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How can we get stronger in the time of emergency?

17 March 2020
We are incredibly grateful for this article from Family5 expert Jelena Forese, who is currently quarantined in Italy…
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Covid-19: What you need to know to better manage the emergency within your family.

In recent weeks we’ve been overwhelmed by a global health emergency. Some underestimated the situation, but many were frightened because this word, ‘emergency’, is not often used.
Unfortunately, when we hear it, we are taken to a state of uncertainty; our personal balance is suddenly overwhelmed while our values are threatened. What is emergency? Why does it unbalance us? What can we learn from it?
Let’s start by talking about values
Values are not just words. Values guide and direct our behavior, but they also influence our daily experiences. Our daily life is based and guided by our values.
Some values that guide children’s behavior are: playfulness, curiosity, happiness. These values typically change in teenagers. Their behaviors instead, are guided by the desire for freedom, friendship, and self-esteem. The values change in the various age groups also in adults. For example, young adults chase values such as achieving personal goals, security, health, freedom while more mature adults prefer social order, honesty, peace, health, justice … Each age group has its own internal drive.
In a family there are various age groups and therefore there’s often a clash with behaviors being guided by different values. Despite this, each family should identify few values that unite them and represent them as a core. These values serve above all for family well-being. For example, we can identify values such as respect, honesty and collaboration that unite the core and guide the behavior of each member. Another family might choose values such as achievement of objectives, determination and organization. The list of values is long and it is right that each family identifies values based on their family needs.
In the case of an emergency, these values temporarily change
An emergency is a situation that presents an immediate risk to health, life, property or the environment. The emergency changes our priorities and our values. Suddenly the child must understand that it is not possible to play anywhere, while the young person must put aside his/her desire for freedom.
The task of adults is to re-evaluate their priorities by resetting their lives based on the current emergency. For example, values such as health, safety, support, patience, self-control, communication, simplification, flexibility, cooperation are some values that should guide us in these cases.
How can you turn this difficult situation into something positive and constructive for your family?
I invite you to reflect on what are the values that guide each of you in the family? What are the values that unite you as a family? How have these values temporarily changed due to the health emergency in which we find ourselves? What are the values that will help you resist this global emergency? Try to get to know yourself, each other and unite your family even more in this delicate moment.
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We wish Jelena and her family well as they continue to deal with life with Covid-19.
If your family is affected and you’re looking for suggestions to help you parent on through the storm; or if you’re simply simply looking for fun family activities that you can do at home, turn to the Family5 app. From tomorrow there will be a new ‘Coronavirus’ category in ‘Situations’ with suggestions, tips and advice from parenting experts across the globe.
About the author
Jelena has a Master's degree in Developmental Psychology and is a certified parent coach. She is a mom of two and is based in Italy.
This post originally appeared in Jelena Forese Coaching