How to ease the stress on families while stuck at home (1): step out of your comfort zone

By ILK Post

   June 27, 2022


Working from home has become more and more common over time. This new work mode may seem flexible and free, but it could gradually become a nightmare for parents with young children. Children staying at home for online classes and your significant other using the phone for work purposes at the same time when you are in a zoom meeting…with all these situations, working from home suddenly becomes an impossible task. Family members spend more time from day to night in a space-limited household - is it really a good thing or the other way around?

Under such circumstances, Dr. Rex Wu, psychology expert with 20 years of experience in psychology and counselling, believes that the trend of working from home is a rare gift. "Since I use zoom to teach, I am happier than before. I get to see and spend time with my wife, daughter and pet every day. If you have a good family relationship, you should be very happy working from home since you can see your family members every day."

In the eyes of this psychology expert, why are some families struggling to adapt to working from home? Dr. Wu believes that the difference lies in "the relationship status of the family itself". In normal times, everyone seems to get along well with no head-on conflict. It can be a result of “conflict avoidance”, and it is completely different from having "no conflict" at all. When you find that there are landmines all around you when the family walks together, this is a great time to reflect and make changes to the relationship.

"Happiness" is the source of high-quality family relationships

We strive to do our best every day- work hard, study, make money to live in a big house, etc. Have you ever thought about what are these for? Stanford University spent 75 years researching and found that human beings are always in pursuit of "Happiness".

If so, how can we achieve happiness? Stanford University has also done another study on this and finally came up with an answer: Quality Relationship. Society is built around four relationships: parent-child, husband and wife, self and interpersonal relationships. To explore the topic of relationships, the focus is never on changes in the environment, but on returning to the fundamentals of whether the relationship is in good quality.

Why does working from home cause so many problems? This is because human brain energy is very exhausted for daily survival needs and activities already. It is impossible for us to make changes in our lives every day or to learn new things around the clock. The brain then establishes "habits" that make us tend to do the same thing every day. Although it gets boring sometimes, it is more comfortable and does not require too much use of the brain. Living in a world of habit for a long time is often referred to as the "Comfort Zone". For example, working and commuting to the office from 9 to 6 every day and going back to school, are things that are within the comfort zone that we are used to.

When we do things that are not within our comfort zone and have never been done before, we will fall into the "stress zone" right away. It makes you feel uneasy. Simply put, change can be stressful.

As a new work mode, working from home is naturally in the  "stress zone". For parents, because the inherent concept of "home" has suddenly changed and turned into an office, the change in the environment causes a feeling of frustration. For children, being stuck at home all day without socialising with peers and after-school extracurricular activities or parents’ attention during a day - all these are massive changes for their younger minds.

Step out of your comfort zone to let go of stress

As scary as it may feel to step out of your comfort zone, it's actually an instinct that humans use to adapt to their surroundings. We already have a mechanism in our heads to face things out of the comfort zone, a power that psychologists name as "resilience". The development of " resilience" basically defines a person's well-being. If it doesn't develop well, people would be stuck in their comfort zone day in and day out. If it’s developed well, you can adjust your mentality at ease from time to time and reduce stress as your life demands.

Only by learning to utilize the power of "resilience" can we calmly face pressure and improve family relationships.

Allow children to be disobedient and learn to use "resilience"

Many parents believe that the most important agenda of disciplining children is to make them "obedient". However, asking children to "be good" and "be obedient without talking back" is in fact requiring them not to change, not to think independently but to listen to their parents' instructions.

The secret behind helping children get rid of pressure and bravely maximise the effect of "resilience" to change, is to let them learn "disobedience"!

When working from home, parents tend to get irritated when their kids aren't paying attention during Zoom online classes. However, if children are not 100% focused on learning, does it mean that they are not well behaved?

First of all, parents should keep in mind that focus and concentration are two things. Focus is about having the power to control one's attention span, whether interested or not. People never need to concentrate on things that they are interested in. Research shows that children's attention spans are not fully developed until adolescence. In other words, children before the age of 10 do not have the "power" to focus but rely on instinct to focus on interesting, and fun things. If the curriculum is already boring, you shouldn't ask your child to "sit down and learn" - this would be an ineffective expectation.

To live in harmony with your child, you must first step out of your comfort zone and understand that instead, you should look for a method to raise your child's interest in learning. If parents can learn to accept new things or look at existing things from a new perspective, lots of problems will be solved naturally.

Summary

Spending more time with family members should be a blessing. As long as you step out of your comfort zone and develop "resilience", it is the first step to building a high-quality family relationship!

Looking forward to seeing more expert tips on this topic? Stay tuned for more articles from our “Stuck at Home” series!

Wish to find out more parenting tips? Want your kids to acquire different skills and knowledge when staying at home? Check out ILK Learning’s Course Catalog to find THE course for your kids! Feel free to reach out for more information on WhatsApp, Facebook and Instagram! We look forward to seeing your messages!


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