How to deal with routine, relationships, emotions and the future in a context of global crisis?

By Fabrícia Oliveira

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What are the challenges parents face during quarantine? How to reconcile work, stress and the needs of the family, without leaving aside emotional health, balance and time to support children? How to overcome tensions and collaborate so that the house is an environment of mutual help? And what to do when a loved one is distant just at a time like this?

To bring answers to these questions, psychologists Arlete Castro, Ludmilla Brito and Iolanda Vera-Cruz met in a chat dedicated to the theme “Parents in times of social isolation”, aired on Sepal’s YouTube channel. Through the conversation, the professionals addressed some of the main dramas that affect homes in the current situation and gave timely advice for fathers and mothers to maintain an atmosphere of harmony in the context of crisis. Below, you can see a brief summary of the video. Take note!

Home: a safe place

In a short time, families were extremely affected by a sudden transformation in routine. Changes such as isolation, intense news flow, the abrupt cutting of living with other people and, in more extreme circumstances, the loss of loved ones generate restlessness, which naturally affects the family environment.

In this scenario, it should be considered that the purpose of the family is to offer protection, attention and care to the members, which apparently seems a simple statement. Why, then, do so many conflicts arise as a result of confinement?

From the point of view of Ludmilla Brito, specialist in Psychodramatic Analysis and Psychoemotional Disorders of Adolescence, the family itself already has in its essence all the resources necessary to face a moment of crisis: its structure provides the perfect environment to promote shelter and refuge, because it is composed of people who “theoretically” love each other.

“The family itself already has at its core all the resources needed to face a time of crisis: its structure provides the perfect environment to promote shelter and refuge.”

Ludmilla reinforces the need to rescue the values that sustain love and understanding and establish limits that coordinate the new routine, developing an organization that respects the space of each person.

How to manage work and family?

Despite experiencing the context of social isolation common to everyone in their city, neighborhood or country, each family has a different reality. Whether for those who have the child indoors or for whom the child is on another continent, it is necessary to manage stress and deal with the concern in a positive way. What’s more, to support the family, parents need to be in minimal condition, paying attention to their physical and emotional state.

In this sense, Iolanda Vera-Cruz, an expert in Clinical Psychology, Health and Education, who currently lives in Portugal, talks about her experience: each of her daughters is in different cities in England, a country where social isolation was late compared to other European countries.

In view of the expansion of COVID-19, the whole family had to define measures to maintain serenity and emotional control during contingency. Taking into account the importance of respecting social isolation, they have established, in common agreement, what quarantine time would be like. In it, they promote conversations and emotional support through intense contact through social networks. “You have to have a lot of presence of mind to stay calm and encourage them,” he says.

Management of emotions

The human being is susceptible to various types of emotions. The problem is that you can’t always easily discern what you’re feeling. Generally, this type of conflict —that is, the difficulty of identifying one’s own feelings—affects children, who tend to change behavior because they cannot verbalize them. In turn, parents need to “listen” to these reactions to understand what is happening and help their child understand what afflicts him.

Similarly, adults may also show signs of emotional imbalance reflected in their behavior. Therefore, it is essential to connect with oneanother and talk about feelings, describing what is being lived internally, so that we can learn to manage emotions.

According to Arlete Castro, a Missionary at Sepal, master in Relation to Help and Therapeutic Intervention, exploring self-knowledge helps us manage times of crisis. “As we get older it becomes easier to read feelings and surroundings, transforming the environment of conflict into a healthier place,” he says.

Creativity and ability to play

Play is an emotional expression. It serves to facilitate socialization, cognitive, physical and mental development. In this time of seclusion, playful ability is important, because it allows the child to continue learning and make a reading of the reality in which it is inserted. When playing, the child can share fears, anxieties and conflicts, bringing meaning to pain and unease, reducing tension and transforming the negative into a positive representation.

Some ideas:

  • Have a recreation space that enables body expression and artistic creations, such as paintings, drawings and recycling practices.
  • Organize the time of “free play” and that of “guided play”, in which parents can work on topics related to conflicts.

Suggestions for guided games:

  • Costume chest: clothes, hats and accessories with which children can create stories and make filming to share with family members.
  • Tell your tale: from a sentence, stimulate the child to tell a story. The interesting thing about this dynamic is the possibility of seeing the ideas, impressions and fears of the little ones reflected in the narrative.
  • Simulation: propose situations and encourage the child to reflect on their reaction in different contexts: social isolation, distancing from friends, online classes Such a game aims to strengthen resilience.
  • Creative box: encourage creativity through the use of cardboard, brushes, magazines, mass modeling, among other resources.

In addition to several practical tips, Arlete Castro, Iolanda Vera-Cruz and Ludmilla Brito leave a beautiful message to parents, missionaries and people around the world, offering them a word of encouragement and faith.

You want to know more? Click here and watch the live in full!

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Silence, meditate, pray, and rest

Learning, experiencing and challenges of a time of pain

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