The Science of Parenting

Reflecting for Resilience | S.6 Ep.7

August 26, 2021 Season 6 Episode 7
The Science of Parenting
Reflecting for Resilience | S.6 Ep.7
Show Notes Transcript

This week the cohosts reflect on what it was like parenting through the pandemic – both research and reality. Take a moment to listen, relate, and reflect on your own experiences through tough times in this episode.

Send us an email: parenting@iastate.edu.
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Mackenzie Johnson:

Welcome to The Science of Parenting podcast where we connect you with research based information that fits your family. We'll talk about the realities of being a parent and how research can help guide our parenting decisions. I'm Mackenzie Johnson, parent of two littles with their own quirks. And I'm a parenting educator.

Lori Korthals:

And I'm Lori Korthals, parent of three in two different life stages. Two are launched and one is in high school, and I am a parenting educator. And today we are wrapping up season six. And we've spent a lot of time talking about resilience. And we're gonna wrap all that up. But today we're really just going to kind of zero in on the research and reality around reflection.

Mackenzie Johnson:

Yeah, the end of season six for real. I feel like I always say, here we are.

Lori Korthals:

Are you there? Here we are.

Mackenzie Johnson:

We're here. We're here. Yes. Oh, yeah. So we have been talking to you all about resilience. You've heard us say in every episode, we know that parenting through tough times and what those tough times are and how we experience them is all unique to each family, which is a big part of why we believe there's more than one way to raise great kids, right? And so we are focused, we focused all season on what does the research tell us about resilience and how we can practice it, how we can raise resilient kids, and all this stuff. And so we've focused on that research that we think is really relevant for our own realities, and that we hope you can use to get through whichever tough times do come your way.

Lori Korthals:

Exactly. And the idea of parenting through tough times really does come down to how do I continue to be that parent that I want to be even when things are tough. And we know everyone's parenting journey won't be easy, but we hope that we can fill your toolbox with lots of resources so that when you get to those tough times, you open that toolbox right up and pull out whatever resource you know is going to work for your family in this particular situation.

Mackenzie Johnson:

Totally. And we hope that today, this topic of reflection, we're going to both talk about it as a tool for resilience and kind of do it ourselves. We're going to reflect, you know, we've talked so much about the pandemic, and how that has been a tough time for a lot of families, us included. And you know, there were some positives and some challenges. And so we're going to do some reflecting on this kind of universal experience we all had of living and parenting in the pandemic, but also looking at how it was different for each of us. So this reflection, that's what we're doing today.

Lori Korthals:

Reflection, yes.

Mackenzie Johnson:

And so we are gonna look at this idea, and I gotta be honest, I was like, okay, well, I need to find some research on the power of reflection and on mindful reflection, and all these things. And I was like, no, really, I think there's some research we've shared before the ABCX Family Stress Model, which we talked about in season two in our episode on stress, that one of the key things of family stress is our perception of it.

Lori Korthals:

Yes, absolutely.

Mackenzie Johnson:

And how we feel about it. And so I mean, yeah, because some of us were like, well, sure, things were tough, but my perception of it was also, I'm so grateful for this particular thing, because, right? And so that perception is a big part of it. And I think, I would argue I guess, that reflection shapes perception, like, and so that, you know, that idea of like hindsight is 20/20.

Lori Korthals:

Yes.

Mackenzie Johnson:

Well, okay, let's lean into that, all right, if my hindsight is way better than foresight.

Lori Korthals:

Exactly, right? What can that teach me? What do I need to learn?

Mackenzie Johnson:

Yes. And so a lot of us might agree that we're kind of getting into this post pandemic world. And so, let's sit down, slow down, and reflect, and what do we learn from that? You know, and so I do, I just think, pandemic are not. Taking the time to reflect on tough times, I think can help us build our resilience.

Lori Korthals:

And I think that's a really important piece for me is pandemic or no pandemic, we all experience ough times and our perception f that tough time and how we g t through it is really i portant to reflect on. So in t is spirit of reflection for r silience, let's maybe share a l ttle of our own realities, m ybe some of our own r flections on other hard times. W en something didn't go well, w at did we learn? How did we grow What were some coping stra egies that we used?

