Anxiety and Coping With the Coronavirus

Young sad teenager boy suffering from depression feeling sad and isolated.

One of the difficult realities in dealing with the Coronavirus is the constant sense of uncertainty for families and children. Not only are we dealing with a great deal of fear about the virus but also the constancy of relationship that presents so many issues that are difficult to cope with each and every day. We are pummeled with consistent stories that are frightening. Also many of us are isolated and are taking on a whole new lifestyle that tests our family relationships and brings us a great deal of stress and anxiety.

Rachel Ehmke has just published a very helpful article on the Child Mind Institute website about coping with COVID-19 for parents and for children.  Here is a quote from the article:

We’re all on edge because of the coronavirus. Our daily lives have been disrupted, we aren’t sure what tomorrow may bring, and for many of us the nonstop news and social media coverage isn’t helping.

Our experts say that dealing with your own anxiety can be the most powerful way to make sure your kids feel secure. If you or your children are feeling worried, learning how to deal with that anxiety in a healthy way can help the whole family be more resilient, both now and when the pandemic is finally over.

young isolated depressed teen at home alone

“The treatment for anxiety isn’t to make the fear go away, it’s to manage the fear and tolerate uncertainty,” explains Jerry Bubrick, PhD, a clinical psychologist at the Child Mind Institute. “So for the kids who’ve been in treatment for this, it’s almost like they have an immune response or they’re vaccinated against uncertainty. They’ve been training for this and now they’re able to put their skills in place and for many of them the coronavirus is not affecting them as much as those of us who aren’t used to dealing with uncertainty on a daily level.”

The article goes on to examine some of the issues that parents and families experience. There are many sound and helpful strategies to help your family deal with the anxiety and learn how to cope with this time of uncertainty and isolation. Because of the practicality of these suggestions I highly recommend this article.

I hope all of you are staying safe, creating social distance and working to help your children and teenagers cope with this pandemic. Thank you for your constancy of care for your loved ones. I recognize that this is a huge challenge but also a great opportunity for family connection and affirmation of our care and support of each other.

Gerry Vassar