Having new lockdown measures announced just a few days before school was supposed to begin as normal was frustrating for students, parents and teachers. The difficulties that they thought they had just overcome over 2020 had somehow returned at the start of the 2021. Once again, we were back to Zoom lessons and self-teaching.
A study was carried out by The Children’s Society which looked at how well children aged between 10 and 17 were coping with the effects of the Coronavirus. Figure 1 below shows a graph that allows us to understand how much the lockdown has affected young people.
Source: The Children’s Society’s household survey, Wave 19, April-June 2020, 10 to 17 year olds, United Kingdom.
This graph shows us that young people have in fact been struggling most with the lack of a social life – not being able to see family (30%) or friends (37%).
The above graph shows the direct impacts of coronavirus. There are, however, several indirect impacts that coronavirus has come with.
We’ll take a look at some of the indirect impacts of coronavirus through the series. It is worth noting that some of these indirect impacts may be seen immediately, while others may be seen in the longer term.
Experiencing/observing difficulties in the world
Young people these days have immediate access to news, social media and everything available in the world. They can see the mounting death toll, people getting sick and may even have had close family and friends who have suffered through the pandemic. As technology has advanced, the effects that overwhelming negative news has on young people has not. The processing of large amounts of information above and beyond their own community leaves young people consumed. We cannot remove this accessibility from young people, however we can support them in managing this.
What can you do?
As young people grow from childhood to adolescence, they develop awareness both of themselves and others. As awareness grows, so must the ability to process what they have gained from being aware. This is the bridge that some often find difficult to cross – where they are exposed to and aware of external stimuli such as world issues, war and violence, family issues, hate crime, etc. As parents, guardians, and teachers we can support our young people in understanding and processing this information – both negative and positive.
We can take notice of expressions and behaviours, and identify when they began and what could have made them feel in such a way. Examples include grief of a family member, compassion for others, or even anxiety about whether life will ever go back to normal. Alongside this, parents, guardians and teachers should take care in ensuring that attention is given when they show good behaviour as well as unhelpful behaviour. Giving them the opportunity to talk about what they are thinking and feeling provides a better understanding of what the child is going through. The child may not want to talk about their feelings or thoughts, and may even be rude or lash out. This doesn’t mean they don’t need it, it means they need time and consistency. It means continued attempts are necessary to support them.
During this time, we should take extra special care of our children’s wellbeing and be considerate to their difficulties. If you or your child find yourselves struggling and unable to cope, please give us a call and we will support you.