Mackenzie Johnson:

Yeah, well, I mean, I feel like we've shared some throughout the season. But okay, so here's one that's kind

Lori Korthals:

I love that. of a normative stressor, but was a tough time nonetheless. When

Mackenzie Johnson:

I know. That's the one I think of. we added our second child to our family, definitely like newborn phase and all of that. And so as I think, kind of reflecting on those questions, I see some ways that I really grew from my first child to my second in terms of, I was a better communicator. I had kind of learned from the first time around, I asked for help, you know. Reach out, don't hide out, you know, so I le rned some of those things, but lso in kind of slowing down an reflecting like, okay, what may e didn't go as well, or was th re still to learn. I thin the relationship with my

Lori Korthals:

I love that. It's so funny though sometimes when irst child, and not that it suff red, but that it needed to look different. And actually, even though my daughter is almos five, and my son is almos two, that she's actually in a p ase where she's talking a lot a out it. So she's reflecting a l ttle bit and saying, well, y u used to put him to bed every night and not me, and you spend more time with him when you d this. And so she's kind of po nting some of those things out which in the logical part of me I'm like, my child is trying to communicate to me that she cou d use more connection. And so I'm really trying to like, it s not about what she's saying bout her brother. Exactly, ndicating a need for more conn ction with me. And so I think about that, okay, over the las two years, I mean, that whol time is kind of a transition to kids. But I'm like, oka , so that's an area where I'm l ke, alright, that's an area whe e we've maybe struggled. And whe e my child has maybe had some un et needs. Okay, I can learn fro that, and grow from that a d plan for the future. we have friends, family, or whomever reach out to us as parenting educators with the birth of a new child, they'll say, okay, tell us about sibling rivalry. And one of my favorite things to say is well, actually, not until the child realizes that their sibling is sticking around, do they end up kind of then starting to regress. Behaviors that you know, those first few weeks, months, whatever, they're like, wow, this thing's pretty cool. I kind of like having this little extra human being around, but not until they realize they're really staying there.

Mackenzie Johnson:

Right? Yes. And my daughter has even said to me recently, you know, Mom, I sometimes liked when it was the three of us, mom, dad, and me. And I was like, oh, it hurt my heart a little bit, but I'm like, okay, what about that is appealing? What about that feels different? What is she trying to get at in terms of her need? Because yeah, she's not going to say to me, Mom, I really need more connection with you. Right? But I do. That's what she's saying, you know, we do spend a lot of energy, my son being in the toddler stage, we spend a lot of energy redirecting behavior and trying to keep him out of trouble. Yeah, so it's like, okay, my daughter is expressing that sometimes maybe she's feeling not as included or wants more connection. Okay, that's the thing. Instead of being like, well, I did everything I could. It's like, okay, I was doing the best I could and now I know more than I did. Exactly. My child is expressing a need to me, we can grow from that. Yes. What about you? What comes to mind for this? You know, hard time and or tough time, but good time that you reflect back on, you know, how did you cope? What things changed? How have you grown? What comes to mind?

Lori Korthals:

So one thing that comes to mind for me, and actually much more recently, especially because someone maybe called, I don't think they called me on the carpet for it or my child for it, but it was something that was quite opposite of their own parenting, and that is that my daughter, my youngest daughter, who's in high school, she frequently calls her father and I by our first names. And for some that may seem, you know, very out of balance, even like that is disrespectful. And you know, me, I'm all about respect, right? Yeah. I reflected on this a lot and this is a very personal thing, and I have actually shared it with a lot of people. But she began doing that in a time, probably three or four years ago, when I was distracted by a lot of things. I was probably hiding out instead of reaching out. I utilized my phone, my computer. I was making sure I was always super busy. You know, really just trying to not probably dive into or face the things that I needed to face, specifically in the relationship with her dad. And so I know that there were many times where she probably said, Hey, Mom, and I didn't hear, you know, didn't even acknowledge that. And so in an effort to, like you said, make a bid for connection, reach out, get my attention, she began using my name. And I can remember the first time, or one of the first times, that I heard it that I realized, oh, my goodness, she's using my first name because I'm not present. Like, I'm not paying attention. I'm so disconnected because of what's going on. I don't like this. I don't like that this is me, the parenting educator, and my own kid has to use my first name, right? I should be fired. No shaming guilt around now. Right. But I really reflected on that. And I thought, you know, I actually need to allow this because I know myself well enough. And I know how prone I am to, you know, diving deep down the rabbit hole and getting really absorbed in things. And I know that I am super good at not hearing the rest of the world while I'm involved with something. Yes. And so while to some it may be a sign of disrespect that she's using my first name. For me, it actually gives us a chance to connect better because I'm present. She says, hey, Lori. Oh, you know what, boom, I'm on and it's hard for me to say. Yeah, mom wasn't that same? After so many years of Mom, Mom, Mom with so many kids, right? And so many neighbor kids and so many you know whatever? I mean I'm just trying to make an excuse, but at the same time, not allowing for that connection. Oh, that's something I can't tolerate as well. So in order for that connection to be made, I'm okay 100% with her saying Lori. And it was because I reflected on that because of the tough time that we were in and we're past that tough time, I still use that as a way to remind me to connect with my kid. She needs me to connect with my kid. Yeah, I don't know. You know, hopefully we don't get a lot of comments about. Okay, now I know.

