It’s hard to comfort anyone, especially children who’s going through this traumatic time. When you’re a highly sensitive person your emotions and thoughts are intensified. This is why it’s important to try to decrease the uncertainty that you and your children have. Don’t underestimate the anxiety that older children have about the level of uncertainty we have. Here’s some information from Dr. Rebecca Dougherty- Froelke, a therapist from Oakville, Missouri who treats people who have anxiety.
Dr. Dougherty- Froelke thoughts include:
- You, like your children have a right to feel scared given all of this information, both fact and fiction, that is pushed through various platforms about coronavirus.
- Your children will learn how to cope from you. They will look to you to understand and help them manage their fears. It’s your responsibility to help them better understand the information.
- Children’s level of understanding is based on their age, past experience with fear and current life challenges.
- When your child feels able to express big emotions, like fear, a greater depth of trust is established. Depending on the age, their fears and/or questions might seem silly. The proper response might be: Wow, that sounds scary for you, or I’m sorry to hear you have been worrying so much about this.
- Statements such as “Don’t worry,” or “I’ll do the worrying for you,” might cause children to feel as if their worry is not important to you. This is a great opportunity to talk about this virus and help them with an appropriate narrative.
- Ask questions about what the child might have heard or read about this virus.
- If you, as a parent are not worried , it’s fine to state it in that way. It’s also fine for the child to be worried, and tell the parents about their concerns so they can talk to them about them. Use this opportunity to teach them about prevention and planning.
This is great information from Dr. Dougherty-Froelke to help us, as adults, deal with our own fears. We can question ourselves and talk with others to alleviate our own fears.
Here are some other thoughts:
- Don’t talk to your children when you feel panicked. They can definitely pick up on your fear.
- Many parents are planners. It’s understandable to feel some anxiety. That’s why we’re going crazy about potential shortages. We become hyperfocused on things that we can do. After acknowledging the legitimacy of these concerns, keep a proper perspective of this situation and instill it in your children.
- Keep reinforcing the message that a canceled event is a small price to pay for keeping others safe.
What have you told your children about the coronavirus? I’m interested in any thoughts or comments that you have.
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