The psychiatrist gives advice
This is how families experience the Corona winter better
Germany is facing the second winter in the Corona pandemic. There is already a closure in some places, in others it is imminent. Psychologist Annette Cruz explains in strictInterview how families can best overcome this stressful situation.
The CoronaThe infection rate in Germany has risen to unexpected levels, and some regions are already closed again. The second Corona winter portends that it will be the next endurance test for families. How parents, children, and teens deal with it depends not only on how healthy the family is.
Mrs. Cross, you qualify childrenA psychotherapist for adolescents. How stressed are children and young people due to the Corona pandemic?
This is a very broad scope. Some go well, others are very exhausted in the efforts to adapt. In children and adolescents, this is demonstrated by depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, anxiety and eating disorders. What can also be affected is the development of autonomy, that is, the process of separation from parents.
Statistics also show that domestic violence is increasing and that there are more cases of obesity among children and adolescents.
Where Omikron appeared everywhere
What role do friends play in this situation?
The less contact children and young people have with friends, the more they suffer from isolation. This is a particular problem with preschool and primary school age children, because their friendships are mostly made through a daycare institution or school. Young people often have friends through common hobbies and can maintain contacts more independently with the help of the media. Youngsters especially need the support of their parents so that contact with friends and grandparents, for example, is not lost. Siblings can at least make up for a bit of the lack of connection with friends.
What else is important so that families can survive lockdown as much as possible?
Living condition, for example. Is there enough living space or garden? Does the family have a pet? Of course, not every family should have an animal now, but if they already have a pet, it may help. But the family climate as a whole matters, too: Is one parent sick or worried about their job? Do parents have a lot of disagreements? It’s also bad when parents are so afraid of Corona. I have seen children and young people who are no longer allowed to meet anyone. Or they were asked not to touch anything and to constantly disinfect their hands. This runs the risk that children will deal with their parents’ fears and develop behavioral problems. It is and remains a challenge for parents to find a balance between physical and psychological well-being.
What is your advice to families in booking?
I always recommend maintaining a daily structure. Some children and teens stay awake for a long time and then sleep for a similar length of time. A turbulent rhythm often begins day and night. It is also good to have specific time slots to complete school assignments, but then there is also free time. Young people in particular with high self-demands and perfectionist tendencies find it difficult to draw the line between school and free time. If, say, a teacher sends email assignments at 10 p.m., they’ll sit down and answer them.
Good self-care is especially important in difficult times. Everyone should do something good for themselves, perhaps you will discover a new hobby for yourself. Comes to me a girl who loves to play with Playmobil. In shutdown, I then started making stop motion animations with the characters out of nothing but pictures and sending them to a friend. Then she returned some of it, and the two stayed in touch. An interesting project or topic and an occupation that helps in any case. Messing with something, make music, bake, set a new jump rope record, or teach your dog new tricks. However, parents should also give space to children. You are also responsible for yourself. Everyone should go their own way and do something for themselves.
How do you talk to children about the Corona pandemic?
Parents should take their children’s fears and ideas seriously. It is important to find a balance: you should not ignore something and do not perceive the situation as more catastrophic than it is. One must maintain one’s optimism. Above all: limit the flow of information and deliberately discuss neutral or positive topics with children from time to time.