Mackenzie Johnson:

I gotta regurgitate our Science of Parenting beliefs back to you for a second. Okay. And, by the way, there's more than one way, right? We are the experts on our kids. Your unique situation and your guys' experience that this is what makes sense for you. And I'm going to tell you that you don't get to call it an excuse because my kids, like I haven't even been a mom for five years. And I already feel like I'm starting to tune out Mom. Yeah. Like that's a resilience skill, it is. I get overstimulated. And so sometimes it's like, oh, I gotta learn to tune stuff out. That's a skill that I've needed to learn over time in order to hone in on things. It's like, yeah, that could serve me right, that tuning out Mom, Mom, Mom was a skill that served you for a long time so that you could do the things you needed to do. And you're like, Hey, you know what, that's not serving us anymore, like, and so we've got a new way forward. And I do, I think as we, you know, that reflection piece of like, we're taking that time, I mean, kind of stop, breathe, talk, right? Absolutely. Stop, taking that breath to think intentionally about what has happened, what is happening, and we're like, Okay, this was tough. And like, look how we're bouncing forward, like we move forward in a more strengthened way with new growth from these experiences. And I think that's a good thing. Resilience, resilience. Yes, yes. So we're gonna keep going on this theme of resilience, and kind of modeling this idea of reflection, but specifically with the idea of the pandemic. And so there's actually some really interesting research. And actually, that's a little self serving for me to say, because we actually get to cite some research that I got to be a part of 2020 and 2021. We looked at parenting and the pandemic, but um, we are, we're gonna look at reflecting, like taking pause for a minute to model this idea of reflection. But there were some huge aha that I got to have as we went through this data, that I was just like, Oh my gosh, parents need to hear this. Parents need to know that this is what happens in tough times and that you're not alone in that other people felt this way. And yeah, so we're going to look through all that. And all right, your reflection. All right. So excited and proud to share about a little bit of our data. I got to work with Dr. Lisa Washburn and Dr. Janet Fox from University of Tennessee Extension. And we did, we looked, we were doing this webinar series, which our co-writer Barb was a part of. And we did this webinar series. And we asked people, you know, some questions beforehand. And one of the questions was, how has the pandemic impacted your parenting, and we had thousands of people attend for our particular session on parenting. We had 631 responses that were usable for what we were doing with our data. And it just gives such amazing insight into the experience of parents in the pandemic. And so there was actually kind of five themes. And this data was collected in October to November of 2020. So a little perspective on where we were in the pandemic, it wasn't like the first weeks, but it wasn't the last. Um, and so yes, last fall, so we had five themes that came out of the data. So people had one line to answer. How has the pandemic affected your parenting?

Lori Korthals:

Yes, I remember that. I remember that. Yes, yes.

Mackenzie Johnson:

One line to answer that huge question.

Lori Korthals:

One line and I was like, what?

