Each one of us has been affected by Covid-19 in some way or the other. Grieving loss of loved ones, managing with pay cuts, losing our jobs, getting anxious or depressed and so much more. But since we all have been through tougher times in our lives, our resilience and coping skills have helped us to put up a brave front.
But it saddens me to see the changes in children and dealing with the impact on their mental health. Evitable reasons like closure of schools, stressful scenarios around, raised anxiety levels of parents, frustrations of working from home and stress of not socializing are some causes that have led to serious concerns. Very young children coming with the diagnosis of high risk of disorders and neurosis getting commonly spread in teenagers, behavioral difficulties….Is all this a post Covid syndrome or the impact of Covid only? Or there is more to it!
Working closely with the parents and children in these times, I have been forced to think that it isn’t only Covid impact but the impact of parent’s behaviors, their responses and their dealings in life. Parenting during the Covid times has led to huge impact on the development and mental health of children. The higher the stress levels of the parents, higher the challenges with the children. Parents broke and the kids broke faster whereas families that displayed strength and resilience led to calmer and stable kids.
Families who were extra cautious in preventing Covid infection and followed cleanliness rituals like a mania have also led to children suffering from anxiety, depression and in some cases Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. And the extreme was when I received a young couple complaining of their four-year-old child washing hands repeatedly and finding things dirty around him. He chose it as a way to get his wishes granted and threw tantrums to force the parents to give in to his demands.
I know, it has been a difficult phase to decide how much to do and how much not to do, take precautions or keep sanitizing surfaces all the time but somewhere some of us did not demonstrate good examples. Our intent was good but probably instead of focusing on how to make best use of the time we got to spend with our families, we were obsessed with going to the extent of becoming finicky in preventing Covid infections. Families who concentrated on bouncing back constructively, using time wisely with family, equipping themselves and their children with knowledge and skills and using time to provide first hand training and experiences to their children helping them become mature, independent and responsible came out as real heroes. They taught value of time and used the situation to teach empathy, compassion and service to their children. I am happy we are coming out of this struggle but we as parents need to unlearn and learn our parenting skills and strategies to create a healthy society.
This phase reinforced that Parenting Matters!!!
About the author
Ms. Vinita Berry is the Founder of ‘Priceless Parenting with Vinita Berry’ (formerly, Spectrum, a multi-disciplinary clinic for specially-abled learners). Ms. Berry has successfully empowered thousands of parents to raise their children fruitfully, making them competent and happy learners.