So, we know about the mask mandates and arguments for and against getting vaccinations, we know about the deaths from COVID-19 and whether any sense of normalcy from the past will ever return, and we know about CDC guidelines and how they can be odd and even confusing at times in regard to staying home due to direct exposure to another sick person. What we don’t know is how all these things will impact people in the future, especially the younger generations. I’ll use my middle son as an example, he wears his mask at school, around his neck and or on his face at home and often expresses anxiety when in public without a mask. These are conditioned responses. As his father and the same with all our sons, my wife and I have done our best to educate our kids on our understanding of COVID-19, mask use and managing stress during these times. My concern is that my son is just one of likely many kids out there experiencing anxiety because they are being trained to make sure they have masks on in social situations. I feel the need to back-up for just a moment and explain that I am not against masks, my wife and I were talking earlier today how we can accept personal choice regarding mask use, at the same time we are for our children wearing them as they are needed, which is at school and when we go to public locations. One step we have taken is to explain when a mask should be worn and when it doesn’t need to be, as well as why. The anxiety I have noticed from my son is typically in his desire to have a mask on when he is in these public locations with some questions coming from him when people are not wearing a mask. In these situations, we explain that some people choose not to wear them in places like the grocery store and that is their choice which we then move on. The anxiety is by no means serious enough to warrant therapy or serious concern at this point. As a therapist perhaps I worry too much and see things for more than they are, but I feel as a parent we need to make sure to continue to educate our children on mandates and the pandemic as a whole, not to fear monger, but to help them understand the best we can what is going on and how we can handle different situations. In addition, my wife and I have an open-door policy in terms of questions so that our boys know they can always come and ask us a question and or raise a concern. These are the same steps I would suggest to anyone in regard to concerns of helping their children understand our current up and down world. Anyone who is a parent knows it’s one of the toughest jobs and these times don’t make it easier but there will always be something to educate our children o sex, drugs, social situations, pandemics and the list can go on and on its just that sometimes there are multiple topics at the same time.
Parents one more thing! Self-care. Yes, we all need to be taking care of ourselves during stressful times, you cannot pour from an empty cup! If you’re not in a good place mentally, physically and or emotionally, it’s tough to be at your best for someone else. Remember, YOUR worth it and so are our children! Stay strong and let’s keep moving forward.