Mackenzie Johnson:

Yes. And so five themes that came out of it, I'll kind of briefly just highlight what those themes were. Okay. The first one was external factors. So basically, that circumstances around families started to change during the pandemic. The second theme was the perceived parenting burden. So how were parents feeling? What were the things that were piling on for parents? The third one was family life changes. So how does your day look different? And what kinds of things about how your family normally operates are different? The fourth theme was emotional toll. So what was the impact that this had on parents themselves? And then our fifth theme was kind of unique. And it was, we call it a spectrum of experiences. So that some people said, You know what, actually, the pandemic was great. It brought positive things to my family. And then some were like, you know what, nothing's changed. Like, this is the exact same for me as it was before, while others were like, okay, holy cow, this is hard. Yeah, right. Absolutely. Oh, yeah. So that was the fifthe theme was kind of this highlight of like, the good, the bad, the ugly, the wonderful, the indifferent. And then some unique experiences as well, like people talking about, well, I had a baby during the pandemic, or I was family caregiving for an adult parent, or I needed to grandparent way more because of my adult children's job, and so yeah, there was a huge spect um of experience in the pandem

Lori Korthals:

Okay, so looking at those five themes, if we, you know, step back just a little bit to the external factor, what were some things that people said about those external factors?

Mackenzie Johnson:

Yeah, some of the huge ones that came up about how circumstances changed, was really about like virtual school, right? That was a huge one. Loss or challenges related to childcare was a big one. And also like, work situations, right? Working from home or not being able to work from home when everybody else was or felt like everybody else was. So yeah, that just kind of the external factors that the pandemic directly caused, like mask wearing or safety precautions. So that was a big thing that people were talking about was like, it's impacted because my circumstances are changing because of the pandemic.

Lori Korthals:

That's interesting. So okay, so this was how has the pandemic affected your parenting? question of the workshop? Okay. So the second theme you said was the perceived parenting burden?

Mackenzie Johnson:

Yes, yes. And this is the one that I was like, Oh, my gosh, this makes so much sense. And so some of the things that people were talking about was, we actually put them into three separate categories, but all lumped them together in the end. It was like people talking about I'm being an employee while being a parent. Right? That I'm trying to balance these things, or people talk about, like, it's hard to be a parent and my child's teacher, or talking about, I'm trying to manage them doing virtual school while I'm working. And so it was just this huge overlap of the things that parents now needed to do that they weren't doing before. They also talked about having concerns for their kids, right. I'm concerned about my child's social needs or being worried that they weren't meeting their child's needs, like somebody's talking about, I don't have the tools to deal with what my child is dealing with, you know, and even a lot of like, the unpredictability of it all and the changes that they had and yeah, so just a lot of things that parents were like, these are all now on me, right? Another one being that there was no me time. There was no me time. Like, I am somebody that if someone needs me constantly. And even communicating like, how do I answer my child's questions about the pandemic? Yeah, that there was just a lot of unknown. So there were a lot of things put on parents, with the pandemic that it was like, Okay, now I have to do this, like, now I have to figure this out. I've never needed to enforce mask wearing in my kids before. We've never had this much unpredictability in our schedule. Like, there were a lot of new things that were on parents to deal with. Definitely.

Lori Korthals:

Okay, so then the third theme, this one is kind of intriguing to me, family life changes. I know that there are some friends of mine who have had babies. I know that there are some friends of mine who've lost loved ones. So those are huge family life changes.

Mackenzie Johnson:

Oh, absolutely. And people talked a lot about the amount of time with their family. Some reporting, you know, I have less time with my family because I'm working more, you know, like healthcare professionals and things like that. But also, there were people who were like, there is so much more, the idea of everybody being stuck in the house, right? Normally, you're at school, I'm at work, or they've got practice, all that's gone. And we're all here all the time. And, you know, we talked about earlier this season, like the rituals and routines, there was a lot of conversation around that, like, we have no structure, we have no normal, like I have to choose when to get my kids out of bed every day, and so there was all this kind of normal daily life stuff that was just all kind of out of whack. And so we saw that families were talking about that. That the pandemic, they're like, oh, my normal family life is totally different.

Lori Korthals:

Yes, absolutely. Okay. Which then obviously, that fourth theme of emotional toll, we definitely have seen an increase in mental health needs as well as people just being exhausted.

Mackenzie Johnson:

Yes. The thing, well, of course, the theme of stress, right? Like, I'm stressed, I'm tired, I'm exhausted. People also talk about being distracted. I'm really distracted by what's going on or struggling with boundaries of like, I don't know how to stop working, the work is always there. My Microsoft Teams is going off every hour of the day, then the emails, ding, you know, so there was some stuff around that. But the other one that was a huge, like tons of people talked about was, I'm so impatient. Like things that would normally not make me upset, I now feel like I can't even handle. And so I just thought like, Oh, that is a thing that was happening to so many parents. And so I just like, I just want to say like, if it was you, right? If you have felt bad about the way things are going, it is a normative part of parenting through a tough time. And yes, we want to practice stop, breathe, talk and do our best to have respectful and kind communication, but like, it happens in stressful times that we are low on patience. Absolutely, absolutely, yes. Yeah. Which is why we talked about the strategy of repair, right? Stressed, distracted, tired and impatient like, yep, I probably am going to need to repair.

