That’s My Child…

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‘I cannot force schools to open or these endless ridiculous restrictions to end. All I can do is help support my child the best I can’



By Alicia Chamely

HAVE you peeped in on your child’s online classes to witness one of her classmates having a full on mental breakdown or raging tantrum?

After seeing this have you ever thought, “Jesus, I am glad ‘That kid isn’t my kid’?”

My daughter is “That kid.” She’s not an awful child with severe behavioural problems. She is a seven-year-old who is miserable. Whose life was completely interrupted and turned upside down by the pandemic.

She was torn out of a school she had just acclimatised to, separated from her friends, forced to sit in front of a screen for the last two years, been surrounded by Covid anxiety and it has swallowed her whole.

So she loses it, her emotions are out of control; she gets frustrated easily and has given up. She gets sucked into this unbreakable vortex of self-doubt and it’s heartbreaking to watch.

Academically she is doing very well. I mean, I was floored when her last report came in and she got a 98 in comprehension, considering she has a full blow up any time her teacher says, “Okay boys and girls, take out your comprehension books.”

Emotionally, she isn’t okay and as a parent, it is soul-crushing to watch your child crumble.

This was my sunshine child, my child who woke singing, my child who was lively, artistic, a gentle girl who loved school. But now, between the hours of 8.30 am and 1 pm, she is like a mean, angry werewolf hungry for blood.

It’s odd because as soon as school is done… poof!.. happy again. Yes, there are small outbursts of crying that usually happens when a social event ends or is cancelled, but she’s doing her best in holding herself together.

So where do I go as a parent? I cannot change the circumstances we are in. I cannot force schools to open or these endless ridiculous restrictions to end. All I can do is help support my child the best I can.

We have started a rewards system, as per the suggestion by her teacher. She now has a chart that hangs over her desk, with a list of rules and rewards for her good classroom behaviour that has helped a lot. You’d be surprised the power of a promised trip to Mc Donald’s for a Happy Meal has over a child.

She has a list of things to do if she feels she is getting to her boiling point, she has her reward chart, a special sketchbook she keeps on her desk so she can scribble out her frustrations, and we have created new and open lines of communications. Socially, I’ve put her in every extracurricular pod I have found, I am organising more playdates and I have learned to be mindful in how I react to her outbursts… cause trust me there are days when my hands are itching to deliver a hard slap.

It’s not been an easy journey, but we are getting there.

Dealing with this has had me wondering how much of our nation’s problems stem from the lack of personal and emotional development among our population. I am sure the majority of all of the trouble makers in society have at some point found themselves wrestling with emotions they do not know how to control.

I worry as to whether those in charge of the educational system have anything in place for children like my daughter, who have lost their way and do not have parental support. I’ve heard nothing of additional counselling, neither academic nor psychological, being provided in schools when they reopen.

Our Governments continue to invest and invest in what I like to refer to as “initiatives of instant gratification.” I question whether any of these are worthwhile investments if you have a nation of emotionally underdeveloped citizens.

Without investment in personal or psychosocial development, can we truly become a better nation? And when will those in charge realise that the greatest investment is in ensuring your population is one that is mindful of their actions, in control of their emotions and confident in themselves?

As for my daughter, she is making progress and together we are getting there. So, if you are the parent of “that” child, stay strong, stand by your child, take some deep breaths and if you need help, seek it, because there will be times you cannot do it alone.



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