As we emerge from a time of mandated socially distancing and virtual school, work, meetings, and happy hours, we feel the deep effects of isolation and loneliness. Like our children, some of us adults need to remember how to interact and build healthy new relationships. Friendships can be awkward, and there is no playbook for social interactions. But it does take a team to raise a child.
Consider the following roles parents often take with each other and how to show up in a healthy way:
It’s a gift to have a group of parents who watch their children grow up together – blowing out candles on birthdays, taking pictures before school dances, and cheering together at sports games. They can tackle parenting issues together, like What are the rules around social media? When will your child get an iPhone? How do we handle the sudden loss of an adored elderly neighbor?
Tip: Teammates help each other deal with crises, offer advice, and empathize with each other because they’re in similar situations. As these friendships develop healthfully, parents will realize they have more in common than just their students. Then the relationships will revolve around shared interests and beliefs, and not just the latest update from the kids.
Most relationships include an element of competition; it’s human nature. For some parents, however, this gets blown out of proportion and pushes others away. It’s one thing to be proud about your student’s accomplishments, but quite another to compare him to your friends’ kids, which can be unintentional but hurtful nonetheless. Focusing on achievements or grades will strains relationships, both with other parents and with your children.
Tip: Rivals find more competition than camaraderie with their fellow parents. Instead of comparing your student to others, realize that raising children is about forging a unique path that leads to independence and fulfillment. That will look different for everyone. Try to be compassionate toward other parents whose stress and anxiety takes shape through rivalry, and help them see that their identity is far more than their students’ accomplishments.
Isolated players think they need to do it all. They forget that an entire team wins or loses together. Our collective community has been shaken the past few years. Many of us have also lost our community, when we stopped going into the office or political and social rifts among friends just became too big. The task of raising children was never meant to be an individual sport; it takes a team.
Tip: We’ve all been isolated players to some degree out of necessity. If you haven’t yet, form your team now. Build relationships with trusted people around you. Ask for help. Help others. Be honest and vulnerable when talking about the challenges of parenting during this time. We’re all in this together. Find your people, and cheer them on!
Want to join our team? Contact us at (480) 641-2640 or (602) 274-1910 to get more information about our K-8 nationally awarded charter school of excellence with an advanced learning curriculum. In addition to online learning, we have campuses in Phoenix, Glendale, East Mesa, and Mesa.