Lori Korthals:

Absolutely repair, repair, repair and repair again.

Mackenzie Johnson:

Yes, yes.

Lori Korthals:

So then that last one, you spend a little bit more time talking about that spectrum of experiences, any last bits from that theme?

Mackenzie Johnson:

I think just recognizing that. I mean, it does, it comes right back to how there's a reason that parents are the experts on their family. Because yeah, while one of my friends was having a baby, another was worried about their sick parent, and I wasn't worried about either, and because everybody's situation is different. And so I think, just that huge variety of experiences, and that some people were talking so much about grandparenting, and like parenting their adult children and how that was different. And so just recognizing that there's more than one way because we're all having unique experiences. So that was a huge part of what we saw on the data was like, holy cow. While some said no change, like, yeah, the pandemic hasn't impacted my parenting, it's normal around here. And then others were like, I feel like I can't keep going, you know, that it was so different for everybody. And there was no right or wrong, right? That sometimes it's like, well, if you could just be positive and it's like, well.

Lori Korthals:

If you could just.

Mackenzie Johnson:

If you could just and it's like, well it's

Lori Korthals:

Okay, so I love it. I love the opportunity to more complicated. hear from so many other parents about their perceptions and their feelings and their, you know, just the descriptions they had about the pandemic specifically, but I actually think that, you know, we took a little bit of time to reflect on that. Gosh, we maybe actually think about tough times in a l ttle similar way. We're like e've had tough times before and he tools were utilized dur ng the pandemic were tools th t we maybe had in our toolbox, r now we've experienced t is pandemic, we've actually ad ed more tools to our toolbox. Ab olutely. So we're maybe a lit le bit more prepared for upcomin tough times. I don't know. What do you think?

Mackenzie Johnson:

I do. I definitely think so. And I mean, I feel like I almost might beat a dead horse. But this idea of the, like, wide variety of experiences, also ties back to I can take different skills out of the pandemic than you did. And I can have different growth. You know, while I'm like, you know what I learned? I really learned to practice self care, I really learned whatever. And so once I was like, no, you know what I learned, reach out, not hide out. You know what I learned? And that they can all be different things. And actually, it's really hard for me to pare down because I could talk about what I learned from that, like, from going through these responses forever. But there was kind of a series of responses that we come together as we were writing our article on it. And I just want to read a small snippet of it to everybody. So from the variety of experiences of parents, one person said, I really love the extra time with my kids. I'm immersed in their life in ways that I wasn't prior to COVID and I feel like a better mom. But others describe the impacts as both positive and negative coexisting, like the 24/7 togetherness without a release valve, I love that term, increased tensions and increased bonding. And then some, you know, said had a more negative perspective of like this closeness is exasperating, or we have too much time together. And I was just like, even a lot of the people who were participants work in the extension field, not all of them, but a lot of them are from the National Extension System. And so even people who maybe have like a similar job, like they could be similar in that way, and yet their experience was so vastly different. And yeah, so coming back to what you were talking about, the tools that we each gained, the strengths that would come from the experiences we had were all different for each of us.

Lori Korthals:

They were and I feel like we maybe gave ourselves more permission to use those tools than we typically do in other tough times. Or we maybe gave each other more permission to utilize their tools. I sometimes even think we maybe were more willing to be more gracious to others and ourselves. Yeah, it's like we suddenly were in this pandemic, and now we can be nice to ourselves. Okay, that's what I want to learn and remember about tough times is it's okay to be kind to yourself in any tough time.

Mackenzie Johnson:

Yes, yes. To give ourselves and others more grace. I agree that that was a concept that we taught. People were generally talking about, like, we're extending grace, we're living in a pandemic, we're extending grace. It's like, okay, but what if we did that more? Like, what if we hung on to that permission for a minute?

Lori Korthals:

Yes, yes. So I would love, what do you think, I would love to bring our writer Barb in. Were you thinking the same thing? I think we should bring our writer Barb in because I have been asking Barb all season because she has a passion to speak and think about and dive into all things resilience. And so, Barb, I would like to ask you this question. What are you thinking?

