A year spent stuck at home has left people of all ages feeling helpless. The Covid-19 pandemic has processed in the past year with no sign of a reprieve coming any time soon. Adults and children alike are left in a constant state of isolation and loneliness.
The feeling of being stuck in a void has become a result of social distancing during the pandemic.
Children Are Now Hitting The ‘Pandemic Wall’
Children such as 11-year-old London Loree have expressed their frustration about the situation. She stated that she has had enough of Zoom classes with all its network problems and technology-related issues
She has had enough of social distancing. The situation has led her to lose interest in school. Going to school was something she used to love but it is now just something she has to do. She states that she feels tired, stressed, and lazy.
Loree is not the only one facing this problem. Children across the world have found it difficult to adjust to this new routine. Many looked forward to an improvement in their situation with the end of the pandemic. With a year past, there seems to be no change in sight, leading to severe disappointment for many.
Mothers seem to be worried about this very thing for their children. Leslie Forde, the founder of Mom’s Hierarchy of Needs that looks for ways parents can reduce a child’s stress has found that the constant change we have had to adapt to has gotten to be too much.
Psychologists call this phenomenon cognitive overload. According to the associate professor of clinical psychology in psychiatry at the University of Illinois, Jameel K. Abdul-Adil how children process and work through disappointment is very different from that of adults.
Abdul- Adil, who is also co-director of the Urban Youth Trauma Centre explains that younger children especially, do not know how to label and process the way they feel. He explains that restrictions enforced during the pandemic are difficult for children to understand.
This theory seems to resonate with many parents. London Loree’s mother, Lydia Elle says that it makes sense as this is exactly what her daughter seems to be going through. Other parents have reported similar scenarios. Thato Mwosa, a mother of three in Massachusetts worried about her middle son who seems to be overwhelmed by the current situation.
Jennifer Kelman, a clinical social worker, and family therapist explain that the pandemic wall theory is a manifestation of children’s grief. She further went on to explain that according to the five stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance; children seem to be stuck in the anger and depression stages.
According to her, children’s sense of time is vastly different from that of adults. They operate on a routine based solely on a series of events such as their friend’s birthday party, swim practice, a dance recital, etc.
For younger children such as Nolan Adams, their grief has manifested in the form of tantrums. With tighter schedules and busier days, his parents are unable to provide round-the-clock care and he has had to spend time in child care until then.
For older children as well, there seems to be a change in attitude. An English teacher in California’s Cardinal Newman High School, Heather Wilson reported that her senior students seemed to be losing interest in the curriculum and their work.
Adults can help children to overcome this by giving the children a chance to talk about how they are feeling. Kelman suggests that parents should share their own disappointment to try and encourage children to open up about what’s upsetting them. Helping to acknowledge how the situation makes children feel can help children immensely.