Difficult Conversations

GettyImages-1153592592.jpgThe Covid-19 pandemic has impacted our lives for nearly a year now. Many children and teens continue to feel anxious about the disruptions to their school and social lives that have occurred as a result. In addition to pandemic-related worries, some children may also be worrying about other current events.

I know that in my own home I’ve been asked a number of questions from my school-age daughter that point to this type of concern. Curious about this, I did a search that turned up a 2020 report from an American University study

It showed that out of a group of over 370 caregivers of children ages 6-17, over half of them reported that their child had at least one relevant worry related to a voting issue.

What can parents do to help alleviate some of this stress? One resource I recommend for all ages is the StayWell Mental Health Resources website created by the State of Michigan.

It offers a helpful tip sheet titled Helping a Child Recover from the Emotional Toll of the COVID-19 Disaster. In addition to examples of behaviors that parents may be witnessing at this time, it includes practical suggestions for ways they can help their children cope and thrive.

Other handouts covering a wide spectrum of mental health-related topics can be found in the Behavioral Health Guides section near the bottom of the page.

There’s no doubt it can be hard to find the right words and the correct approach to talking with children and teens about difficult issues.

A book called When the World Feels Like a Scary Place: Essential Conversations for Anxious Parents and Worried Kids by Abigail Gewirtz, PhD, is a useful resource for having better conversations.

It offers numerous sample conversations, including a section about Covid-19 and a chapter dedicated to talking about our divided society. It’s available as both an eBook and an audiobook.

Trumpie-CD132-0262 med.jpgCheryl Lindemann is a collection development specialist at Capital Area District Libraries, and a co-host of the Reader’s Roundtable Podcast