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Sunday, July 14, 2024 77° Today's Paper

EditorialIsland Voices

Column: It’s stressful, but be kind to your kids — and seek help

The word “COVID” has become a word that makes every person in the United States tense up when it is seen on the news, talked about with family or friends, or read in the local newspaper. It is a word that makes us wonder what is going to happen in the next months as we approach a new year. The virus now has a vaccine that we see as the way out of this horrible tragedy. How is COVID affecting our families here in Hawaii?

During the past few weeks, we have heard on the news about two families who have reached a point where abuse has entered into the daily lives of the family. Why does “abuse” enter into the picture during these times, is a question that many people are currently asking.

There are many questions that are being asking by family members, agency workers and members of the general community. Is there anything that we can do right now or do we just have to sit and wait for COVID to “go away”? The real answer is “yes”!

This all sounds like a lot of work for a parent who currently has been laid off from work, has to homeschool their children or is stressed about where to get the money to pay the monthly rent. But there are a few things that we can share to help parents cope with today’s new stressors:

Zoom meeting: Currently many community businesses and agencies have continued to work from home via Zoom. Well, it’s simple: Have a Zoom meeting with a family member or your close friend. Take some time a couple of times a week and share your thoughts and feelings with that special person. They are there for you, they will listen.

Timeout: We all have heard and used the timeout method with our children. Well, why don’t you put yourself in a “timeout”? What is wrong with taking 10-15 minutes where you sit in a space to regroup your thoughts? Go for it, Mom or Dad: Put yourself in a “timeout.”

Diary writing: Stop and think about it! It is a simple and effective way to get those thoughts and feelings out in a very safe place.

Take a walk: Walking is a simple way to use up all the “stored energy” that often turns into that explosion that effects all the members of your family. You can walk at any pace that helps to release that toxic energy; plus, it helps to reduce all those extra calories from stress eating.

Laughter: Laughing is a way to reduce the level of stress hormones, as well as simultaneously cutting the anxiety and stress that impacts your body. By reducing stress hormones, one is able to build higher immune-system performance.

These are only a few of the things that parents can do to lower the stress levels of living in the home during the COVID pandemic. Use your personal power to make those positive, not negative, choices to get your needs met.

Just remember that you need to be aware of your thoughts and feelings, how you come across to others in your family, the mood that you are showing to your family, situations that you have set up for your loved ones. These are all necessary to be aware of, when using your best judgement in responding to a family situation.

The COVID pandemic might make you feel as if you are doing all of this alone — but just remember, that as a parent, it’s OK to say, “I need some help!”

Robert Raasch-Barajas is executive director of Prevent Child Abuse Hawaii.

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