“The limited family”: “Our children don’t need super parents, they need enough parents” | Conversations for 31 years PUBLIC

We all went through the same storm. But there are some who go rowing boats and others who go yachts. The analogy comes from the psychiatrist Júlio Machado Vaz, who was already in the last section of the conversation The Confined Family, which took place at the end of the morning of this Sunday as part of the 31 years of the PUBLIC. However, the idea that the childbirth was experienced several times in families, depending on the financial and financial conditions, was always present.

“We are privileged to live in Sintra,” contextualizes Ana Stilwell, co-author of Birras de Mãe, which Ímpar has published since the beginning of the pandemic. “”[Em Sintra, temos] When we have access to the field, we are in a place where we can forget that we are in this state for a while. Clinical psychologist Vera Ramalho agrees because “we know the virus doesn’t affect everyone equally” and affirms, “There are two fringes of families: one who has managed to strengthen relationships with their children; another where the consequences were more severe ”due to accentuated inequalities, loss of income, or living in a very small apartment.

And there is no limit like the first. At the beginning, Ana Stilwell recalls, “we felt a kind of adrenaline rush because we were experiencing a unique thing”. For Júlio Machado Vaz, too, “there is no comparison between the first and this limitation”. “In the first there was the idea that if we behave well, things will go well. In the first case, people did their best because they saw the light at the end of a not very large tunnel. “

This time around, the scenario is different, he argues, because the tunnel has increased in size and “the idea that this should stay here has taken root in many”, helping to ease precautionary measures and increase fatigue. for lower risk perception. “People are thirsty for freedom”, he sums up, without forgetting that the fears “vary according to age and socio-economic group”.

Vera Ramalho also believes that “the second detention caused more exhaustion”. “Parents are very overwhelmed: they work, they have housework, they cook twice, they accompany their children …”. In addition, we need to rely on the weight of “disengagement with the rest of the family” and highlight the “very important role” of technology in helping to bridge the gap with grandparents and other family members.

Screen: I want you, I want you

The pandemic situation has called into question many certainties. “We parents were bombarded with the idea that this is so [de estar ao ecrã] It’s horrible, and that’s more than two hours [por dia]”No.” But suddenly, not only is school going through the screen, but also the leisure moments when a program is played or viewed and the social moments when they keep in touch with friends. But although this is known, ” the guilt of mothers is not limited, “says Ana Stilwell. And there is so much to feed the guilt, namely, according to this mother who is” worn out and tired “:” Work and it is your fault not to be with them To prepare scones and think that I should cook something healthier, watch a series to get some rest and think I should stimulate them. “

Júlio Machado Vaz is certain, however, that “our children do not need super parents, they need enough parents”, not least because “if this had happened 20 years ago it would have been much worse”. “Blessed technology,” he explains, recalling that two decades ago we only had access to a physical phone for the most part.

“However, this did not start with the pandemic,” warns the psychiatrist. “Even before that, we saw a small flood of people, especially younger people, who were refugees in a virtual reality.”

However, everyone agrees: the connection to the screen increases the inertia. Even in situations that are supposed to be privileged: “It’s scary to see how difficult it is to get our children out of the house,” complains Ana Stilwell, as the fact that “they don’t want to go” is “really” is worrying “.

“It is difficult to get them to go out when there are restrictions,” he begins with an example: “I have a garden that many people say ‘good’ to, but it is difficult to convince them just to go into the garden to go. As much as it is a privilege – and I know it is. Someone who is in an apartment in the middle of a city will suggest, “Are we going up and down the same street”? It is very difficult to find an interesting incentive for the child. “

Vera Ramalho found in her consultation reports that they agree with the statements of Ana Stilwell: “I note in this second detention that both children and adults have tried less and were more discouraged by the exits with the exits” to Raise awareness of the mental health implications of this element, as “exercise helps manage and contain problems related to anxiety”.

