Even though I’m starting to accept this pandemic, I am struggling with how my children are being hurt by it. As a family therapist, I am not just concerned about my teenagers, but for all the children in our community.
A lot of the losses that our kids have suffered seem small when we first look at them. Your child not being able to be in the same room as their favorite teacher seems like a micro-loss. But when we start to take an inventory of them, the small losses really compound. The number of things that have been taken away from our kids is actually very significant. And if you aren’t having conversations with your kids about that yet, I want to encourage you to start.
The activities, people, rituals, and schedules that keep our children resilient have been amended, removed, or cancelled. For example, high school graduation is supposed to be happening this week. Our young people have been robbed of significant rituals commending their accomplishments. Additionally, our younger kids don’t yet have the cognitive development to wrap their brains around a deadly virus. It’s hard enough for adults to understand it.
When we consider all these factors, I am deeply concerned about the mental health of our kiddos, our adolescents, and our young adults. So please join me in really taking good care of them, and keeping a close eye on them. And I don’t just mean your kids. I also mean the neighbors’s kids who live across the street. I mean the kids who are in your larger community. We really need to be looking out for them.
While there is a shortage of many things in society right now, there is no shortage of empathy, compassion, and validation. At the end of the day, our kids want to be heard and want to be seen. They want to have dialogues with you about all the things they have lost, and how hard it is for them right now. Those qualities are a healing salve, and you, my friend, are equipped to provide it for the young people you care about.
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