Barb Dunn Swanson:

I love the whole idea of reflection. I like the idea that it's how we learn. If we don't reflect upon what has happened to us, it doesn't give us the springboard to try something new or try something different. So the idea of reflecting, and especially during this tough time, I think it's pretty critical. And I can't believe how it flows from the other episodes that we've been delivering.

Lori Korthals:

Yes, absolutely. Tons of overlap. Absolutely. And I think that, you know, looking back if I were to reflect on things that stood out for me personally, like when you first started to share the research with me, I actually was affirmed when I heard other participants or other respondents say they were finding some joy and they were enjoying being with their family more, because it was kind of my own little secret. I was afraid to tell people, okay, I really like having my kids home> This is an opportunity that yes, they're older. But I didn't get some of these opportunities when they were younger, because I was always working so much. And they were at the childcare. And so I was kind of very shy and quiet at the beginning of the pandemic about I enjoyed having my kids home. And that was my own perception. And that was our unique experience, which completely doesn't, you know, not recognize someone else's experience. But that was my experience, and I was almost afraid to embrace it.

Mackenzie Johnson:

Yes. And yes, you finding positives in your family's unique situation, I even think of the age of our kids are a factor on how it felt, the temperament of our kids, just staying inside and staying home, is it pretty good for what's our natural temperament or is it hard? Like, right? And so I think of all those factors that influenced that. And yeah, you finding positives is not minimizing the experience of others not finding them? Exactly. That's your experience.

Barb Dunn Swanson:

And I go back to those Cs of Ginsburg and we hit those earlier this podcast season. But again, you were able to find ways to be caring to one another, to be finding those opportunities to connect. And then you know what else, we all found through reflection, again, through reflection, we found the coping techniques that worked for us without blame or shame. You know what else we talked about, we talked about how the social supports that families might have needed prior and used prior to the pandemic, those social supports kind of went away during the pandemic, because we had to. We had to socially distance from friends and maybe extended family members who were that social support for us. And so we had more responsibilities given to parents. They had more roles taken on and less social support. And that created maybe some of that disconnect for some parents and the strife that they felt. But then we looked at the protective factors, yes, the things that they found that were supportive. The things that they found they could do. When kids were helping out in the kitchen a little bit more. Maybe they stepped up a little bit, and helped with some of the chores. Kids learn those life skills.

Mackenzie Johnson:

Yes. C is contribution. That's one of the seven Cs. They can contribute. Yes, yes.

Barb Dunn Swanson:

And then they're learning character. You know, we went through this tough time. And we developed an awful lot of character. But again, we can't see what that is if we don't stop and spend some time reflecting on what it meant to each of us. And I've enjoyed hearing your stories about what personally, it was like for you with kids at home. And thank you for sharing those with us. It helps us, it helps us see that not everybody's journey is alike, that we're all unique, and so that we're all going to have a different, different journey. Yes.

Mackenzie Johnson:

And I honestly, you know, as we're talking about reflecting on the pandemic, one of the things that I realized from going through the data that was just like this huge, like, could have knocked me out of my chair, this huge aha, was this idea of, they call it role overload. And so you talked about the decreasing supports that families experienced, but that the demands were increasing, right. So that perceived parenting burden, but that we were all of these things to all of these people and honestly, all at the same time, and all under the same roof in a lot of cases.

Barb Dunn Swanson:

And without a lot of practice.

Mackenzie Johnson:

Yes. No time to prepare.

Barb Dunn Swanson:

You know, we didn't get a head start. Nobody told us this was gonna be like this. And then I want to add, what if we didn't have access to internet? What if my family lived in a location that really broadband availability was not there. Then I had to worry about how far behind might my family be and my children be in school. So there were some unintended consequences that came but in the midst of all of that, that data showed us that parents still found the blessings in all of it. They found that they did have time together. They found that they were able to share special moments. They connected with their kids in ways that prior to the pandemic, they may have lost opportunities. So, right, you know, you're right, there were positives and negatives. And I think the data show that you shared, Mackenzie showed us that parents were willing to tell us a little bit about both.

