Sean Lee, Social Isolation, University Of Michigan discussed on Here & Now
Are you guys doing out there last month? Education Week as parents and kids to interview each other about what? It's like to spend twenty four hours a day together. How are you feeling today? Mom feeling a little stress out. Things are kind of crazy and I'm trying to keep a schedule bit. You guys don't really make it that easy. Definitely overwhelming a little bit. There's a lot more energy in the house a lot more mess in the house and a lot more demands on. Mommy's time or company with the economy and the lack of a steady paycheck makes me feel anxious. So many of us are balancing work home life and online school with the kids and for a lot of us. All of this is happening at the same time. Well Sean Lee and associate professor. At the University of Michigan. School of social work has been studying with so many of us are dealing with and she joins us now. Welcome thank you. So you researched own Something that is likely not surprising to many folks out there. Fifty two percent of parents say financial stress is interfering with their parenting. Tell us more about that. Yes we did. A survey of American parents about how they were adapting to the pandemic right after schools closed about two weeks after the World Health Organization declared the pandemic and asked parents about what was happening in their household. As you said over. Half appearance were Concerned about bills and worried that money would run out and that those financial concerns and social isolation. We're getting in the way of their parenting apparent. Said that they were spending more time with their kids and felts actually closer and warmer to them than normal but at the same time. Parents also said that they were using discipline. More frequently twenty-five percent of parents said they were having more conflicts in the past two weeks. Yes so let's talk a little bit about that conflict so your study also reveals that about a quarter of parents said they have screamed yelled or shouted at their kids. More often about five percent. Research are actually spanking more often. This is really difficult because parents are stressed. Kids are stressed your apparent You have a one year old and a seven year old. What are some suggestions that you have in navigating this right no doubt? It's a very difficult time. Well some suggestions that I can be useful for. Kids of all ages is taking the time to give them attention which is of course easier said than done since. We're all many of us. At least they're trying to also work from home so making some time and space to give children concentrated attention even in small doses of five to ten minutes throughout the day can help them. Kind of recalibrate won't work necessarily so well with very young children like one two and three year olds who just can't really keep themselves entertained but older children really benefit from knowing that you're there even if you're engaged in other activities and your intention is not fully on them at that moment. I think it's important to recognize validate how this has disrupted their life and how stressful it might be for them to be apart from their friends. missing school and having such major disruptions to their routines. Yeah you know which makes me think about. Maybe some of the behavioral changes That we should be looking out for An how parents can really effectively address them. Those behavioral changes that. You're seeing your your children who are exhibiting stress. Absolutely I think you would expect to see in some ways behaviors. That adults might have as well fearfulness trouble sleeping. Small children might feel clingy excessively sad or even acting out behaviors for some children so maybe more temper tantrums or a little bit of hyperactivity trouble focusing those types of behaviors are quite common in children and if they persist for a long period of time are seem abnormally high. It might mean that your child's having a hard time managing their feelings During this pandemic yeah you have a prediction that wants school is back in session. Educators will need to have systems in place to address the social emotional backsliding as well as academic. Can you explain yes? I think that most families are going to adapt to this enormously. Stressful time and most kids are probably going to be okay in the long run but a lot of kids are experiencing major disruptions. Their parents have experienced job loss. They may not have enough money to buy food. Interpersonal violence seems to be on the rise and many experts are concerned also about child maltreatment child abuse and neglect increasing. So when kids get back to school my hope is that school professionals will be able to provide trauma informed services and care to kids in school to help kids who have been traumatized by this event address their feelings and hopefully improve their functioning in the school setting. There's some really great evidence based models for trauma informed care in school settings. Yeah you know. This pandemic is really revealing. Just how much our culture and society is is not structured for families to be around each other all of this time and managing home life and work life and work being more nimble to to being at home. Do you think that this crisis will change our attitudes about parenting and structured support for working families? I really hope so. I hope that the pandemic is the beginning of a national conversation about how to support working families and creating more flexible workplaces family leave policies for all workers when kids and family members are sick better support for childcare universal.