CoVid-19 Trauma & How to Manage Children’s Anxiety
CoVid-19 is a worldwide crisis experienced for the very first time, simultaneously across all generations. Just as we went into lockdown, we are beginning to emerge from it without a blueprint of any kind.
From the beginning, as the virus gathered momentum there has been little or no comfort to be had of a familiar lived-experience with a successful resolution. Collectively, human-kind do not have a happy-ever-after to this experience. Everyone, whoever they are has struggled with miss-steps and anxiety in their attempt to get traction in the new landscape of our post-virus world.
CoVid-19 has made our lives unrecognisable
Every aspect of both adult and children’s lives has changed unrecognisably in a matter of weeks. It challenges us all at a very deep level. However, a trauma in young people is made worse when they are denied an opportunity to talk about what is worrying them. Children acting out and exhibiting new challenging behaviour are showing you their emotional distress.
The anxiety and stress young people experience can be made worse when their expressions of distress are dismissed or down-played by adults in positions of trust and power. When young people feel they are not being heard and they’re made to feel their emotions are not important it adds to their sense of powerlessness.
All lives have been impacted by the pandemic
Unavoidably, during the pandemic young people have picked up the feeling of shock and distress from the adults around them. During the recent weeks, they have over-heard at least snatches of the news from the alarming official daily briefings as well as hearing the concerned chatter of parents or other adults. Without being able to identify it by name young people have picked up on the fear adults were trying to conceal from themselves – the realisation that they feel as vulnerable and overwhelmed as the young people do. Recognising that adults do not have all the answers is disconcerting for young children who usually believe the grown-ups in their life to be all-powerful and all-knowing.
Supporting children’s experiencing trauma means being willing to acknowledge the magnitude of what CoVid-19 means to them within their frame of reference. The approach needs to understand the loss of the life they had known and taken for granted. Before the pandemic, family life and school routine were taken for granted. Children need to be given age-appropriate information that shows adults understand and empathise with them about how much their life has changed. You can reassure them that this pandemic will eventually end and life will return to normal or nearer the normal we all know but it is crucial to fully hear them out about how they feel in the present – the period of now because that’s what they’re experiencing. Strategies to manage stress within a group of young children need to offer them a variety of styles to express their feelings in audio, visual and kinaesthetic ways using storytelling, drawing/art and role play.
Covid-19 can trigger existing trauma
Even though everyone is having to deal with the pandemic, some people are dealing with this situation with more sure-footedness than others. What seems to make the difference is that with some people the feelings engendered by the pandemic are triggering old, half-forgotten trauma from their past. It would be helpful if adults in the role of teachers and leaders of our young people have resolved any of their feelings of trauma triggered by living through CoVid-19.
To ensure teachers and leaders have the necessary clarity to discuss the implications of the virus without inadvertently expressing their fears means they need to have undergone the necessary psychological work to resolve their own PTSD and on-going trauma.
If you feel the pandemic has triggered long-buried trauma for you then make contact with me via the link on this page for an obligation-free call to explore how you can resolve your PTSD and live trauma-free.
Sally Baker is Senior Therapist, published Author and Speaker in private practice in London for face to face sessions and the world over via the internet.
With almost twenty years of professional experience, she employs cutting-edge therapeutic approaches to help one person at a time to transform their lives.
She has extensive experience working with people to alleviate their anxiety, depression, anger issues, eating disorders as well as conflicts within relationships and the family.
To find out more about Sally Baker, her books and her work visit her website, www.workingonthebody.com