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Pandemic parenting a slight switch from the norm


BY STAN ASHBEE insight magazine


enting becomes altered, adapted and tweaked. Being a parent in 2021,looks a wee bit different than it did at the beginning of 2020.In a year, parenting (similar to every other aspect of life) has dramatically been affected by COVID-19 and its transforming properties. “I have been really lucky with my teenagers,”


P


noted Petra Debow, Family Services manager at Family and Community Support Services (FCSS). There needs to be a balance these days and


presently it’s hard for some families to find a balance, especially when youth don’t seem to understand why they can’t see their friends and they begin to push boundaries. Luckily, Petra’s daughters have each other, while supporting current restrictions in place to


arenting, at the best of times, can be challenging — to say the least. Throw in a global pandemic that has changed life,as we know it — par-


help the spread of COVID-19. “They don’t have that same need to socialize with their friends and they’re intro- verted.But if you have an extroverted teenager, I can see that will create a lot of stress in the family with boundaries and them pushing the boundaries and maybe even lying and taking off with somebody or meeting friends when they’re not supposed to — which happens with teenagers, without COVID. I think COVID puts another layer of stress for parents,”Petra point- ed out. Then, there’s the emotional part,adds Petra.


“With not seeing friends and not socializing it becomes hard on teenagers’ mental health. I have definitely seen my oldest, she dances, and has continued dancing via Zoom and has still been able to connect with her peers that way. She’s more likely to connect with her friends. While my younger, who is 14, it’s been a hard thing for her. She understands the restrictions and respects them, but it has taken a toll on her mental health. She has nothing to do.”


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Broadly speaking, FCSS has plenty of parent- ing supports from lending a listening ear to providing resources for how to deal with tough situations. “We provide activity kits for younger children in most of our areas, so that’s an option — if you’re running out of ideas on how to keep your younger children busy.And when it comes to the older children who need a listening ear or even mental health support,we do have counselling for youth and adults — and that’s free,”Petra said. With health regulations continuing to be in


place due to COVID-19,the way services are offered at FCSS has somewhat changed, but its message remains the same, with some alter- ations to meet the present needs of clients.


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