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Parenting During a Pandemic

By Barbara A. Preston l February 1, 2021

The Montgomery School District is planning a series of presentations to support Montgomery and Rocky Hill families during the pandemic. The first one is titled “Parenting in the New Not So Normal” offered by Blueprint Mental Health of Somerville on Thursday, February 4 at 7 pm on Facebook Live.

Learn how to deal with your kids’ friends’ parents having different rules than you do — and more. Therapist John Mopper, who co-owns Blueprint Mental Health with his fiancé Michele Levin, will address how COVID has impacted families.

Somerset County therapists John Mopper and Michele Levin will lead a Facebook Live presentation on parenting during COVID on February 4.

The pandemic has put an unprecedented amount of stress on families, according to Mopper. “Things are tough right now,” he says. “I’m going to talk about things like how COVID is impacting our mental health; how to handle distance learning; how to manage your kids’ screen time; and, at the same time, deal with your kids’ friends’ parents having different rules than you do.”

Mopper earned a bachelor’s degree in American Studies from Rutgers University in 2002 and a master’s degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Kean University in 2014. Parents will have an opportunity to ask questions.

The interactive session will be led by Levin, who earned a bachelor’s degree in Elementary and Special Education from the University of Delaware in 2009, is a also a therapist. Tune in at

Ask Lisa

The Montgomery school district counseling team is referring families to a podcast series by Lisa Damour, PhD, author of Untangled and Under Pressure. Damour also writes a monthly Adolescence column for The New York Times.

The latest podcast is: “My Kid Hates Remote Learning. What Do I Do?” Listen online at anchor. fm/asklisa.

“Parents are finding it hard to get their children to feel motivated about school, especially when they are learning remotely,” Damour says.

Her podcasts and regular articles for The New York Times explain strategies parents may use to help their kids. Damour earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Yale University in 1992 and a PhD in clinical psychology from the University of Michigan in 1997.

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Damour says she has learned over time that, “Rewards work better than punishment.”

During COVID, it is easy for kids to become disenfranchised with school, especially when having to interface with a computer screen for long periods of time. First, parents need to rule out depression, which has experienced an uptick during COVID. Next, come up with a reward system. Normal punishments do not work during COVID.

“The reward does not have to be big,” Damour says. “It doesn’t have to be a new, expensive Xbox. It can be small. “For example, let them choose what the family will have for dinner. It can be praise. Or, it can be letting them choose the movie night. “Pour on the empathy ... and think about what your kid needs by way of reward. Try to give them a reason for wanting to do their school work.”

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