Mackenzie Johnson:

Yes, and I think you make a really good point too, Barb, that there were disparities between our experiences, right? That some people started in a safer place, right? We talked about the pandemic, we were all in the same storm, but we weren't all in the same kind of boat. And the disparities that were widened by the pandemic because of the starting place that people were at. And that's something that our data didn't look at. Our data literally collected that it was one question, but it wasn't like, so what's your age? What's the age of your kids? What's your family income? What's your socio economic status? What's your marital status? And we didn't collect any of that. And so that's something that our study didn't look at. But that is a super important part of understanding the experience of parenting and the pandemic.

Barb Dunn Swanson:

Yes, it is.

Mackenzie Johnson:

Yes. Thanks, Barb. Actually, will you hang with us a little longer? We have another little research bullet that I would love to hear your thoughts on? Yes. So a finding, you know, we've been citing them all season, Prime, Wade, and Browne, did the study on risk and resilience and COVID-19 for families. And one of the things that they found that kind of goes along with the findings of our study with myself, Washburn, and Fox, but they said that the experience of parents in the pandemic, people listed that there were threats to the health of themselves and their loved ones, the reductions in social support outside the home, changes to our work roles and or family routines, as well as the burden on caregivers to meet the social and educational needs of children with closure of school and childcare. Just like, oh, that's a lot, right? Yes. So I do, I thought that just kind of highlighted what you're talking about. The pandemic and the circumstances that were necessary but that happened. We lost a lot of supports, and we increased the demands on parents.

Lori Korthals:

We did and I think that as you look at, again, if we reflect on that this is information gleaned from a pandemic, are there some questions that we could ask ourselves as parents when we experience other tough times that can help us be more resilient? Help us build our resilience in our children? And you know, just look at things through this resilience lens? Are there some questions we could ask?

Mackenzie Johnson:

There certainly are. We did things a little different this episode. You know, we wanted to bring Barb in to just have this conversation about reflection and resilience. But yes, we also came up with a list of questions for reflection that you can use as parents, but that have a resilience lens. So I'll give you the first view. And I'll let Lori give you the second view. So the first one, where did I succeed? And what helped me do so? Right? Another one thinking specifically about parenting, how did I meet the needs of my children, even when times were tough? Where were there unmet needs with my children that I can help repair or even communicate about? Right? Sometimes it's not about fixing it. Sometimes it's about repairing and explaining, but also just communicating, giving your child that space to process it. So a few things we can reflect on. What about a few more, Lori?

Lori Korthals:

Another question you can ask is, where did I struggle? And what did I learn from that experience? That one I really can resonate with. Where did I struggle? And what can I learn from that experience?

Mackenzie Johnson:

And that, for me, is where that role overload? That's the one I think of. Learning about that term, and that I was all these things to all these people. What did that mean? Well, what it means and what I learned is that, you know what, when the demands on me go up, that means I sometimes have to lower other standards, right? Like, I'm going to let go of the dishes and they are going to be paper plates. I've said that before. Yes, I'm going to let go of the clean house or I'm going to let go of these expectations on myself. And so yeah, we can learn from that. What about more?

Lori Korthals:

Another question is what coping strategies did I use? And then ask, were they helpful or hurtful? And as I heard people give each other grace, this is one where I thought that was a coping strategy. We are just giving people more grace. Was that helpful or hurtful? You know? And how can we take pieces and parts of those things that were helpful and infuse them into other challenges? And recognize the ones that were hurtful and pull back and say, Oh, you know what, that was not helpful at all. In fact, that was kind of hurtful. I do hope and sense that the coping strategies that we use that we can begin to recognize how to utilize them in other tough times. The final question we have is, what did I gain from this experience that has made me even stronger? The phrase that we talked about was falling forward, right?

Mackenzie Johnson:

Bouncing forward.

Lori Korthals:

Bouncing forward, bouncing forward. And it has made me stronger, these tough times that we have encountered whatever that tough time is, and how can we tap into that strength for the next tough time?

