York County Medicine Summer 2020 - 19

YO R K C O M E D S O C . O R G

FEATURE:

COVID-19

Has Doomed
Our Children!
OR HAS IT...?
By: Jacqueline George, LCSW, RPT-S, CAAPT-S
Licensed Clinical Social Worker
Registered Play Therapist Supervisor
Certified Animal Assisted Play Therapist Supervisor

Notes to the reader:
Rather than repeatedly writing "children and teens," for ease of reading the word "children" designates anyone
between the ages of birth to 18 years old. Likewise, the word "parent" will be used for parent / guardian / care giver.
The views of this article are solely those of the author and are based on her 30 years of experience providing therapy for
traumatized children and their families.
"What!? No school for the rest of the year!?
YIPPEE!" was the resounding cheer of children
across PA as measures were taken to ensure our
health and safety in the face of COVID-19. As the
weeks piled up, however, the sound of the children
changed...
What was the real impact of COVID-19 on
children as they lived with physical isolation?
What effects will this impact have on our children
in the future?
To explore these questions, let's start in the
homes of the children. With Stay-At-Home orders
in place, children had no choice but to be with
their family members. Many children were blessed with parents
who listened to them, discussed adult topics out of ear-shot of
the children, and spent time interacting with their children.
Many other children were not so blessed- they live in homes
of neglect, physical, emotional and/or sexual abuse-in homes
where domestic violence is the norm.
Thus, it is to be expected that some of the impact of
COVID-19 on children was highly influenced by the parents of
those children. When parents remain calm and work to destress, their children are more likely to be calm and also engage
in stress-reducing activities. When parents are stressed out and
talk about their worries and fears in front of their children, it is

to be expected that the children are also going to
be stressed out and worried. Furthermore, children
who had parents working in "life sustaining" jobs,
such as the medical field, may have had the added
stress of worrying about their parents' health and
safety. "If my parents die, what will happen to me?"
is a natural concern.
The effects of long-term stress have been widely
documented and the list includes anxiety, depression,
weight gain, health issues and even acne. People
aren't designed for long-term stress, so when children
have adults who model ways to improve their ability
to deal with stress, those children may be able to
move forward through life with greater health than
their counterparts who did not experience Stay-At-Home with a
well-functioning adult.
However, parents don't carry the full load for the impact of
COVID-19 on children. Ironically, children (many of whom had
previously been begging for more electronic time) were finding
themselves inundated with electronics as school was online,
talking with friends was through Facetime, church groups met
online, etc. Children were actually reporting they were tired of
only seeing their friends through electronics and they wanted to
be with their friends.

continued on next page >

SUMMER 2020 | York County Medicine

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York County Medicine Summer 2020

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