KALAMAZOO, Mich. — With thousands of students across West Michigan learning virtually, some parents said it was causing them stress and anxiety.
A psychotherapist, Dr. Annette Nunez, said it’s important for parents to work on managing their stress and maintaining good mental health.
“We can’t control the outside world around us, but we can control what’s going on in our home environment. Really important to practice a positive mindset,” said Nunez.
Nunez told parents to set realistic expectations for the school year due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Not all parents are teachers, and many have jobs, so some parents are juggling working and guiding their children through virtual learning.
Nunez said, for parents in that circumstance, she considered shifting goals instead of focusing on teaching kids like skills instead, including working independently and being able to go with the flow.
“When you model calm, not stressed out behavior, then your child starts picking up on that, and they learn how to be flexible when things are so unpredictable,” said Nunez.
She encouraged parents to remember to practice self-care because parents need to be mentally healthy in order to be there for her children.
A few ideas for self-care Nunez gave – take time for yourself either in the morning or end of the day, meditate, smile more, and place words of affirmation throughout your home.
“When parents are becoming angry, frustrated with their kids over anything like eating, breathing. They’re becoming agitated. Then it’s important for them to seek a therapist,” said Nunez.
Nunez said therapists can give personalized strategies for people to manage stress.
By Callie Rainey