Barb Dunn Swanson:

You know what I think about? I think about when we started podcasting was right before the pandemic started. And what we did at The Science of Parenting that I think showed an awful lot of resilience was that we continued to communicate what we were hearing from the CDC, what we were finding is best practice for staying healthy. We shared those things. In other words, at The Science of Parenting, we placed a value on what we could communicate with one another. And I think families, that's what they did to respond to the pandemic. They kept the lines of communication open with their kids. They tried to explain to their kids in ways that were meaningful without being scary, what was going on. Why were we having to socially distance? Why were we using masks? Why aren't we having that birthday party like we used to always have? What do you mean, you're not having my birthday party? They did so many, kept the lines of communication open so that kids could understand. And again, we continue to be attentive. We continue to meet the needs of our kids wherever they were at, including what their temperament was like. Right, right. Yes. So, you know, you talk about what the experiences were like, or what coping mechanisms we use, the biggest thing I think, and I give a lot of credit to families for doing, is keeping those lines of communication open, so that kids could find find resilience so that families could stay resilient.

Lori Korthals:

Oh, absolutely.

Mackenzie Johnson:

Thanks so much, Barb.

Barb Dunn Swanson:

You're welcome. You're welcome.

Mackenzie Johnson:

We loved having you join us this season. You have some great insight on this idea of resilience, and we just love hearing your perspective.

Barb Dunn Swanson:

Well, I have enjoyed it. And I thank you for the opportunity.

Mackenzie Johnson:

Yeah, so this whole idea of reflecting for resilience, you know, whether it's the pandemic or other tough times, but that when we kind of do that, stop, breathe, talk of that, like slow down. Think about how things went. We can use those reflection questions and that kind of resilience mindset of like, but I can come through this stronger, and that I can have learned from it.

Lori Korthals:

Bounce forward. Yes, you bounce forward. So this season, we looked at several Rs around the idea of resilience, right? It was our R season. In our first two episodes, we explore the concept of resilience and we looked at protective factors. We learned that resilience is the idea of bouncing forward through tough times. And the protective factors act as buffers against stress.

Mackenzie Johnson:

Absolutely. And, you know, we looked at lots of different strategies, you know, those first two kind of defined our season. And through the rest of the season, we've been looking at our Rs of strategies, right? We talked about when times are tough, we can lean into our relationships, and we can encourage our kids to lean into those connections and relationships. We can renegotiate our rules and our expectations when times are tough. We can utilize our routines to help us feel more consistency, even when things are chaotic. And we can utilize rituals to help us feel more connected during those times. And then we also know that that patience tends to run low, right? We saw that affirmed or heard in this week's episode. Yeah. And so that we have the strategy to repair and reconnect, you know, and then finally that as we come through on the other side, and even during, I think of how much more I knew about myself in July of 2020 than I you knew in March of 2020. Yes, of all that we had been through right out of the gate. And so this idea of reflecting for resilience and, of course, all season, we trickled it in here and there. But this idea of the seven Cs of resilience, right, that helps us raise resilient kids of, you know. And that we can build those with our kids to help build more resilience. So we hope you found value in this season and that you heard some things today and throughout this whole season on this idea of resilience, and how we can parent through tough times, whatever they are, you know, that every family's going to look different and respond different and that that's okay. The waters can be muddy. Things can be good and different and challenging and that's all okay, but we hope you've filled your toolbox this season, right? For parents during tough times.

Lori Korthals:

Yes. And so that's the end of season six, resilience and parenting through tough times. We are going to take a short break. And then in season seven, we're actually going to be revisiting our topic on temperament and doing some deeper dives into it. So excited. I know we are. We're super excited. I was gonna just blaze on by and not try to overly talk it up, but okay.

Mackenzie Johnson:

Temperament, more temperament, it's coming.

Lori Korthals:

It's coming. So thanks for joining us today on The Science of Parenting podcast and remember to subscribe to our weekly audio podcast on Apple, Spotify, or your favorite podcast app. Watch the show on video each week or join us on Twitter at scienceofparent and see our content in your feed.

Mackenzie Johnson:

And yes, over the break catching us on social media, you'll get to see some little throwbacks of temperament from season one that'll get your mind in the right mindset for this upcoming season. Please do come along with us as we tackle the ups and downs, the ins and o ts, and the research and reality all around The Science of Pare ting.

Anthony Santiago:

The Science f Parenting is hosted by Lori orthals and Mackenzie Johnson, produced by Mackenzie DeJong, w th research and writing by Barbara Dunn Swanson. Send in questions and comments to parent ng@iastate.edu and connect wit us on Facebook and Twitter. his institution is an e ual opportunity provider. Fo the full non-discrimin tion statement or accommod tion inquiries go to www.extensi n.iastate.edu/diversity/ext