How can families (parents, spouses) best deal with problems on a daily basis at the time of coronavirus lockdown?
In these unprecedented and challenging times there is so much to be grateful for! On the one hand we witness the death of so many people we love. On the other hand, I personally feel that this time has been given to us so that we start appreciating what we have rather than concentrate on what we lack, eventually live in the present moment and rethink ourselves and our families.
So many of my clients say that this time triggered their decision to do things differently, something they had envisaged for a long time, but were lacking the final ‘push’.
Today they are doing it, bravely stepping into the role of a leader rather than a follower.
This time is an opportunity rather than a threat…That’s why I felt the urge to ask my colleagues mediators, one of the best in the world, to share their views on the topic. Today I’m proud to present these views to you.
Take as much as you can and drop me a line saying which one resonates with you?
Anna Saczuk, communication expert and mediator
My one word of advice is that families avoid being passive during the lockdown. By that I mean that they don’t sit back and just watch television, or play games on their phones. This is a time for families to be active in their relationships with each other. Each family will have different ways of doing this. It could be playing games together, discussing challenging topics, or books that they’ve read, etc. To make it clear these discussions don’t have to reach agreement, but their goal is common understanding.
I recommend some kind of schedule. Everyone needs some private time and also some relationship time. To get the family active they should work together to set up a schedule for things to do – chores, studies, reading, games, time alone, TV etc. It is important that each family member feels empowered to make suggestions. The family needs to feel as a team.
I hope this helps.
Charlie Young, author of “Constructive Communication with A Path for Challenging Situations” a guide for families wishing to communicate constructively.
Kenneth Cloke, What We Can Learn from the Pandemic
In a moment, everything has shifted. Unimaginable outcomes are now revealed as mere habits, assumptions, patterns of thought, feeling, and behavior — driven by a desire for security and fear of what we do not know. What matters now, after health and survival, are vision and values, and a willingness to think deeply and creatively about what we have witnessed and experienced – not simply the suffering and loss of life, but also the singing, dancing and celebration of life, the courage and deep desire for connection, the importance of love and collaboration that are taking place everywhere, every day, in the midst of all this loss.
Physical distancing does not have to mean social isolation, and can be counter-balanced by song and story, and everyday celebrations of empathy and heroism. On the one hand, we are divided from one another by this virus – personally, nationally, racially, culturally, religiously, politically — through fear and social distancing. On the other hand, we are united by it, as all humanity now faces the same problem, and must learn and practice higher order collaboration and conflict resolution skills in order to survive it.
We can thank the virus, for reminding us of what is precious; for forcing us to realize that without the courage of health care workers and grocery clerks we would not survive; for asking us to have the courage not to abandon each other, not to put joy and happiness on life support, and not to lose sight of the higher order visions and values we are now being asked to live by.
These are the visions and values of communication and connection, sharing and support, valuing each other and abandoning no one; of dialogue and collaboration, mediation and negotiation, forgiveness and reconciliation, empathy and mindfulness, love and kindness.
So let us honor the dead and dying, the heroes in hospital gowns and grocery aprons – and let us agree that their sacrifices shall not have been in vain, and dedicate ourselves to connection, communication, dialogue and problem solving. we sink or swim together.
Center for Dispute Resolution
2411 18th Street
Santa Monica, CA 90405
If something that someone does or says bothers you, then separate the ‘deed’ from the ‘doer’ when communicating your issue/feelings. Reflect on what your own underlying interests and needs are and be clear and specific about what you wish to convey. Use respectful body language that conveys a wish to collaborate.
An’ I-Message’ has four elements, but they do not need to be communicated in any particular order:
- Your feeling (s)
- Your observation
- Impact/consequences of the behaviour
- Your request for future
Example of an I-Message:
- ‘I feel frustrated when you keep interrupting me, because I need to get this report finished. I would like to be left alone until 6oc and then I will be free to talk with you
Note: If I-Messages are delivered with aggressive or negative body language then they WILL NOT work and may result in a power struggle.
Land line: +353 66 7139235
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Fahamore, Castlegregory, Co. Kerry, Ireland
Parenthood is an ever-changing mission and moreover so in the Corona times which is a period of instability and lack of control. Corona times have brought vast challenges to families. A total change of the old routine combined with a high level of closeness and intimacy that may feel at times too much. Corona time brings emotional complexities combined with deep economic fears.
As mediators we are asked to assist parties to handle challenging situations of complex and diverse issues in environment of great instability. Mediators map the parties’ needs and then seek for the best root that can satisfy most of the participants. In handling the challenges of family lockdown parents can use mediation tools. Parents like mediators should use creativity, sensitivity and ability to work under pressure in a changing climate. Creativity is more important than ever for finding a new routine in no school and no work quarantine days. Creativity is required also for finding enough activities for the children as well as quality time spaces for the parents, both as individuals and as a couple.
Lockdown in a house is like being stuck in a box. Parents should use “thinking outside the box” methods in order to turn this stressful period of Corona into a tasty lemonade of quality of life.
Orit Asnin is an independent full-time mediator of commercial conflicts as well as civil and inter-personal disputes. In the last 2 decades she has mediated more than 4,500 conflicts. Ms. Asnin is a lecturer, a panel participant and workshop instructor and she is a distinguished member of the IAM the international Academy of Mediators. LinkedIn profile: https://www.linkedin.com/in/orit-asnin-1144a3/
Clarify what you hear your family member say. Try to listen simply to understand them, not to convince or persuade. Acknowledge the emotions behind it and their right to have a different opinion without judging them.
Tell them what you appreciate about them. Look for and call attention to the best in them.
Call out the best in yourself: Am I aligned with my higher purpose, doing things for the highest good of all?
What is worth doing?
Make sure your day and your week have balance-Exercise, good food, emotional outlets, intellectual stimulation, spiritual and social connection.
Don Boice, LCSWR