Even as lockdown restrictions are easing, parents may be feeling additional stress related to the pandemic. Our lives – and our world -- are not the same as they were a few months ago. Schools will reopen soon, but the experience will be different with physical distancing and other ways to reduce risks. Some families are dealing with health and money issues. And many of us have worries about the future.
You want to support your children through this uncertain time, and that’s not always easy when you’re dealing with your own worries. But we can work together to create more resilience within our families and our communities.
Handling stress is the key to a high quality of relationship with your partner, and a happier family life . Parents who focus on supporting each other as a couple are more likely to be able to deal with the stresses of parenting . If you can listen to each other, share the burden, and present a united front, you’ll find it gets easier to come to agreements about parenting . Your children will cope better too – they’ll be less likely to feel sad or anxious, or to act out through stress .
Especially during difficult times, it can help to make more of an effort to:
Your children might have questions as lockdown restrictions are eased and you sort out what the ‘new normal’ will look like. Generally, if your child is ready to ask a question, they are ready to hear the answer. You don’t have to tell them everything – keep their age in mind, and only tell them as much as is necessary to answer their question. They can always ask a follow-up question if they want to know more. If you don’t know something, say so. There is a lot of uncertainty about the future now, and even the experts don’t have all the answers.
Children are reassured by the information they get from their parents, and it’s helpful for them to know they can rely on you  . When they feel informed about what’s going on, they can get on with being kids again.
Conflict is unavoidable. In every relationship, there are always going to be things to sort out that you can’t agree on straightaway. And now we have the added stress of major global events.
How you choose to deal with conflict can make all the difference to your relationship and to your children . Children who are exposed to negative conflict can sometimes act out or become anxious and withdrawn .
Some tips on keeping your conflict constructive:
This website has a wealth of resources on navigating relationship difficulties, including community support. You might turn to a trusted family member or friend. This often gives you a chance to explore issues safely, and see them from a different perspective.
However, it can sometimes be more useful to speak with a professional relationship counsellor, as friends and family aren’t always equipped to deal with the issues at hand. A counsellor can help by offering emotional support, and encouraging you and your partner to see things from each other’s point of view. This can allow you both to see how you might be contributing to the issue and what you can do to help move things forward.
 Ashley K. Randall & Guy Bodenmann, 2008. The role of stress on close relationships and marital satisfaction.
 Brown, 2012
 Zemp, Milek, Cummings, & Bodenmann, 2017
 Zemp, Bodenmann, Backes, Sutter-Stickel, & Revenson, 2016.
 Enduring Love research project
 Kennedy, V. L., & Lloyd‐Williams, M., 2009
 Osborn, T., 2007
 Goodman, S. H., Barfoot, B., Frye, A. A., & Belli, A. M. (1999). Dimensions of marital conflict and children's social problem-solving skills. Journal of Family Psychology, 13(1), 33.
 Grych, J. H., & Fincham, F. D. (1990). Marital conflict and children's adjustment: a cognitive-contextual framework. Psychological bulletin, 108(2), 267.