Talk

Advanced search

Are we bringing up children who will be scared of their own shadow?

(26 Posts)
MozFan Mon 27-Apr-20 23:14:41

I know we are in the middle of a global pandemic. And it’s normal to be scared. But I’m afraid for children’s mental health after all this.
It was already fragile enough with the internet and constant media reporting of negative news before this happened. However it’s now 24/7 and as adults we are struggling with it, so who knows what it’s doing to children and teens long term.
I’ve seen many posts on here and on Facebook from parents saying they are too afraid to take their children out for a walk, or that they spend half the day cleaning so they can be sure they’ve done everything they could to stop the virus entering their home. The current coronavirus news is constant and mostly, hideously depressing, with very little positivity or focus on recovery rates and so on.
I know there was a pandemic in 1918, but the lack of media as we know it now, probably created a much calmer situation. Although still frightening, it was probably a more controlled community reaction.
I hope I’m making sense.
I’m just so worried about how all this anxiety and panic is going to rub off on future generations.
I’ve even read parents on Facebook saying they won’t be sending their child back to school (non shielding family) until there’s a vaccine, which could potentially be 18 months away. Clearly the child won’t get a say in this. It’s really worrying.
I do understand the fear people are feeling, but I’m also concerned for the children's well being in the long run.

OP’s posts: |
LilacTree1 Tue 28-Apr-20 02:03:51

I agree
It’s very worrying

At the start of this I thought, oh well, at least people will be better about hygiene. But I think it’s gone way beyond that now.

And this won’t be popular but the shielding thing was never meant to be “shield till there’s a vaccine”, that might be ages away or never come.

janeskettle Tue 28-Apr-20 02:15:06

Nope.

Mine are very resilent, and they all suffer from generalised anxiety disorder (pre-Covid diagnosis, strong family history).

They are all doing fine.

RyanBergarasTeeth Tue 28-Apr-20 02:15:28

Yes my friend was telling me about her 9 year old who has horrendous anxiety. The poor child is having nightmares and screaming the house down every night because of it. As she says she is scared her family will die or she will never be allowed out again. Childrens mental health is suffering and will do even more.

LonginesPrime Tue 28-Apr-20 02:16:12

Humans are very adaptable and children are probably more able to cope with the new normal than adults. If they do start to feel anxious, it's bound to be as a result of the reactions of the adults around them as opposed to the situation itself.

The current coronavirus news is constant and mostly, hideously depressing, with very little positivity or focus on recovery rates and so on

You can seek out the news or not - one does have a choice!

The notion that because people have phones, they must be checking them 24/7 sounds like the main problem here.

SquirtleSquad Tue 28-Apr-20 02:20:06

I'm amazed at how much my kids have picked up.

Orangeblossom78 Tue 28-Apr-20 15:17:56

I think talking about it in a child friendly way can help. there is some stuff on BBC about it for children.

RedToothBrush Tue 28-Apr-20 15:50:40

Honestly how the parents react is a huge driver of how the kids respond.

DS has killed his dinosaurs off with coronavirus. But seeing as he kills them off with just about everything else, I'm not remotely worried. He's normalised it in his play. He watches the news with us (and I watch more than most people), but it's pretty normalised in our house into this is just how things are and we can't do certain things for a while but we will in the future. He wants to take his best friend on a picnic when it's all over.

Other parents have made it into a huge great big deal and you can tell. They have very clearly projected their own anxieties in a way which has affected their kids. They've made it into a big scary thing and won't talk about the virus in a way which normalises it. The rainbow warrior crowd in my parent chat are by far the worst and are having most problems. The rainbow shit is about avoidance of the subject and not discussing it in a mature fashion. And the adults are almost hiding behind the fucking rainbows.

The thing is you can not whitewash the subject. You can not avoid it. Best thing to do is to normalise it and to talk about it even with very small kids, because this isn't going away for some time.

DS knows to move away from people if we walk down the street now, but not to be afraid of them. They are as afraid of us as we are of them.

Kids catastrophise if parents don't teach about assessing risk and managing risk properly. It's a skill all parents should teach from an early age.

You can tell the parents who want let their kids climb trees a mile off.

In some other cultures small children are taught how to use knifes safely and respect knives (I'm talking parts of Western Europe here). Its certainly a part of scouting. In doing so they are less likely to hurt themselves than those who aren't allowed near knives at all.

I don't see coronavirus any differently.

This isn't to say that DH and I aren't extremely worried. It's more that we know and understand about risk management and risk assessment.

Anxiety is in its essence a byproduct of being unable to do that. (And I can write a hell of a lot about anxiety).

It's about how you deal with emotion over rational and logic.

I recommend the book 'My hidden chimp' for kids who struggle with this and the adult version 'the chimp paradox' for adults.

WomanIsTaken Tue 28-Apr-20 15:53:48

Interestingly, both DP and DC1 suffer from generalised anxiety disorder, and they are surprisingly OK, it's a bit as if the rest of the world has suddenly arrived at their level of vigilance and worry, and they don't have to feel weird about being the only ones fretting about stuff. This is their 'normal' and everyone's 'getting it'.

SnuggyBuggy Tue 28-Apr-20 15:54:04

It makes me glad mine is still quite young and not really aware of the news. I think she picks up on my anxiety though.

Siameasy Tue 28-Apr-20 16:56:06

I think kids pick up anxiety from the parents too. Learned behaviour. I learned to be anxious about certain things growing up and upon reflection it was because my mum inadvertently taught me that I needed to worry about them.

As a female I notice this drive to care about absolutely everything and an urge to be busy and doing virtuous things and generally be pleasing.

