Straight Talk About Dealing with Distance Learning Stress


Honolulu (KHON2) –  In this age of social distancing and dependence on social media, we asked Rhesa and Edwina of Ho’oko LLC for some Straight Talk.

“The primary difficulties that we are hearing about include: parents feeling pressured to take on the role of teacher and to ensure that their child is in fact learning,”  explains President/Co-Founder Rhesa Kaulia. “Often this comes with hovering and correcting their child more than even a teacher would; students responding negatively to this and becoming frustrated with their parents and the process; children refusing to do their work or sit and participate in online learning; parents having difficulties balancing their own working from home and distance learning, and all of this creating additional stress and tension in the home.” 

Vice-President/Co-Founder Edwina Reyes adds statistics, saying “According to the Census Bureau, nearly 93% of households with school-aged children are engaged in some form of distance learning due to COVID-19.  It was also discovered that families that have incomes of $100,000 or more have students who have the necessary (electronic) resources to participate in online learning, while households with incomes of $50,000 or less, may not have the same access.”

In the State of Hawai’i, the Department of Education has passed out Chromebooks to students to help with this specific concern.  Still, some families are reporting difficulties connecting to the internet, or lack of internet service or the appropriate bandwidth to use their devices.

To address the increased stress at home due to distance learning, they recommend that families have a plan that includes:  setting up a distraction free environment for children to sit and engage in their classes, identifying who will be helping the children from one day to the next, and finding a balance between assisting children versus being completely responsible for their academic progress and success.  

“Distance learning is new to everyone and there will be a learning curve,” says Kaulia. “Parents would be less stressed if they give themselves permission to stay in the lane of parent versus teacher.  This means helping to set children up on the computer, helping them navigate to the classroom site, and then stepping back and allowing the child to engage the teacher with questions.  Children can also be taught to request additional help or tutoring from the teacher after class.  Ultimately, we want our children to be functionally independent, instead of creating a dependence on the parent, who will not be present once children are back in brick and mortar classrooms.”

Parents can also help children list out assignments on a whiteboard, or somewhere that is easily visible to the child. They can remind children to take breaks, drink water, get up & stretch, and walk around between classes.  They can also have children utilize blue blocker glasses to minimize the impact of staring at a screen all day.  Additionally, families can plan things to do once the learning and working from home is done for the day, to give everyone something to look forward to.  And above all, give each other grace and space, be realistic, and know that these are trying times for everyone, and it is difficult all the way around.

Contact a professional to explore the additional stress that families are experiencing due to distance learning.  Hooko Counseling Center provides services for these types of situations.  Often people don’t realize that counseling services are covered by most major health insurances.  If you have questions or would like to schedule an appointment, contact 808-375-7712 or visit

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