How to ease into the ânew normalâ

How to ease into the ‘new normal’

WORDSWORTH - Mons Romulo (The Philippine Star) - May 26, 2020 - 12:00am

The Love Institute’s Ma. Isabel ‘Maribel’ Sison Dionisio has been a relationship and parenting consultant for over 25 years. For five years, she was a weekly relationship expert for Radyo Singko 92.3 FM’s Relasyon noontime program. She was also a regular parenting expert at ABS-CBN’s Umagang Kay Ganda.

In order to offer her expertise to more Filipino families, she co-authored parenting books: Helping our Children Do Well in School, a Book and a Manual (Anvil Publishing, 2004);  Magaling ang Pinoy (Ateneo, 2007), and Growing up Wired (Anvil Publishing, 2013). She also co-authored a relationship book for single professionals, I’ve been Dating, Now What? (Anvil, 2006).

Maribel trained as an Imago therapist of the Imago Relationships International in New York in 2009.

Before setting up The Love Institute in 2008, she worked at the  Center for Family Ministries (CEFAM) for 15 years under the mentorship of Fr. Ruben Tanseco, SJ.

Maribel, and her husband, Dr. Allan Dionisio, are both graduates of the Family Ministry course from the Ateneo de Manila University. They are much sought-after speakers and resource persons at workshops, radio and television programs on parenting, marriage and family.

Allan is a family medicine practitioner and a clinical toxicologist.  He is the chairman of the Department of Family and Community Medicine at the Philippine General Hospital.

For 20 years now, Allan and Maribel, who are regular columnists for Kerygma magazine, have helped prepare couples for marriage in the Discovery Weekend marriage preparation program. The couple have also co-authored relationship books: Thinking of Marriage (Don Bosco Press, 2011) and Teen Crush (Don Bosco Press, 2011).

Allan and Maribel have been happily married (more often than not!) for 36 years and have three adult children: Raf, Dav and Gica. Occasionally, their children join them in talks, as added resource persons.

Maribel Dionisio shares with us some advice after the lockdown is lifted.

L - Look for the best time to spend with your friends and loved ones, in person.  We had chats with them over Zoom but meeting them in person is always a joy.  So many things are missed out during the long-distance relationship brought about by the lockdown.  Make your schedule of meet ups now and inform them.

O - Open your mind for new opportunities.  Work could have been affected, income has been reduced or delayed,  so buy and sell things needed by friends and neighbors like alcohol, masks, hand sanitizer.  There are still a number of people, especially the seniors, who will not go out, so have their needs delivered to them.

C - Carry on with the new normal.  While we cannot go back to how things were, we can establish routines within our homes in order to put structure in our daily lives. Studies have shown that in a crisis, children thrive better when they know what to expect on a daily basis. This need not be something strictly scheduled; one can start with regular mealtimes with the whole family, or a bedtime story for younger kids. This way, children are able to transition into the new normal better.

K - Kind words do not cost so much. Let us affirm one another. Everyone is going through the same crisis, but not everyone is able to cope well. Let us remember to choose kindness as much as possible, and model to our children how it is to give empathy. With some family members, we had too much time and presence, that we could have hurt each other.  Be kind and apologize.

D - Design activities that you are so passionate about now. The quarantine may have urged you to  revise your purpose in life, about life, love and relationships. Work out a plan to achieve this. Inquire about activities and services around your neighborhood for accessibility. We may not be able to cross the next town yet due to quarantine measures.

O - Offer support  to neighbors, family and friends who are still having financial difficulties.  Especially those who are on a “no work, no pay” mode, it can take some time to get back on their feet.  Look for opportunities for them to earn.  Am sure you also sorted out stuff at home, so give away these things to others in need. As a friend said, “I realized that I just need six shirts and six shorts! I have so many clothes to share!”

W - Wash hands and wear the mask as prescribed. The lifting of restrictions does not mean that the worst is over. Continue the safety measures and prepare an emergency plan. Stock up on essentials. Do not hoard. Plan your grocery and pharmacy trips. We still want to minimize going out. Continue practicing the physical distancing. Let us help flatten the curve further.

N - Never give in to your negative feelings. Be hopeful and be prayerful.  Load up on empathy. Everyone is going through the same crisis, but not everyone is able to cope well. Let us remember to choose kindness as much as possible, and model to our children how it is to give empathy. Say “I love you” often. Because we can never say enough.

During the quarantine, children, especially ages  0 to 10, may have enjoyed the parents’ presence and availability of mom and dad.  But the parents in turn, had the sudden task of homeschooling their kids besides keeping them entertained. The Love Institute and the New Bold University present the On-Line School for Parents. To learn more about the strategies on effective parenting, visit schoolforparents.teachable.com/p/sfp-enroll. *

  • Latest
Are you sure you want to log out?

Philstar.com is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

or sign in with