourselves from each other and if the emotions are intense you're probably getting increasingly stressed. Not only because your own fight or flight mode is kicking in when faced with another raging human (no matter how much you love your small people, when they rage it take takes huge effort and presence of mind to overcome your own emotional responses), but you might feel unsure about how to support them. A good starting point could be the why. Anger is usually hiding another emotion, so if you can get past that you'll have something to work with, addressing the anger at it's source!
So what's going on under your child's coronavirus anger? Here's some of the main reasons some children have listed when asked about their feelings linked to the lockdown:
When you think about it from their perspective, you'd feel pretty irritable too. Young children aren't seeing their friends or family and find it harder to access them via the internet. Teenagers are unable to socialise, which is particularly tough on them due to their stage of development. With brains that feel invincible but are still maturing, their understanding and attitude towards lockdown don't mix that well and can produce huge amounts of frustration.
What can we do, as parents, to help our children work through this anger and reduce the household stress levels?
And the last, and most important tip of all, is to remember that you are the best person for your child to be in lock down with. Just being with you makes all the difference to your child in this crazy, surreal time.
Hey! I'm the founder, creator and voice of Ink and Scribbles. Sharing thoughts on child well-being and parenting that are based on my teaching and parenting experience, and NLP learning.