Video and transcribe available below

Personal message to parents

Hi everyone it’s Dr Ro here. I hope you had an amazing week. 

I want to talk to you about a subject I think is a sensitive one at the moment, particularly if you’re a parent you may relate to it. 

You may completely not relate to it. I think we are in unprecedented times at the moment we have never had a set of circumstances like this, a whole nation locked down for huge periods of time parents being forced to work from home whilst also being forced under circumstances to educate their children, to manage a financial environment in the family when maybe one or two people are struggling to stay afloat. 

Whether it’s a business, or the job, kids are not allowed out of natural time when children want to express themselves, they want to explore, get out into the world, they want to connect socially and learn those amazing social skills that are needed. 

As an adult we need them but we develop them at a young age so the whole experience that children have where it’s understanding how to communicate with the other person, experience a clash of personality types, being drawn to somebody else pushed away from somebody else. 

That whole human dynamic we all have to evolve as human beings which is a big part of our communication of course all of that has been completely fractured and broken down, so that the world at the moment for many people, has been turned upside down from a communications perspective, from a connection perspective and the dynamics of family. Children growing up seeing their parents maybe having clashes as well it happens in most families at the moment because of situations. Add to that we are seeing dramatic increases in the number of self-harming children. 

I think in teenage girls at the moment we’re looking at maybe 25% of girls if I’m correct are actually self-harming. I personally have been speaking to parents over the last six months who have got children that are doing everything from self-harming to not eating properly to not looking after themselves, it’s a very difficult time. 

I just wanted to share a few thoughts, a few inspirational ideas, and this is not just things I’ve come up with but things I’ve learnt and watched then taken from some amazing people out there in the world at the moment working in this field and as a parent as well juggling and trying to understand how best to be the best parent we can be in this environment. 

I’m working on that all the time. I’ve got two beautiful daughters, and I have to learn as a daddy how to be in the best place. Sometimes it’s not ideal because you come back there are a lot of things going on. They come to you and they’ve got their world. You’ve got your world and what might seem important to us is no less important than the things going in our children’s world. 

When they express something right now I think we have been really tuned in to the fact that whatever they’re feeling is being magnified inside and if we don’t give them a place to vent, express it, we might be actually corking that up to a point where it explodes further down the line and explosion can be anger and shutdown as well. 

This is where young men and young girls, teenage children as well particularly that age group they can’t express themselves, they’ll lose themselves in social media, and may become addicted there because they’re not getting expression of communication with parents or someone close to them, or they literally shut off. Isolate themselves and don’t express themselves which is a dangerous place to be, or they go into that world of self-harming. I’m just sharing his message as it’s important to be mindful of. Maybe you can create an environment at home where it’s a safe space for your children to express themselves, and you might go we do that, well depending on your energy and dynamic and what they see from you or depending on their mindset is at that moment in time with children it’s all about patterns, rhythm.

It’s about feeling the rhythm of the day. My eldest is 12 years of age particularly between four, five, six towards their teenage years if there is rhythm, pattern in the family that’s where safe trust comes in. Where they feel comfortable they feel safe, protected even though may not say it they know there’s a certain ebb and flow and rhythm to the family when you eat, how you sit down, how you communicate in the space around the dining table where there is no screen and nothing to watch. Children know that then they know that this is the time I could be present. Listen to mummy and daddy and express myself but it is not there, maybe it’s a dining table or in a place you will sit in a circle I don’t know, whatever it is, they need to know that space is safe. If in that place they experience any criticism, any attack, any frustration expressed from a parent, they will retract back, they will not come to that place feeling comfortable feeling as though they can express a concern or fear or an objection or just ranting and raving, because they know if they do that they’ll get hit by some kind of pushback from the parent. 

You have to choose what this is, I don’t want you to tell you what to do. Certainly the safest place is to sit around a table and clear any distractions. Digital things have to be out there literally just faces, an environment where they know I say what I say and feel what I feel and express it I’m not going to put down. Not going to be judged I think that’s an important point. In that safe space once they’re sat down allow them to express but equally during the course of the week if they’re having a little bit of a let off steam it might be they just need to do that and sometimes we can again we can suppress that because we are in our own heads.

I know I fall into this sometimes when something’s happening which is the most important, and that’s where it may be important if you work from home having a room where you do your work and the phone stays there as opposed to floating around with you. I have an office so when I go home, sometimes I have to be mindful if I’ve got my phone in my hand and get a phone call the best will in the world sometimes, we forget to do that. Then what message do we send our kids? 

If there’s a structure, and geographically around the house this is where I work don’t work here again a thought for you to consider. 

Giving your children the opportunity to express themselves and the last thing is having a day out. At the moment as of lock down you can’t physically have the days out too far away but giving your child or your children, and individually ideally as opposed together opportunity for private time with you. 

So one parent taking a child away has an hour or two hour ideally real complete locked out day. You climb a tree, go ape, go canoeing, go for a day out just eat and have ice cream, look at clothes, what is that day? Allow them to paint the picture to be about them choosing it so that you are providing something for them a safe space where they can talk and when they relax there that’s when they may let their guard down and feel free to express. 

That’s my message. 

Hope it’s been useful to you and then take some time to connect back with your kids, because they really need us to be in that space right now. 

Our children are feeling very vulnerable and a bit confused at what’s happened in the world and the laws are changing all the time, and this beautiful period for many of them will be tainted by this, so if we can create a new image, new sense of belief, a new meaning to this experience for our kids it might change the way they look back at this time. 

Food for thought.

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