MENTAL health experts have urged parents to look out for signs and symptoms of stress and distress in children during the pandemic that usually manifest themselves as aggressive behavior in Children amongst a hots of other signs.
By Patricia Mashiri
In an interview with HealthTimes, Dr Kudakwashe Muchena a leading Psychologist said The COVID-19 pandemic just like any other pandemics such as HIV/AIDS exter pressure on the mental health of children leading to lot of anxiety and panic amongst children usually when people who sit around them gets sick and eventually die.
With COVID-19 it is even more shocking if it shocks adults what about children because if you realize that people who die from COVID-19 just get ill for a vert short space of time and they are gone and usually they are not cared for like any other diseases. The chance to explain to a child what is going on is very minimum.
“Our society seems to push away children in terms of how they understand how they feel about their relationship with a person who is very ill and in that case it makes them even more difficult for them to appreciate what is going on it gives a lot of panic and anxiety,” said Dr Muchena.
He added that when a person dies, adults do not take time to explain to children what could have transpired, in the process not giving children enough room for closure and that time to say goodbyes with their loved ones.
“Its something we really need to think about and see how we can help children let them understand but our challenge is we do not have chance to explain to them in terms of what has to be done. We realize that whilst we might think that things are normal around our children at the moment, anxiety starts building up in their minds and when it starts exploding with the outward behaviour it will be more severe than what we think.”
He added that there was need to have a serious conversation with kids about the stress, anxiety and how they feel about the pandemic because most people who are passing on are the adults who are bread winners, parents, siblings and relatives to these children.
Meanwhile, Psychologist, Dr Lynn Zata said parents should be on a look out for a number of symptoms in their kids and they should pay attention to everything their kids do in the pandemic.
“Signs to look out for include changes in behaviour, pay attention to eating habits either eating less or eating more, decreased interest in previously enjoyed activities, isolation, lack of motivation and sometimes negative copying strategies such as turning to drugs and lashing out.
“Parents should be supportive during this difficult time, encourage open communication and build better relationships with your children. Remember children learn how to cope with distress from their parents. So it’s important to model the kind of behaviour you want to see in your kids,” Dr Zata said.