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Pandemic Parenting 2020

I know that many of us are navigating unknown and unforeseeable circumstances as parents during this crazy year. I remember in April (which seems like years ago, although it’s only been 6 months), when my then 16 year-old came home from school for what I thought might be an extended spring break. I was a little jealous, because I was still finishing up my doctorate and also Amanda and I opened up our practice in January, so I was pretty tired and ready to be finished with school. 

Little did I know that we would end up shutting our doors for at least 6 weeks shortly thereafter, and I would be spending so much time at home with my family in limbo, that I would wish for those days of being so busy and exhausted that I just fell into bed at night. I also hadn’t realized that my son would also be at such a loss without his friends and routine at school. He was in his sophomore year, finally really loving school, and making the best grades of his high school career, he is actually really bummed about not being able to go. 

He is having every emotion imaginable right now, he feels (like so many kids right now) like he has been grounded and he didn’t do anything wrong. He spent his 17th birthday in May when this all began, under quarantine with his parents. We joked about it at the time, but he didn’t laugh. I bought him a t-shirt that said just that, and it came a month after his birthday, by then none of us found the isolation we had experienced as a family funny at all. 

Flash forward, here we are in August, with no end of the Pandemic and the “new normal” in sight. We are of course back in the office working, helping people stay well, and treating the multitude of non-covid issues that our patients suffer from. But, the kids are not getting back to any semblance of normal. I now have a 17 year old at home 24/7. His plans of getting his license, a summer job, and driving to school starting his senior year are a total wash. Now we are looking at high school completion fast track options for him. I am worried that he is going to get depressed. 

So, what have we been doing to try and make the best of this so not normal situation? We don’t always make the best of it, to be honest. It is a learning process that we are going through as parents. We try to be patient with him and acknowledge his feelings, good or bad. We try to get out in nature and hike or walk at least once a week. I “check in” with him every couple days, just to make sure he is “ok”, and see if he has any questions about what’s going on. He spends way too much time on his phone, even more than before, and we thought that wasn’t possible. He works out everyday. We have dinner together every night, and try and maintain some sort of routine with chores. I remind him that this isn’t forever, and that better days are just around the corner. 

I hope that I am right. I hope that he will be able to experience all of the joys that come along with his coming of age as a young man. I feel lucky that he is of the age that he can entertain himself, but I worry that too much time alone isn’t good either. 

Therapeutically, I would say we are all suffering from “Liver Qi Stagnation” which explains the heavy sighing, irritability, depression, and moodiness. The Herbal formula Xiao Yao San has been helping us, also I have been putting ear seeds on his Shen Men and ours too! Shen Men is a point on the ear that is indicated for calming the spirit. We take elderberry syrup regularly, along with local honey, Vitamin C, and Probiotics too. Something I could recommend to those stuck at home without access to treatment? Try vigorously rubbing your ears every morning to activate the whole body and get energy moving. It’s like a whole body massage. Teach your kiddos to do it too. 

Good luck! Take care.

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Pandemic Parenting 2020

I know that many of us are navigating unknown and unforeseeable circumstances as parents during this crazy year. I remember in April (which seems like