The Pandemic Will Make Kids or Break Them
The COVID-19 era has worked as a stress test for parents and kids alike, breaking some while bringing out reserves of strength and resilience in others. But it’s not the disease itself that’s done so much damage; it’s the isolation, fear, and stressed adults that have driven many kids during the last year to anxiety, obsessive behavior, and even suicide.
“The strain of the COVID-19 pandemic on children underscores the need for pediatricians to address emotional and behavioral health as part of standard care,” the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) announced on March 15. “Suicidal ideation and attempts have increased among youth during the pandemic.”
Around the same time, the Associated Press warned that “pediatric psychiatrists say they’re also seeing children with coronavirus-related phobias, tics and eating disorders, obsessing about infection, scrubbing their hands raw, covering their bodies with disinfectant gel, and terrified of getting sick from food.” Much of the problem, experts say, lies in the imposed social isolation of lockdown mandates, school closures, and cessation of most normal social contact amid overheated warnings about infection.
“Children and adolescents serve as ’emotional barometers’ for their family and often reflect the level of stress of parents and caregivers,” the AAP notes. But not all parents have succumbed to the bunker mentality. As the world retreated around them, people often socialized—sometimes quietly when the law or neighbors disapprov
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