Parents have experienced more upheaval than most during the pandemic. Not only do they have to manage their own time and emotions, but they also guide their children, who may have a harder time understanding what’s going on and why everything has happened. We reached out to FamilyLife Canada who connected us with three parents who were willing to share their experiences. We asked about their highest moments, lowest moments, and what they’ve learned from God about themselves as parents.
What has been a ‘high’ during the pandemic?
“We have seen friendships within our family grow stronger,” the Deans shared. “Our girls (ages 15 and 11) have been having sleepovers together at different periods throughout Covid. It has been cool to watch their friendship grow and how they have become closer.”
The increased time together as a family was something all three couples appreciated. Even though the togetherness was mandated, the families made the best of it and found they could draw closer and learn more about one another.
The Jaggers and their three sons spent a number of weekends hunting for waterfalls as a family, making use of the nearby Okanagan area. “It was very beneficial for our well being and made way for great conversations and memories. Even though we are ‘forced’ to be together we still need to be intentional in making time for fun as a family.”
What has been a ‘low’?
The self-isolation and cancellation of plans was the hardest for all families involved. With the shut-down announced right around spring break for most families, this meant a quick pivot in plans as well as navigating the emotions of their disappointed children. As the youngest Jaggers child said, “this is the worst spring break ever.” Beyond that, however, the inability to see other friends and family wore on the parents and was the biggest adjustment they needed to face.
Some of the parents also struggled with homeschooling their children, and particularly in managing their children’s expectations when it came to school work. “When the kids heard about no school, they got excited,” Celeste Trickett, parent of four, shared. “They thought it was going to be a free for all. It wasn’t. I had expectations for them and told them that learning is still important. They weren’t thrilled about that.” Whether it was struggling with an online learning platform or just trying to wrangle their children into a learning environment, parents definitely faced a challenging time.
“I tried to tell myself that this is a process,” Celeste shared. “We got this far today, and tomorrow is another day. I tried not to get too far ahead of myself.”
What has God taught you about being parents in this season?
Each set of parents learned new ways to connect with their children, and most significantly, how they needed to trust God as parents. “This season has helped us realize that we are not perfect parents, so that is why it is important for us to seek God for His wisdom as we raise our kids,” the Jaggers shared. “We need to be active in our kids’ spiritual development. We have the responsibility to see our children learn and grow.”
Another important lesson came in the form of time — being reminded how valuable time is, and the importance of how it’s spent. “We are to teach our kids how to critically think and evaluate the messages and worldviews that are bombarding our kids constantly through books, movies, social media, and their friends,” the Deans shared. “During isolation, we had lots of time to watch movies and discuss these things which was a great way to connect with our kids and hear how they are interpreting the world.” There is a lot of pressure as a parent with all the responsibilities it entails. But parents can find encouragement in knowing they aren’t navigating this journey alone.
“We want so much for our kids,” the Tricketts shared. “I want my kids to know God the way I know him, but this time helped me realize that they are on their own spiritual journey. I can teach them things, but it’s up to them if they’re going to walk that path. Even if there are things that we as parents missed, God is carrying them and has a plan for them. I may not always be as involved in that plan as I want to be, but in the end I need to release them to God and trust Him to walk with them and teach them.”
For more resources on parenting (whether during a pandemic or ‘regular’ life!) visit FamilyLife Canada’s website.