HAS CHANGED CHILDREN’S RELATIONSHIPS WITH THE WORLD
OUTSIDE OF THEIR HOMES
Many students across the
nation are dealing with sudden
changes to their social lives
and daily routines, the inability
to access education, food
insecurity, and some may even
experience unsafe (emotional or
physical) home environments.
These challenges can present
feelings of sadness, despair,
anxiety and stress, said Dr. Gil
Noam, founder and director of
The PEAR Institute (Partnerships
in Education and Resilience) at
McLean Hospital and Harvard
Parents, who are already
struggling to balance telework
and childcare, should try
to focus daily on creating a
positive home environment
and continuing to build quality
relationships with children
to help them feel secure and
confident in uncertain times.
Regular family meals are one
way to nurture relationships and
check in with your children.
“The feeling of a safe
environment where the
relationships really matter in a
positive way is essential and will
have a strong effect in the long
term,” Dr. Noam said.
Here are more suggestions from
Dr. Noam that parents can tailor
to age and developmental levels:
Be available and in close
distance as much as possible.
Parents should practice their
own self-care so they are rested
and patient with little ones who
need them throughout the day.
School age children:
Parents should choose their
battles over school-work.
Don’t pick a fight when it will
compromise the quality of the
parent-child relationship and try
to transition a potential conflict
into something more positive.
Do not set low expectations
or avoid creating needed
structure – just remember that
consistent criticism can create a
bad environment for everyone.
Playing games, listening and
providing hope are other
constructive ways to build a
When possible try to watch movies
and listen to music together with
your teen. Learn their world,
but also respect their need for
privacy and time alone as they
are used to spending more time
with their friends.
Research suggests times of crisis
can have long term effects on a
child’s behavior as well as their
mental and emotional wellbeing.
However, we also know
that with the right support, hard
times can build resiliency in
young people, giving them the
ability to better handle stress
and rebound from a setback or
challenge, said Dr. Noam.
While it is completely normal
for youth to experience a
wide range of emotions
during uncertain times, severe
or prolonged feelings of
depression or sadness may be
an opportunity to provide them
with additional support.
If a young person you know is
experiencing intense worry or
sadness about current or future
events, and it is disrupting their
ability to cope with everyday life,
there is support available
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