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  • Writer's picturePanorama Psychology

Family Reactions to Uncertainty

Are you feeling scattered, easily distracted, hot-tempered, or fatigued? Maybe you are noticing unusual behavior or thought patterns in yourself or your loved ones. If so, it is possible that these experiences are related to the unusual circumstances in which we find ourselves.

I thought about this quote yesterday after learning that Denver Public Schools are again delaying in-person learning for middle and high schoolers. Although I trust that the delay is in the best health interests of our community, we all know that remote learning continues to place a heavy burden on parents, teachers, and students. Noticing when we are feeling dysregulated, being patient with ourselves and each other, and giving permission to feel complicated emotions are all important when the world around us is confusing and unpredictable.

“Abnormal reactions” (aka: normal behavior) for children might include irritability, nervousness, or changes to routines such as sleep and eating patterns. The first step to responding to these reactions is remembering that the behavior is not reflective of a bad kid or dysfunctional family, but rather of an abnormal situation. The good news is that we know having supportive adults protects children from adverse impacts of stressful life events. This is why it is so important for caregivers to take care of themselves (and each other), so that they can be present and emotionally responsive when their children need it most.

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