Can the children be more emotional because of Corona?

Mother: “Could it be that children behave more emotionally during this time of crisis? My 12 year old son burst into a huge cry when he went to bed last week. His father doesn’t live with us, my son has never seen us together, and he was suddenly so upset about it. “He should have taught me how to ride a bike,” he sobbed. Normally I don’t see any sadness about that in him. Does corona, and for example the disappointment of the group eight musical that is now cancelled, also bring up deeper pain? After a day at home playing surrogate teacher and doing my own work, I was already at the end of my rope, so I had to control myself not to cry myself. How do you deal with the invisible tension of children? How can you reassure them?”

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Need for connection

Susan Bögels: “Crises can trigger emotions from previous major events. Just like people at funerals often cry for their own loss. Crying is healthy because a stress hormone is released in tears. Good that your son can express this to you, so that he can also be heard, understood and comforted.

“In this time of social distancing we feel our need for connection and support, including a father figure. Your son’s emotions also trigger yours: adults also feel that need for connection and support right now, missing a partner or co-parent who is not physically there. I wouldn’t appease here. It is important that we as parents feel how the touch of our child affects us, and that we take time for that touch. Our need is real and may be felt. Be kind to yourself, seek comfort.

“Children can see our tears. Put words to that: ‘It touches me what you say about your father. How nice of you to share that with me! I’m very sorry for you that you missed that. Sometimes I also miss a second parent in the house. But I’m so glad I have you! And you carry your father in all your cells.’”

Take time for emotions

Marga Akkerman: “It is quite conceivable that your son would burst into tears. This fearful and insecure situation affects adults and children. Take this opportunity to reflect on what is on his mind. Does he actually miss his father more than he lets on? Does he find it difficult that he never sees his mother and father together? Maybe he’s afraid his father will get sick too? What else would he like to do with his father? The musical’s cancellation will have an effect, but less than the grief for his father.

“An emotional outburst can occur if you use your mind for a long time and don’t pay attention to emotions. The current situation of working from home and having to stick to schedules on a daily basis asks a lot of our minds. Let go of that schedule and enjoy the fact that you don’t have to grumble in the morning to be everywhere on time! Allow your son and yourself to work at your own pace, and see how far you go. Relax if you need to. Children often thrive in a schedule-less period. This gives emotions a better chance. That increases your mutual connection and that in itself is reassuring.”