Only time will tell how the new coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic will pan out.
The effects of physical anguish and mental stress have been so taxing during the quarantine, even if we had lots of time at home.
I am fully embracing my being a full-time mom, now that the virus has significantly altered my life and lifestyle. But I am beginning to doubt if I am really capable of such a responsibility.
I had perfected the art of delegation since I was always traveling, but now I have stepped up my parenting skills to make sure our youngest child, Athena, is productive and engaging in some physical activity during these times.
Physical distancing has presented challenges that most of us have never faced before. Even if you already considered your family to be your primary unit, adjusting to working at home can blur the line between family life and work.
Raising a family is difficult enough, and the pandemic has created a multitude of stress issues that family members need to deal with individually. Because I have had more time to ponder my life’s purpose, I have also been focusing on my parenting style and how to improve it.
We want to give our kids more than we have—security and stability, enriching experiences, and opportunities to grow. How do we take advantage of these interesting times to help our children grow maturely and spiritually toward creating a better world?
It may be hard to remember right now, but just a few months ago, many of us were trying to find ways to spend more time with our kids. It’s true that our current circumstances come with real challenges. But, it’s also true that we have the power to choose how we respond. We can see them as setbacks that are causing us pain, or as opportunities to draw our families closer than ever.
Parenting is one of the most researched fields in psychology. I was browsing through parentingscience.com and as the site notes, many parenting techniques, practices or traditions have been scientifically researched, verified, refined or refuted. There are numerous parenting tips on helping kids to be productive, be responsible and independent, respectful, enjoy meaningful relationships with you and others, be caring and compassionate, and have a happy, healthy and fulfilling life.
Different parenting styles
My hubby Dennis and I have totally different parenting styles. While the kids were growing up, Dennis’ approach was authoritative parenting, in which he would encourage them to study on their own but still abide by certain rules in the house. He always encourages the kids to be responsible, to think for themselves and others, and to consider the reasons for rules. Clearly, he is the disciplinarian in the good cop/bad cop situations with them.
I am more an emotion-focused parent and give rewards for everything, no matter how small. My style is called permissive parenting—these parents are responsive and warm (a good thing) but also reluctant to enforce rules (a bad thing). According to research on this parenting style, these kids may be less likely to experience behavior problems. They might also have fewer emotional problems.
But these kids tend to have more troubles than children raised by authoritative parents, and may achieve less in school.
Parents influence their children through specific practices, like encouraging them to play outdoors, or helping them with their homework. But parenting is more than a set of specific practices. According to my Bible app, there is no bible on parenting, so we can only guide their righteous path, create an emotionally happy climate and set family values to abide by.
Doing these will not only help you keep a healthy perspective, but also work on one of your primary goals in parenting: building good relationships with your children. Throughout the circus act of parenting, it’s important to focus on balancing priorities, juggling responsibilities and quickly flipping between the needs of your children, other family members and yourself.
How does one find the right balance? There is no perfect way, so I will just do my best, trusting myself and enjoying time during each stage of their lives. Right now, empathy is a hot topic at our home. It’s such a big word that I decided to Google it.
Empathy seems to be a crucial component of social intelligence, and many scholars argue that empathy is the basis for morality. It is a subject of great practical importance for families and communities.
Most definitions of empathy include the idea of “tuning in” to the feelings of another. You watch or listen to someone else. You observe their situation. You recognize what they must be feeling and experiencing. If we have empathy, we also have self-awareness.
Our two daughters have been at me to make a vocal stand about the terror bill. As the elder one says, fighting against social injustice is not a political issue; it is a human issue. When people lose their lives, that transcends politics. It cuts to the heart of who we are as a people.
And in this one, I have to say my kids are right. I have a platform, one that is supposed to have a social agenda. But I recognize that my social agenda goes beyond parties and events and shows, and goes into the heart of our culture—who are we as Filipinos?
We should recognize that we are a people that want to live by democratic principles that allow for basic human rights, like freedom of choice and freedom of expression. We are a people that want a government that works for us, and has the right checks and balances. We should recognize that we are a people that oppose terror, but also want protection so that labels cannot be misused by unchecked authority.
So, a big thank you to my girls for getting me to expand this column beyond just social events but into the important social questions that confront us as a people today. I support your call to junk the terror bill now.
Parenting is hard, but it is also rewarding. Sometimes the rewards are not immediately visible. But we continue to try and do our best.