The pandemic and its effects on parents and parenting

The effects of the global pandemic have been a hot topic of conversation for this year. Needless to say, it has changed a lot about our daily lives. According to a PEW Research Center study, one-third of Americans rated their stress and anxiety levels at “high”.

Of course, it has been a particularly challenging time for parents. In fact, many people’s routines and careers have changed, with over half of Americans reporting a high level of distress due to financial burdens. Many centers, like Harvard University’s Center for the Developing Child, have created guides on supporting children and parents through COVID-19. Topics like socializing and practicing self-compassion are at the front line of pandemic relief.

The pandemic and mental health

The population’s mental health is being prioritized during the pandemic, and rightly so. Researchers at the American Academy of Pediatrics studied the effect of the coronavirus outbreak on parent’s and children’s mental health. The study was conducted between March and April of 2020.

The results show that a parent’s psychological wellbeing decreased during the COVID-19 restriction period.

The most significant change was parents experiencing more frequent negative moods.

The findings are startling but not surprising.

“Many families have experienced hardships during the crisis, including job loss, income loss, caregiving burden, and illness. Both parents’ and children’s well-being in the postcrisis period was strongly associated with the number of crisis-related hardships that the family experienced.”

Over sixty-five percent of respondents reported household income declines.

Forty-five percent of families reported increased caregiving burden.

The American Academy of Pediatrics goes as far as to urge pediatricians to screen for mental health problems among children.

Sad J! Shot with ♥ on a Canon EOS 6D II & a Carl Zeiss Planar 100mm.
The pandemic – screening children for mental health issues

In a release by the World Health Organization, carers of children were urged to maintain routines in daily life as much as possible during the pandemic.

However, parents are finding it hard to keep up. We suspect that you can identify with this, in your own life and family.

With only 14% of families reporting no hardships during the crisis, the struggle is real.

The good news is that we are not alone

Sun was setting down. Those magical colours where blinding. I wanted this moment to last forever. She was smiling, but tears where coming from her eyes. I remember their salty taste. My heart was beating faster than usual. I did not know what to say. Summer was over. Our last night. We knew that we will probably never see each other again, but no one wanted to believe in that. We were happy and lost. Lost in this sunset forever.
Photographer: Sasha Freemind | Source: Unsplash

It is important that as parents we recognize the hardships brought on by COVID-19. It has become even more important to take the time to care for ourselves and our loved ones. Caring for our mental health is essential- especially this year.

Emma Seppala of the Stanford Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education, and author of “The Happiness Track,” wrote that people who socialize more and are more connected to others experience lower levels of depression and anxiety.

Social connections buffer the effects of stress.

Connecting with others in a social setting generates a positive outcome for people’s emotional, physical, and social wellbeing.

Mindful Parent provides FREE Parenting Circles

Painted red
Parental connections in the pandemic buffers stress

Recognizing the need to connect as parents with each other, we are offering what we call Parenting Circles – for FREE!

Parenting Circles can come in many shapes and sizes. What we offer is a safe, confidential space (online – so, no worries about social distancing – and meaning that it can be from the comfort of your own home). Parenting circles provide a non-judgmental environment within the limits of the law.

It’s a place where anyone in a parenting role can openly discuss the successes and challenges of raising children. It’s a place where you can find and share support. You strive to be clear, consistent, and intentional. To parent from a place of connection, compassion, and values. To receive support, guidance, resources, and connection with other parents. We owe it to ourselves and our children to parent intentionally, responsively, and respectfully.

If you are looking for ways to socialize during the pandemic, give our Parent Circles a try!

You can join here.