May is Mental Health Awareness Month. Last week was Teacher Appreciation Week. Today is Mother’s Day! Here is a Newsletter for it all!
To Our Incredible Teachers:
Who could have thought that for months now you would be teaching and supporting students in all the innovative ways you always have, but from home through a video screen! You have become IT professionals, change makers, and bona fide three ring circus jugglers managing your own families and ours all at once. There have been frustrations for sure; yours, our kids, and parents alike. We have all been figuring things out together and trying to stay connected to our kids and students while keeping them engaged in the endeavor of learning. Thank you for your efforts, dedication and tenacity! We will get through this TOGETHER!
A Word on Wellness:
In honor of Mental Health Awareness Month let us remember that what keeps us balanced and regulated are the positive relationships we rest on most in times of great challenge. Relationships foster resilience, promote hope, and literally impact our biology by producing endorphins and quelling the flood of cortisol under stress. Let us tend to our relationships by remembering the principles that guide our relational work and parenting: Respect, Authenticity, Kindness, Predictability, and Acceptance. When we engage using these skills intentionally, we create connection and promote well-being.
The Power of Parents:
First and foremost, I want to wish all the Moms a very Happy Mother’s Day! For me, it has been a day filled with virtual connections and appreciation from my boys and great husband and between the Moms in my extended family and amazing friends. I have been most fortunate to have an incredible role model for this Mom job, so thank you to my Mother for her love, acceptance, guidance, and brilliantly modeling the art of being a working Mom! Dads out there, you will be celebrated next month for all your greatness.
For now, let’s highlight the incredible opportunity we as parents collectively have at this moment in time. For the first time ever (and hopefully the last), we have had a chance to spend day in and day out for weeks in the presence of our kids. While there are many angles of this experience, one important benefit has been the time we have had to spend with each other, talking, playing, cooking, walking, watching and just being. The opportunity lies in the unprecedented access (especially to our teenagers) we have for meaningful conversations, relationship building, and appreciating our kids and teens for who they are as people (rather than their accomplishments as students, athletes, leaders and extracurricularians). Parents have the privilege and responsibility to model those social emotional skills that will ultimately make our kids successful in life and evolve to their greatest potential: self-awareness, respectful self-expression, self-regulation, thoughtful decision making, and social and relationship skills. Our kids and teens are watching us as we navigate these hard and challenging times. Let’s show them what we want to see from them.
Julie Baron, LCSW-C
For more guidance on parenting through the pandemic, see my recent webinar Parenting in Uncertain Times (hosted by the World Bank for their staff):