A lot of anxiety is linked to fear of disapproval IMO

Siameasy Tue 28-Apr-20 16:57:16

And the other thing behind anxiety is a high desire for control

RedToothBrush Tue 28-Apr-20 17:12:06

Yes anxiety and need for control are linked.

Psychologically you can adjust for that by learning what is a risk which is high and what is low (and therefore worth worrying about) - that's risk assessment - and by finding things in the situation you can control to mitigate and minimise that feeling of loss of control - that risk management.

Ultimately there are things you can't control but you can have a plan b for if things do go wrong and not to plan.

Even if it's, 'if something does in the unlikely event happen, this is what will happen. We don't want this to happen, but things will be OK one way or another'.

(spot the person who has done a lot of this)

Besides we could all get hit by a meteor carrying zombies which creates a massive tsunami

(Yep there's always the thing that no one saw coming that could happen - like being hit by a bus - and straight out humour, often black, which is massively underrated)

Siameasy Tue 28-Apr-20 17:38:41

I like your posts RedToothbrush I see things the same way eg about the knives as DD has a pocket knife (she is 5) and does “crazy” things which get “looks”. She ate a meal worm the other day.😂

I’ve disengaged from some of the school mums as they were catastrophising from day one and lo and behold their kid is suffering terribly with anxiety.

I believe in matter of fact approach in life; I feel things have swung too far in favour of emotions taking precedence where they should not. I’m an emergency responder (not nhs) and have seen a lot of death and we are almost encouraged to have PTSD now - they will not leave us alone, always checking if we are ok (“I’m fine stop poking the boil”). I started to wonder if I ought to have ptsd or if I’m hiding it?!

Haffiana Tue 28-Apr-20 17:42:21

We already have.

There are PARENTS on here who have not left their houses since lockdown began, and who have not allowed their (presumably at the start at least) mentally healthy children to leave the house either.

These are the parents whose own upbringing did not allow them to develop the skills to risk assess. Now they have their own children and it just carries on.

user1471590586 Tue 28-Apr-20 17:48:33

I have a neurotypical 12 year old and a child with autism. Both of them are fine at home. In fact they are loving being off school. My daughter takes herself off to her room everyday to do her homework. For my SEN child he is actually getting one on one help from me that he needs at school and doesn't currently get.

RedToothBrush Tue 28-Apr-20 17:49:45

Don't get me wrong, I suffer enormously with anxiety.

But I do think there are attitudes than prolong that and don't promote managing anxiety in an effective manner.

Avoidance type behaviour can be very counter productive.

iamapixie Tue 28-Apr-20 17:56:54

Yes. There seems to be an element of emotive catastrophising from some, and as children were already it seems suffering more anxiety, it's a horrible feedback loop. We really need to look more widely at why we are making our children so anxious... Some really interesting posts above - thank you.

oohnicevase Tue 28-Apr-20 18:02:15

I am and adult and I have deleted all news apps , don't watch the news or anything related to the virus , I turn over when the ads come on.. it is possible to avoid it all ..
I ask DH for what I need to know .. I have never had anxiety before all of this .

eeyore228 Tue 28-Apr-20 18:09:16

How we behave will help our children. What we do and how we do it is what matters. Before this I was concerned about resilience in people generally. I have a friend who openly cries on the playground in front of her children, tells everyone how awful her life is and how shit money is, yet can spend money on all sorts but can't pay for school trips. She spoke to me just before the pandemic because her daughter Is displaying signs of anxiety. Observation showed she mimics all her mums behaviours, I never even noticed. Her daughter has even told me she has to be fixed now because there's something wrong with her. Mum literally cannot cope with life despite her ability to always come out on top and she's taught her child to deal with even small issues with screaming and crying.

Stellamboscha Tue 28-Apr-20 18:11:44

OP completely agree.
Those who say they will refuse to allow their children to go to school until they deem it is 'safe' are damaging children hugely -it is scandalous.

HairyToity Tue 28-Apr-20 18:15:29

Mine aren't the least bit phased, and outdoors every day. I suppose it depends where you live, child's personality and parenting style.

RedToothBrush Tue 28-Apr-20 18:27:00

I have a friend who openly cries on the playground in front of her children, tells everyone how awful her life is and how shit money is, yet can spend money on all sorts but can't pay for school trips. She spoke to me just before the pandemic because her daughter Is displaying signs of anxiety. Observation showed she mimics all her mums behaviours, I never even noticed. Her daughter has even told me she has to be fixed now because there's something wrong with her. Mum literally cannot cope with life despite her ability to always come out on top and she's taught her child to deal with even small issues with screaming and crying.

Have (had) similar friend.

One of my lockdown resolutions.

pitterpatterrain Tue 28-Apr-20 18:45:57

Mine are 6 and 3, I have not really told them a great deal beyond “there is a bug that people may catch and so we are being careful not to catch or spread the bug so school and other things are closed for a bit”

I felt before school closed my DD1 was actually more anxious, she came home with red raw hands from constant washing asking what “mass gatherings” were etc. I feel school tbh shared too much information / didn’t think about who was within earshot

Wearywithteens Tue 28-Apr-20 19:04:49

Not where I live. People are cracking on and families are just doing what they can do. I can hear kids playing in gardens and parents out with their children on bikes in the day. I personally know probably about a dozen families with young children and not one of them is ‘catastrophising’. Children just take cues from parents. If parents are anxious and worried, the children will be too.

I work in education and we are planning mental health resources for when lock down is ended. I’ve got a feeling that all children will want to do when they are back at school is get back to day to day small scale normality. Children don’t need to be burdened with adult hand wringing and should be sheltered from it.

Join the discussion

Registering is free, quick, and means you can join in the discussion, watch threads, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Get started »