This nationwide ‘shutdown’ has some pretty wide-ranging impact on families!!
One thought you might consider: much like a corporate retreat, why not take this time to ‘step back’- survey the horizon of your family, ask their input – REGARDLESS of age. I LOVE the idea of asking a 2-year-old these questions. You will probably get some great laughs AND some wonderful insights.
Be sincere and as basic as needed – but draw out their thoughts of ‘How are we doing as a family and as your parent?’ And LISTEN!
PREDICTABLY, some will think you’re wacky, or you’re ‘up to something.’ Weather the storm, assure them of your sincerity – and maybe ask some leading questions –
- maybe about meals or
- bedtime or
- school or
- [my favorite] – ‘how could I do better as your parent?’
- and, if you haven’t said it before – how much you love them but “boy, this parenting is hard work – “I get so tired” – and pause – and wait for their reply
Let them say anything – and listen. I GUARANTEE you will learn things you’d never expected.
Some of your kids – maybe even your partner – will think this is a silly waste of time. [IT’S NOT]. I sit here and ponder what any downsides of a family retreat might be – I can’t see any. Even if it erupts with anger, that’s mostly venting – which you may or may not have heard before – but again – great information!!
You may want to open with some ground rules – like – “no personal attacks,” or – “If you leave the room in anger, you must come back w/in 5 minutes” and others you might consider.
BTW, remind yourself that any parent who is unwilling to acknowledge to their kids that they may have made a mistake is a setup for failure. Be willing and open to that but mostly be willing and open to improve as one-on-one parents and as a family unit.
Maybe this is one outgrowth of this pandemic that will be a positive! Who knows?
Go for it, valiant parent!