It is the order of things: Children look to their parents for everything. When we were young, we did the same with our parents. In the eyes of a child, the parent is right in all things; they can do no wrong.
As children navigate the continuing residual effects of the COVID pandemic, more than ever parents need to provide guidance, security, serenity and safety to their children. So it is surprising that many parents remain in denial of the proven scientific health benefits of wearing masks during the lingering vestiges of this pandemic
Is this happening because of the confusing, convoluted messaging about the pandemic and/or the best ways to combat it? Is this happening because parents are tired of following measures that are uncomfortable and annoying? Is it happening because parents don’t like to be told what to do? Is this happening because the parents hold some political viewpoint counter to science? Whatever the reason, it is showing up in vitriolic ways…and the children are watching. Parents are yelling at professionals and treating others in ways that defy logic and appropriate behaviors. Is this what we want our children to learn? Is this what is in the best interest of our children?
You do not need to look far to find numerous articles addressing the anxiety and stress that children are under because of this pandemic. Children have borne the brunt of a new way of education and new way of daily life that they are learning on the fly how to navigate. This would mean that the parents are the ones who need to recognize their anxiety and act like a parent; talk with them calmly, hug them, listen to them, sooth them.
As parents it is our job to give our children the tools to use in the various situations they encounter. But it is also our job to keep them safe; maybe that means wearing a mask or getting a vaccination. It is our job to be calm when we don’t agree with the way something must be done. It is our job to be the example we want our children to become. Sometimes, it is our job to keep our feelings to ourselves and away from our children when we disagree with other adults. Think about what anger sounds like to a child. Think about how unnerving that can be to them on top of how they are trying to cope with the new pandemic world.
Parents need to be the superhero to their children. They should not pile on more of what the children can’t handle.
So maybe it isn’t what we want when the mask mandates are issued. Of course we don’t want that; nobody does. But it does keep our children safe and that is our job as parents.