It was the most bizarre thing. At the time, my husband and I had been isolated for over three months but we did pretty well. It took us a while to get over the shock of not being able to get groceries easily. We also had to come to grips with the fact that we couldn’t see our kids and extended family. They are scattered around the country and out of our reach. We eventually settled on gratitude and the knowledge that others have it worse and moved forward.
So it took me by surprise when I lost it.
It was early June. We live across the street from a school. Families had to show up at scheduled times to pick up their things but that glorious last day of school feeling was absent in the air. The unexpected trigger? It was witnessing a simple maternal gesture that has not been a part of our culture until now: a mom kneeling down to adjust her child’s mask.
I didn’t have to see the mom’s face. The way she wearily bent down to her daughter’s level, gently adjusting her small handmade face covering, there was a sense of exhaustion, worry, resilience, compassion, bravery and resignation in an instant. My tears came from nowhere. They were a mixture of pride in the strength of that particular parent and parenthood, in general, and a random feeling of loss for a little one who is not getting the childhood her mom imagined, even if it’s (hopefully) temporary.
Let’s be honest. Worry can be a parent’s constant companion, especially now.
Whether COVID-19 is creating more stress in children or whether concerning behaviors and emotions are more obvious because of the unprecedented 24/7 togetherness is unclear. One thing is clear, though. Many parents are struggling with what to do about their children’s emotional and mental well-being. It’s confusing to know who to ask when the issues are worrisome but not necessarily extreme.
Is this normal? Will he/she grow out of it? Or do I really need to pay attention?
The good news? Help is available.
If you’re experiencing a bit of fear as a parent right now, you’re not alone. Just the unknowns surrounding an unpredictable new school year can make existing worries about some behaviors and the mental/emotional health of children more intense.
Recently, during a Luminary workshop regarding the stresses of the pandemic, as well as racial injustice, I learned about Weldon from a fellow Luminary member, Paulette Jencks. One thing became clear. Parents don’t have to go it alone. Just ask Weldon’s co-founder, Lynn Burrell.
Lynn Burrell began her career in Clinical Research at some of the top hospitals in the nation (Brigham and Women, Cornell Medical College/New York Presbyterian Hospital), working in the area of behavioral health. Understanding the importance of early intervention, she then became a School Psychologist. She holds her Master’s degree in Early Childhood Assessment and a Professional Diploma in School Psychology, with certifications in New York, New Jersey and California. She is a mom to a toddler boy and is the co-founder of Weldon.
Weldon is a curated community of child development professionals (school psychologists, school counselors, behaviorists, social workers, marriage and family therapists, clinical and educational psychologists, etc.) providing personalized guidance, empathy and support for all parents. Our service includes one-on-one sessions with our child development professionals in which we develop individualized action plans to help with your parenting needs. Weldon also provides group video discussions and workshops and we work directly with parents and also partner with schools and corporations.
What was the inspiration behind Weldon’s mission?
I founded the company with my brother, Mark, and the idea was developed as a necessity when Mark had children. I’m a school psychologist and Mark kept asking me all these parenting questions and so I began providing advice on parenting strategies. When these situations did arise it led to longer conversations and the development of a dream to help all parents reduce their frustrations and increase their confidence in their own parenting skills. Our ultimate goal is to help parents raise great children.
How does a parent know when they need outside professional guidance?
This is the beauty of Weldon. There is an old belief that one must have symptoms or an actual diagnosis in order to seek help. Weldon is trying to help advocate for a paradigm shift to seek guidance when one feels challenged or wants self-growth. This can include seeking support on how you handled a situation, improve your behavior management skills, or to learn more about your own parenting style or child development as a whole, the bottom line you don’t need to have a pathology; you just need to be a parent with a question.
In addition to the one-on-one consultations, how has Weldon’s work with parents expanded during these intense times of a pandemic and the Black Lives Matter movement?
Well the pandemic has certainly increased the amount of time we spend with our children. While this may be a silver lining it also has caused some frustrations and an increase of self-awareness about our parenting skills. Weldon has been working with corporations who are using our services as part of their employee benefits to help empower and reduce the stress of their employees who are parents, resulting in an overall healthier well-being and a more productive work environment.
We have also been providing live socials available to all parents on topics such as “developing better communication skills with your children”, “helping to identify at-risk signs and support your child’s mental health” and “coping with our new normal”. In the following weeks we are working on providing families guidance on how to handle the return to school under new these new conditions.
Finally, we are really proud of our most recent workshop “ How to talk to your child about Race and Inequality,” led by professional school counselor and Nationally Certified Counselor, Katelyn Williams. We had an amazing group of parents join to learn more about how to start these conversations, how to be an ally and how to become more engaged.
Katelyn Williams is a professional school counselor and a Nationally Certified Counselor. She spent years providing counseling to students and parents in elementary and middle schools serving Catholic and Jewish communities, and currently provides parent education in pediatric settings. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Gardner-Webb University and a Master of Science in Counseling from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.
What is Weldon’s definition of success?
Our providers are professionals who have dedicated their career to help others. We feel success when a parent initiates a conversation to better understand themselves or their child. But the ultimate success is when parents report to us that the strategies or information that we have provided has helped them feel more comfortable or has made their parenting experience more enjoyable.
The pandemic has exposed many raw nerves, but it has also exposed the fact that great resources are available. To all of you who support parents and therefore, children, thank you. You’re doing important work.❤️