OK, So We Have a New Regular. However How Will Our Children Fare Lengthy-Time period?
The pandemic has clearly been taking its toll around the world for over a year, but as a mom, like many other parents, I am extremely concerned about the underlying behavioral challenges that may affect our children.
Across the country, children have seen major disruptions due to the initial uncertainty surrounding the virus, followed by the overzealous but necessary health and safety measures required to contain and reduce the spread of COVID-19 that affect ours today Stop unvaccinated babies. They have endured both planned and unplanned school closings, social isolation and, for many, the impact of financial hardship on their families. In many communities, especially those of mostly low-income and colored residents, gaps in access to health care – and their inequalities – have been exacerbated by the pandemic.
One can easily imagine the mental toll the past 18 months have caused on our children who already have less control over what is going on around them. Many adults even have problems because they feel overwhelmed, confused, and frustrated as we return to our “new normal”.
In an October 2020 survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation, nearly a third (31 percent) of parents said their children’s mental health was worse than it was before the pandemic. The parents surveyed observed increased irritability, anxiety or attachment in their children and, perhaps more worryingly, some observed lack of sleep or anorexia, indicating more cognitive or behavioral problems in children.
If you look at children’s mental health in general, the situation gets worse: According to the CDC, 8 percent of children ages 3 to 17 have an anxiety disorder, 4 percent have a depressive disorder, and 9 percent have attention disorder. Other disorders are also important in children, such as eating disorders and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). If left untreated in childhood, these conditions can lead to more serious mental illnesses in adulthood. It is a difficult pill to swallow, but all signs point to the fact that our children’s mental health problems will increase in the future.
So what can we do for our children as we try to help them emerge from this pandemic as healthy and complete individuals? First, get some help yourself. As they say, before you fly, attach the mask to yourself before helping others. That statement has never been more appropriate than it is now, having emerged after months and months of wearing masks (which will go on in many circumstances). That is, if you feel like you are spinning, get help. Find someone, either a professional or a confidante, to speak to to clear things up on your mind. It can be helpful to join a mother (or parent) group; Numbers are strong and can help you realize that you are not alone.
Second, talk to your children and gain an understanding of what is really going on in their lives, hearts, and thoughts. You may have to try a few times – especially if they are older. I love to ask my daughter, “Let’s take a few belly breaths (touch your stomach and heart), breathing in and out until 10 am. Then try to use your words. ”Encourage them to speak to you from the heart. In the calm one usually comes to the core of the topic.
If that doesn’t work or you need more assistance, see a professional. The pandemic has intensified negative childhood experiences for many, and it is important to find an expert now that your child can speak to to help alleviate long-term mental health issues like violence, substance addiction, and worse.
Finally, try to instill a sense of normalcy without overlooking the fact that this has been an incredibly tough year for everyone, especially our little ones. As a parent, it is important not to oversimplify or ignore their feelings, but rather to help them find balance and find a way into a future full of promise and potential. It’s a universal truth that once you’ve taken a step towards your future, it’s easier to see one. Just help them take the first step.
Joy Altimare has been the CMO of the industry leader in health and prevention, EHE Health for over 100 years. With over 20 years of experience in marketing, Joy has grown to be a competent advisor for companies looking to address growth, innovation and technology challenges. Before entering the healthcare industry, Joy worked at brands such as L’Oreal, Verizon and Colgate-Palmolive, as well as agencies such as Ogilvy + Mather, GRAY and Publicis. Joy is the mother of her daughter Ella and lives in New York City.