Did you wake up today with the sudden realization that your child is not a child anymore?
As parents, we may feel that the active ‘parenting’ part of our relationship with our child is behind us when we notice that they have become increasingly independent – and may have even grown taller than us! However, the sense of responsibility and concern for their welfare never leaves us, no matter how old our children grow.
These feelings have grown all the more palpable during the pandemic. When the first lockdown hit us, the nature of parenting changed. To use a metaphor from the world of sports and games, it went from a relatively strenuous physical sport with rules, finish lines and the like – to a quieter mental game requiring patience and featuring many unknowns. Before the pandemic, many of us would see our teens or young adults just occasionally, but now, with everyone studying or working from home, the outward structure of the relationship has changed.
Everyone has been facing new hurdles and challenges. Not surprisingly, anxiety and depression has skyrocketed as the pandemic has dragged on. Even routine tasks were challenging in the early days: How can I keep in touch with my family or my elderly parent who is locked down in a long-term care home? How can I make an appointment with a doctor?
In addition to a rise in mental health issues, many parents have also experienced communication problems with their children, and these may have persisted from the early days of the pandemic through to today. In the early days of the pandemic, we might have asked: why is my son or daughter spending almost all their time in their bedroom? Now, with the lockdown lifted, we might be asking: Why are they never home? Throughout, many have asked: Why are they challenging me over every little thing?
At CultureLink, we are striving to do our part to help newcomer families with these challenges. The CultureLink Newcomer Mental Health Program, in partnership with the Youth in Action Program, has put together a program of wellness sessions for newcomer/immigrant parents who are concerned about their relationship with their young adult or teenager (especially during the pandemic).
These are virtual sessions over zoom where newcomer parents can hear from experts on various coping tools for relating to their children and dealing in general with what has been happening all around them. The sessions also provide a space where parents can discuss their feelings and the challenges they are confronting. And if nothing else, they offer a bit of a breather for stressed out parents.
If you know of a newcomer parent or parent group that would be interested in these sessions, please contact Barbora Gomezova, Newcomer Wellness Worker.