“These are unprecedented times” is a phrase that has been used frequently over the last several weeks. Because we have never experienced a disruption like this before, you and your children may be experiencing a wide range of emotions. These emotions can alternate from elation, to worry, to fear. I am sure every parent has heard a few of the following phrases over the last several days:
“Yay, we have an extended spring break!”
“Wait, with classes online, how will I keep my grades up?”
“I’m scared Grandma is going to catch the virus.”
“I want to have Prom!”
“I wanted to play baseball, tennis, or run track this spring.”
Validating our students’ feelings during this unprecedented time is an important way to help them process the changes that are occurring as our nation strives to slow the spread of the coronavirus. Doing this simply means listening in order to understand their point of view. Validation doesn’t mean you agree with the other person, but it does mean you want to understand what the other person is thinking and feeling. In the big picture, you are communicating to your student that they are important to you.
So, how do you validate your child’s emotions?
- Pay attention to what your child is saying and how they are acting.
- Reflect back what you heard them say without judging or offering your opinion. You can do this by simply saying, “What I’m hearing you say is…” followed by your summary of what they have communicated.
- Be genuine, and ask clarifying questions. If they know you are listening, they will open up and tell you all about their frustrations.
- Offer support and help, but don’t jump in to solve the problem. If your child is sad and needs comfort, there’s no one better for a hug than you.
Please know the counseling office is always here to help you and your student in any way we can! We are offering counseling in four ways during this time of social distancing:
- Exchanging messages via email
- Chatting live
- Speaking over the phone
- Video conferencing
Today, I’d like to leave you with a verse that has come to my mind over and over in the last several days. Proverbs 3, verses 5 and 6 say, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek His will in all you do, and He will show you which path to take.” Raiders, let’s all hold on to this truth! God is going to take care of us and all of our children.
Director of Counseling