On the other hand, the clinic explains, “some children somehow get used to being at home,” and for some, “being home is good because they are not forced to go out of their comfort zone,” which is true For example in “situations of social anxiety, bullying” where it is perceived as “relief” but with “a complicated medal reversal” as the symptom of social difficulties is exacerbated when one considers that in these cases “the challenge becomes distrust be “.

Júlio Machado Vaz agrees: “Suppose someone who suffers from agoraphobia, ie has a phobia of open spaces, suddenly says:” You have to stay at home “: (…) the short-term picture is almost a paradise.” In reality, ” a symptom intensified “.

“The longing for touch is obvious that it’s psychological,” but “it’s not just about our feelings, our longings,” he warns. “Touch is essential for healthy physical and psychological growth. Unfortunately, we have conducted studies that focus on institutions that treat children in ways that lack affection, socialization, touch, and the consequences for these children have been severe. ” Hence, he says, the urgency to open schools for the little ones who will need “authentic weaning” as it may be difficult for some children to understand why they need to stop their parents, or at least one of them to have. 24 hours a day. This with young children. “Teenagers have different fears,” he warns, just like the older ones, using the example of the doctor and researcher Manuel Sobrinho Simões, the director of PÚBLICO for these anniversary days, who complained at the age of 73, “to the last years of his life steal”.

In other words, within the same family that the psychiatrist is defending, the reasons for fear and agony are different: the elderly find it very sad to reach this point when they are short on time and cannot enjoy it; The youngest have to decide whether or not to have a child, whether or not to start a business, whether or not to apply for a loan, that is, concerned about a possibly longer future after going through an economic crisis ten years ago.

You can feel sadness

The first step in overcoming fear, says Júlio Machado Vaz, is to first talk to the family about the problems. It is like that in that moment he is defending and showing some level of fear or sadness. It does not constitute a psychiatric diagnosis and risks “not being afraid, not being sad, more worrying” and always being aware of when to call for a technician for help.

Vera Ra Size adds: “Asking for help should not be seen as a sign of weakness.” Before doing this, however, it is necessary to “accept emotions: positive and negative”.

One of the things families had to deal with over the past year has been loss of no chance of goodbye and sometimes knowing that they were responsible for transmitting the virus.

“Grief with her sadness and longing is perfectly normal,” and medication during this time is not a good idea, says Júlio Machado Vaz. “We all have to mourn: either symbolically or literally.”

But “a grief that brings guilt together was what I conveyed [a doença]”” According to the psychiatrist, psychologists lack more commitment, although it is also important to accept it here: “The professional must first accept the feeling of guilt and then try, in parallel with the person, to reduce it to its real dimension.” And he comes to the conclusion: “Why say that? [da culpa] it doesn’t matter, it doesn’t understand human nature. “

It is similar with children, says Vera Ramalho, and advises parents to accept the child’s feelings, including sadness.

The detention brought couples together

Being closed with the same people in the same room over and over again can cause wear and tear in relationships, especially among people who have already cracked. However, not all observed cases reflect this reality.

“Especially at the couple level, which can extend to the whole family, solid relationships can exist better under stress,” says Júlio Machado Vaz, noting, however, that “the generalization always goes away from real life.” “I have Spotted couples on the verge of breaking up. [com o confinamento] They reorganized their priorities and (…) finally realized that what united them was stronger. “

Furthermore, he recalls, during this period he heard “many people say this was deeply gratifying” and admitted that they were “more united as a couple and as a family” than before.

Vera Ramalho points out that “there are couples who [no confinamento] they discovered things in each other ”. On the other hand, he points out that “when there are small children it can be a little more complicated”.

But there are also lessons to be learned in less satisfactory situations, such as “lowering the expectations we have of ourselves,” says Ana Stilwell, accepting the fact that “everything is not under control,” emphasizes Vera Ramalho or “enjoy the moment” and to be more supportive, Júlio Machado appreciates Vaz. The latter, however, repeatedly remembers the professor and psychoanalyst Carlos Amaral Dias (1946-2019), who said: “I learned a lot from my stroke, but I did without it.”

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