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How to Manage Your Children and Keep Your Sanity

How is your parenting going these days?

I bet the long hours with the kids home every day all day has really given you time to consider your parenting practices.  Working from home, schooling the children, feeding everyone and trying to keep your sanity requires a paring down and simplification of things, not a complication of things.

If you were raised in a dysfunctional family or picked up dysfunctional habits along the way then chances are your household may not be running very smoothly right now. Luckily, you can institute a few basic practices that can ease your immediate pain.  When this weird time passes you can make bigger changes if need be.

Consider this parenting bootcamp:

  1. You are the boss. No questions asked. You make the plan for the day, decide what needs doing and who needs to do it. Spell it out first thing in the morning so everyone knows what to expect. Enforce it all day.
  2. Do not be afraid to be the boss. Somebody has to be. In dysfunctional homes there can be major problems around this topic as you try to be your child’s friend or fear alienating them by disciplining. That doesn’t happen when you correct them in a healthy way. Disciplining doesn’t mean beating them. They need parents, they have friends.
  3. Keep the drama down. Kids pick up on histrionics and it makes them anxious. When they are anxious they act out or feel ill. Either way it is more work for you. Things are already anxiety provoking, don’t make it worse. Don’t overshare with them about finances or other problems. They cannot fix it and there is no need to worry them with adult matters.
  4. If you find yourself arguing a lot with your spouse, take it outside. Fighting also makes kids scared and anxious. Don’t talk about leaving or divorce in front of them. Security is very important.
  5. Be consistent with your rules. If you have a rule about jumping on the furniture one day but the next you allow them to do it it is confusing. Inconsistency is the biggest contributing factor to child behavior problems, anxiety and anger problems. Is it hard work? Sometimes. But if you have a hard and fast rule it is easier to enforce then one that is just a big maybe. It is also easier to enforce existing rules than to deal with anger management and behavior issues that will last way down the road.
  6. Try not to make them feel like victims or helpless in this time of pandemic. Instead teach them resiliency, you are then giving them the gift of being able to tackle other difficulties in the future. We all have them but we don’t all know how to handle them well. Helplessness and victimization bring about anger and depression not to mention other mental health difficulties and that is not a gift.
  7. Don’t be afraid to give them chores. You need help and it does not damage them to help around the house. It in fact teaches them how to manage their own house someday and can build a sense of camaraderie in the house and getting through this difficult time together.  You don’t have to feel like you have to pay them for these chores. They live there, are part of the family and this is their contribution. It is perfectly ok.  Just use sense about cleaning chemicals and what not with their ages.
  8. Set boundaries and keep them. If you need a quiet work area or a place to do virtual meetings then those are no go zones for the kids. Never unless someone is dying. Again a good training zone for a healthy necessity of life. We all need boundaries, they define us and teach people how to treat us. If they see that they can run all over your boundaries you are teaching them to be disrespectful. If you don’t have enough space to cut out an area for yourself then the boundary becomes “We don’t talk when Mommy is on the computer, she’s at work.”

Keeping things clear and simple is the key to survival and family coherence, during pandemics and beyond.

If you are not sure if you are engaging in dysfunctional practices, I have free resources and a quiz on my website listed below in the bio section.

Feel Good For Life!!


Photo by keeping it real

How to Manage Your Children and Keep Your Sanity

Audrey Sherman, Ph.D.

Dr. Audrey Sherman is a licensed psychologist, coach and the author of the book Dysfunction Interrupted-How to Quickly Overcome Depression, Anxiety and Anger Starting Now. Her expertise is in defining, describing and transforming dysfunctional behavior and thought patterns learned in childhood or beyond that keep you anxious, depressed, angry, stuck in unhappy and unproductive relationships, jobs and more. Dr. Sherman developed the Dysfunctional Patterns Quiz and other free resources to help you determine the effects of these on your life. She works with individuals, conducts live and online workshops and trains others in her programs. To learn more about Dr. Sherman, you can visit her website.

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APA Reference
Sherman, A. (2020). How to Manage Your Children and Keep Your Sanity. Psych Central. Retrieved on December 4, 2020, from


Last updated: 11 May 2020
Statement of review: Psych Central does not review the content that appears in our blog network ( prior to publication. All opinions expressed herein are exclusively those of the author alone, and do not reflect the views of the editorial staff or management of Psych Central. Published on All rights reserved.