ARE THE KIDS ALRIGHT? YOUTH AND THE COVID PANDEMIC
• November 2020 •
Adults have this pandemic thing down. Personal protection equipment for the family, check. Zooming for school and work, check. And social distancing is our new normal. But what about the kids?
While young people are less at-risk than older people for severe physical health symptoms linked to COVID, they have experienced serious disruption in education and employment. Many young people are experiencing specific hardship due to:
- social isolation
- overexposure to family members who may be unsupportive or even abusive
- lack of athletics and other healthy social outlets
- broken ties to school and community supports and
- severe restrictions on the much-needed freedom to express independence and take healthy risks.
Anxiety and isolation have increased substance use among adults during the pandemic, and youth are also affected. Addictive substances can be more accessible to youth in some homes, and parental rules around substance use within the home can become relaxed. Intersecting factors, such as sex, gender/gender-identity, race, ethnicity, and intellectual or physical disability, as well as socio-economic disadvantage can exacerbate the vulnerability of young people. This is especially true for youth who are homeless, unemployed, low-income, and those affected by racial and social injustice.
We turned to Rachel Price, Youth Counselor at L.A. CADA, for her perspective: “The kids we’re serving at L.A. CADA are suffering anxiety and fear from parental concerns for meeting food and housing costs. At first, they were overjoyed to be out of school, but now they’re feeling alone and anxious”. Here are some tips from L.A. CADA’s Youth Department for helping young people weather the pandemic:
- Be the family model for calmness; watch your own stress levels
- Focus on what’s working: instead of looking at your child’s worrisome behavior, pay attention to what’s going right and reinforce it
- Create soothing spaces at home such as a makeshift fort with pillows and blankets
- Help kids connect to their friends and hobbies
Let’s work to enjoy this quality time with our youth while we still have it.
Find out more to: help kids during the pandemic