Parents seeking control in difficult situations

For those of you who have welcomed children into your home from a hard place, this season of additional fear and anxiety could be taking an extra toll on you and your family. You might even feel this season is more difficult but in different ways than you originally expected.

My husband made the comment the other day, “In some ways, it feels like the kids are doing better than I originally expected.” Both of us recognized that because we had removed so much of our outside activities, we had made our children’s world smaller which seemed to have a healthy impact. But instead of having a, “Wow you’re right.” response, I said, “Then why do I feel more on edge with them now?”

So much is out of our control during this difficult time. Our routines have been impacted, our jobs, how we get supplies, and how we see our friends/family have all been disrupted. And what feels even more disheartening is there is no timeline for when this will all go away.

After my husband’s remark on our kiddos’ behaviors, I was quickly reminded, “This is how our kiddos from the foster care/adoptive world must feel all the time.” We are being encouraged by our employers, our Government, and the CDC to social distance so they can keep us and others safe. Even though we know these accommodations are being made for our best interest, how many of us don’t trust that it is enough or that we or a loved one won’t get sick?

This is just like our fostered/adoptive kiddos. No matter how much nurture, love, consistency, or structure we provide, it doesn’t feel like it is enough. So many of our children feel the way we as parents are currently feeling in this season…out of control.

For those of us parents who are struggling a little extra with being in tight quarters and trying to work from home (my hand is raised) what can we do to make this time more tolerable? While there have been other posts and I’m sure more to come about what we can do, I want to encourage we find ways for both us and our children to have healthy control. We can control what we watch on TV, what outfit we chose to wear, what we will have for lunch, what board game we play, what trail to walk, which type of pasta to eat, what hat to wear, to either have dinner at the table or in the backyard, and so much more.

Wherever you are in this season, I pray God provides you and your family the peace that passes all understanding and we together as a church can proclaim his great name, no matter the circumstances.

Blessing to you and your family.

-Haley Morte, MS, Child & Family Therapist, Family Coach