In these continued uncertain times, the threat of the Coronavirus can trigger stress and fear in any of us. Fear is a natural human response to anything in our environment which may threaten us. Adults and younger people may be able to identify and name their experience of stress or fear with more certainty than a child, as we may know what the feeling of fear feels like. It is also possible that a child can name their feeling with certainty just as it is possible that adults and young adults might not be able too. There are no hard and fast 'rules' around this and no right or wrong way of being. If you are worried or concerned that your child/young person, or one you care for, is afraid or stressed at this time it may be helpful to get to know what they do or don't know about their feelings in response to Covid-19 and isolation.
Sometimes experiencing fear or stress may manifest in behaviours which can be our brain's way of trying to help us manage the feeling, or give a clue as to what we may be feeling. For example, if someone experiences fear or stress, they may begin to touch objects repetitively or may pull at their hair, to name two. Different behaviours may be seen in adults or children, which may cause worry for loved ones or may be a worry if we experience them ourselves. If you are experiencing behaviours in your child or yourself due to Covid-19, which are worrying or concerning you, you can contact your GP, a relevant health professional or counsellor to find out more about what you can do, what it may mean and to seek support.
Alongside reaching out for support and advice from relevant professionals, it can be helpful to have an age appropriate conversation with your child or young person to gently explore what they may be thinking and/or feeling. It can be a confusing and fearful time so paying careful attention to what they say, think and feel can be helpful in supporting them to manage their experience. If appropriate the use of feeling cards or games might be supportive, you could make your own or look online for ideas and products already available to buy. Get to know your child's thoughts and feelings in different situations, as what they may be feeling might be different to what you think they are.
Information and resources which can give you ideas/support around what may be helpful for you and your family and your individual needs/experiences, can be sought in a number of different ways. Reaching out to relevant professionals is an option, perhaps your child's school has support or guidance or contacting charities such as Young Minds (www.youngminds.org.uk) can give you guidance. This can help parents/caregivers in gaining an understanding and insight into what may be happening for your child; this can help support you with any worry or concern you have whilst giving you resources and tools to go forward with. It can be upsetting and scary to see someone we love experience behaviours which confuse or worry us. Equipping yourself with knowledge, insight and tools from appropriate sources can help support you to support your child. You're not alone in this; don't be afraid by yourself for yourself or someone you love. Please know that support is there in many forms if you need it, for you and your family.