LOCKDOWN!: The Children Are Watching

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COVID-19 has resulted in pending physical lockdown, better known as social distancing.  As a public health response, we are all being asked to stay away from one another in groups so we may level off the potential deadly health threat to our communities.  Few are immune from this condition, and we do not know how many are infected and what treatment will work.  Schools, universities, workplaces, and government, are shut down. The economic markets are in a downward free fall.  What is the insidious, subtle impact on our children? How do they experience a sense of personal confidence in the midst of widespread fear, panic and anxiety?

Since I was a child myself, I have watched other children, just like me, watch closely the adults in their lives.  I noticed that what was spoken was less important, than what we felt or hoped for.  Am I in trouble?  Am I bad?  Does she love me?  Will he spend time with me?  Are they going to be kind?  What are we going to do together to have fun?  Is it my fault? 

As I grew into a professional career serving children and youth, I learned about attachment and  developmental demands: the child’s need for safety and stability, for physical and emotional affection, for consistency and socialization, all to be provided by caring, unconditionally loving parents or caregivers.  Theories promoted a belief that when sufficient, these considerations ensure that children acquire a confident self-concept, and self-assurance, reflecting trust in their own abilities, qualities, and decision-making.

As an adolescent specialist, I discovered that during this transitional period, puberty provokes additional youthful questions, Who am I? What do I believe in? What will I become? The role of the adult shifts to being a dramatic example for how the parent appropriately meets their own needs.  The youth watches closely and evaluates.

The pandemic represents an extraordinary opportunity to resist allowing fear to rule and dominate our lives, while reminding our children of other storms that have passed.  This is a time to meditate, pray, sing, or find some other positive way to cope with crisis.  This is a singular occasion for being still, seeking peace, expressing hope, and emphasizing a shared sense of family as well as local, national, and international community.  As adults balance their urgent, and practical responsibilities to address an overwhelming assault on normalcy and wellbeing with compassion, self-discipline, and gratitude, we must continue to model self- confidence.  During this stunning period of uncertainty and risk, indeed a national emergency, we must be mindful of who is watching us, and how confident are the children feeling about getting through an essential lockdown.

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Author

Name: Dr. Sheryl Brissett Chapman

About: Dr. Sheryl Brissett Chapman, Executive Director, is a passionate, internationally recognized and award-winning advocate for children, youth, and their families, who struggle with extreme poverty, abuse and neglect, domestic violence, and disabilities and related trauma. An author and expert in child and family welfare, she believes in the sheer power of “community” as it reinforces unimaginable resilience when it provides the basic support to those in its midst who have need. Dr. Chapman envisions a healthy, happy childhood for each and every child, regardless of the circumstances of their birth or the socio-economic status of their family.

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Founded in 1915 as an orphanage in the District of Columbia, NCCF is a private, nonprofit child and family welfare agency with a commitment to serving poor, disadvantaged, abused, neglected and/or abandoned children, youth, and their families.

Current program services include emergency shelters and transitional housing for homeless families, a high-intensity therapeutic group home, therapeutic and traditional foster care and adoption, independent living for youth transitioning to adulthood, teen parent services, and community-based prevention services that promote academic achievement, parental involvement, economic and vocational stability, and healthy families. Our programs have become social service models, redefining both NCCF’s reputation and the agency’s position in the human service continuum in the Washington Metropolitan Region.

blog-sidebar-aboutUs-logo

Founded in 1915 as an orphanage in the District of Columbia, NCCF is a private, nonprofit child and family welfare agency with a commitment to serving poor, disadvantaged, abused, neglected and/or abandoned children, youth, and their families.

Current program services include emergency shelters and transitional housing for homeless families, a high-intensity therapeutic group home, therapeutic and traditional foster care and adoption, independent living for youth transitioning to adulthood, teen parent services, and community-based prevention services that promote academic achievement, parental involvement, economic and vocational stability, and healthy families. Our programs have become social service models, redefining both NCCF’s reputation and the agency’s position in the human service continuum in the Washington Metropolitan Region.

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