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Emerging from the COVID-19 pandemic will come with its own set of triumphs and challenges for parents. From preschoolers, to elementary school kids to adolescents, to college age young adults, the call on parents to adapt to changes in growing human beings is constant. But what happens after a trauma? How will parenting change? Outside of normal developmental changes, how can parents guide their children through post-pandemic life?

Connectivity is a vital part of our culture and our lives. We know about digital connection, but what does it mean to “connect” in relationships. In the field of psychology, “connection” can be thought of in several different aspects of human life. There is “social connection” which meets our need for love and belonging, “emotional connection,” which meets our need for empathy and understanding, and “cognitive connection,” or information sharing, which meets our need for intellectual stimulation. Humans need all three types of connections to thrive and maintain health and wellness. …

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There is no greater agent of change than an educator. The educator is on the front lines of children’s lives, day in and day out, 35 hours a week, roughly 170 days a year! Through snow storms, earthquakes, bad-parenting days, tantrums, and….a pandemic. And…the educators are exhausted.

As we move into the second year of the pandemic and look at the aftermath of post-pandemic life, one of the primary focal points for mental health practitioners is the mental well being of the population. A focus on educators and children is at the forefront of discussions.

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“At many times throughout their lives, children will feel the world has turned topsy-turvey. It’s not the ever-present smile that will help them feel secure. It’s knowing that love can hold many feelings, including sadness, and that they can count on the people they love to be with them until the world turns right side up again.” Fred Rogers (Mr. Rogers)

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As a systems therapist working primarily with adults and children impacted by trauma, I’ve found that fostering “resilience” helps mitigate the impact of trauma. In general, fostering resilience helps “insulate” against the negative impact of stress and lessen the impact of traumatic experiences (Harvard University, 2018).

Resilience can be broadly defined as “the capacity of a system to adapt successfully to challenges that threaten the function, survival or future development of the system” (Masten, 2014).

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“So long as I know what’s expected of me, I can manage, said Mary” (The Secret Garden, Frances Hodgson Burnett).

Have you heard of the pandemic wall? The term has been coined by psychologists to refer to the “cognitive overload” being experienced as a result of the continued effects of the pandemic, particularly in children. In a few words, the bodies, brains and minds of children are fed up, and some kids are simply… shutting down. But if you look beyond the wall, just over the edge, on the other side of uncertainty, chaos, and disruption, there is something unexpected…

“When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves…” we are challenged to grow! Viktor Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning.

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There is a common misnomer in society that children are “resilient” and “they will adapt,” with the connotation that resiliency is inherent in the individual and pre-determined, so to speak, by genetics or personality. While adaptability is certainly a valuable “learned” skill to teach a child, children are not inherently “resilient.” They need guidance to build this skill. Resilience can be broadly defined as “the capacity of a system to adapt successfully to…

“In some ways suffering ceases to be suffering at the moment it finds meaning” Viktor Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning, (Austrian neurologist, psychiatrist, philosopher, author and Holocaust survivor).

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Meaning-making is fundamental to healing. The act and art of finding purpose in peril is a primary component of post traumatic growth. While adults have the advantage of perspective-taking and history of positive life experiences to help shield against traumatic events, the world’s children are most at risk of suffering long term consequences of the current global pandemic. Building resiliency in children requires community effort to help mitigate the effects of the…

My community was recently struck by tragedy. Not the type of tragedy that is created by nature, or an accident or an environmental issue; this was a tragedy that was human induced — it’s different. When a traumatic incident is induced by a human, the whole of the human family is affected and the whole of the human family needs an opportunity to heal.

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I live in Highlands Ranch, Colorado. In May of 2019, there was a school shooting at STEM School Highlands Ranch — 2 miles north of where I live. My children attended STEM School the year prior…

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The old Russian folktale, The Little Red Hen, is a tale written for children to help teach the values of hard work and self-reliance. In the story, the Little Red Hen finds a seed of wheat, which she decides to plant in order to make bread. The Little Red Hen attempts to enlist the help of other farm animals in the planting, harvesting, threshing, and milling the wheat into flour, and the baking of the bread, but the farm animals refuse. After doing all the work herself, the Little Red Hen then asks who will help her eat the bread…

Wendy Buchholz

Writer, Licensed Psychotherapist, Clinical & Medical Hypnotherapist, Adjunct Psychology Professor, Masters work in Communication Theory, Change Advocate

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