For many individuals and families, 2020 is an extraordinarily difficult year. The pandemic has claimed nearly 170,000 American lives, with no end in sight. Many people have lost jobs, and they have little savings on which to fall back.
This is leading to landlords evicting many people. Covid-19 is exposing many of the American system’s inequities in a very stark way.
If you have a family, then doubtless, this is a challenging time for you. You want what is best for them, but it’s not always easy to know what to do.
You’re the adult, and if you have kids, they look to you to guide them. If you have a significant other or spouse, they probably rely on you for a lot as well.
Let’s look at ways that you can be a good role model for them in this most difficult year.
Take Any Job You Can
As you think about protecting your family’s best interests, one of the ways to do that is to work and bring in money. If you’re physically able to, then keeping a steady income stream going can stave off eviction or foreclosure. It’s possible that:
- You’ve lost your job
- Your boss is giving you fewer hours
That probably upsets you. You know that you have hungry mouths to feed and bills to pay.
The best example you can set for your kids, and any other family members, is to take any job that you can if your previous employer laid you off. It might not be your dream job, but any employment is better than none, even if you feel like you deserve better.
Part of being a family leader is swallowing your pride sometimes. Even a menial job that’s beneath you is better than having no income right now.
Attempt to Project Bravery
It’s easy to get onto a negative thought cycle this year. With so many deaths, lost jobs, and a contentious presidential election, more people report feeling depressed.
That’s true among younger people as much as with adults. Remember that if you have kids in the house, they take their cues from you.
If you seem depressed and anxious, then they’ll start to feel the same. You can be honest about your struggles to some extent, but you shouldn’t overburden them.
You should be the one to contextualize things in a positive light whenever you can. Be the adult who:
- Looks at things from a glass-half-full perspective
- Refuses to give up
It can make a bigger difference than you know.
Make Decisions Based on Reason and Logic
There’s political pressure in some states for kids to physically return to school this fall season. Some states offer online teaching, but obviously, that’s not ideal.
However, as one of the family adults, ultimately, you decide whether your kids physically go back to school. If you don’t feel like it’s safe for them, then keep them home. Look into online options.
Of course, you don’t want your kids to fall behind, but that’s a better option than dying. It’s not hyperbole or sensationalistic to talk that way. While Covid-19 does affect older adults more, it kills some kids as well.
On top of that, they can catch it, be asymptomatic, and then bring it back into your home, where you or an older adult might contract it. You need to be smart about this and avoid such a possibility.
Strike a Balance Between Optimism and Honesty
Earlier, we mentioned trying to have a positive attitude for your kids’ sake, and possibly your partner or other adults in your household. That’s a good thing to do, but you should also not bury your feelings entirely.
With everything that’s going on, it’s natural to worry and to feel uncertain. We are living through strange times. Within a few months, everything has changed.
You’re still allowed to experience feelings, and you should acknowledge them. You can tell your kids about them a little bit if you feel they’re old enough to handle them. You’re their parent, but you’re still human.
The same goes for interactions with your spouse or significant other. You can be stoic, but only up to a point. It’s better that you vocalize what you’re feeling rather than keeping it tightly bottled up.
This is a time when you must do all you can to come together as a family. The outside world is testing you, but if you rely on each other, you should make it through.