Alyson Pompeo-Fargnoli, Ph.D., assistant professor of educational counseling in the School of Education, and Chiu-Yin (Cathy) Wong, Ph.D., associate professor of curriculum and instruction in the School of Education, recently published an article on “Homeschooling and Parental Mental Health during COVID-19” in the fall issue of the North Atlantic Regional Association for Counselor Education and Supervision (NARACES) newsletter.
Pompeo-Fargnoli and Wong note that amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, parents have been faced with unprecedented challenges as learning has turned to remote and hybrid instruction, with the transition to homeschooling and virtual learning resulting in a new burden and challenge for many parents. Parents are now experiencing high levels of stress, which have the potential to negatively impact their mental health, they argue.
In their article, Pompeo-Fargnoli and Wong make tangible recommendations for parents, such as urging them to be aware of their mental health and any impediments to it. While many are being vigilant of their physical health during this pandemic, as extraordinary measures are being taken to avoid contracting the virus, they caution everyone to take equal care of their mental health. As parents now take on more roles than ever before, it is vital that they take care of themselves. Pompeo-Fargnoli and Wong further recommend that asking for help and support should not only be considered acceptable, but be expected. While social distancing may restrict some of this support, any in-home support that is available should be accessed. They also urge parents to be creative by seeking remote supports such as cyber-tutoring for their children and virtual support, such as cyber-counseling and parental support groups, for themselves.
Finally, Pompeo-Fargnoli and Wong turned their attention towards mental health professionals, providing recommendations for how they can best help their clients, including offering of flexible, virtual sessions for clients, offering parental counseling groups, and utilizing multiple counseling modalities.