Virus anxiety could be harming children | Letter

Therapist Linda Keen is concerned about the effect of the coronavirus pandemic on the development of young children

Current measures to protect our children from the pandemic, particularly the under-sevens, may have serious unanticipated psychological consequences. Sociologist Morris Massey, referring to what he calls “the imprint period”, points out that, up to this age, everything they see and hear, especially if it emanates from parental or authoritative figures, is accepted as absolute truth.

Learning is accelerated not only by repetition, but, almost immediately by fear and emotion. Many are still being told repeatedly by frightened parents that they cannot go to school because they might catch a nasty illness, that they should stay at home as much as possible, must not touch other people, and that they must wash their hands often and thoroughly, all to save them from an invisible enemy powerful enough to change their world. Their resultant anxiety is compounded by news broadcasts and social media etc, drawing their attention to the nightmare that is Covid-19.

We may be damaging our children by embedding fear and tension. Do we have the risk-benefit ratio right?
Linda Keen
Registered psychotherapist and counsellor, Hove

Letters

The GuardianTramp

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