Mom to Mom

controlling anxiety

By Amelia Gracia

     The COVID-19 pandemic has brought anxiety and uncertainty to all of us, including children and adolescents. As mothers, we need to talk to our children about this topic. But how do you approach these conversations so that they can understand the reality? If we live anxiously, we spread that anxiety to others, especially children. So the question is, how can you stay calm? Let us hold on to this reminder: “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand” (Isaiah 41:10). 

     Unquestionably, to control our anxiety and not transmit it to others, the first thing is to trust God. We can take certain steps at home to help us, and them, overcome fear:

• The first step is to interact with our children to achieve emotional stability. Let’s start teaching them how to avoid infections without creating panic, convincing them that they can have an important part in overcoming this health crisis.

• We must familiarize ourselves with the personal protection rules and teach them to our children, including hand washing, surface cleaning, the use of disinfectants, and social distancing. It is also important to know when someone needs to be isolated and what supplies we should have at home if quarantined.

• We must try to obtain the most credible information about the virus, avoiding the endless waves of opinions from social media that can be full of errors. 

• If our children ask us whether we are worried, we should share how we feel. We can tell them that we have to be concerned about the virus, but above all, we must know that God is in control of everything happening. We can trust him and still take steps to prevent the spread of the virus and take care of ourselves.

• Children are easily affected by the parents’ emotions, so we must seek to remain calm when they are around us. Let’s be especially careful with the programs and news we watch when they are around us. It is best we turn off television, computer and radio to avoid them seeing or hearing information that can frighten them. Also, let's be careful when talking with other adults or older siblings about the situation if the younger ones are nearby.

• Older children can understand more about the coronavirus. We can talk to them in more detail about how to avoid infections and their spread, as well as the need for quarantine at home. Again, let's avoid letting them spend a lot of time with television or computers, because they may not understand everything they hear or see on the screens.

• Regarding teenagers and young adults, they have probably heard a lot about this virus and we can talk openly with them about it. It is good to ask them about what they know and tell them about the possible impact the disease can have on our lives, while assuring them of God’s goodness and wisdom. On the other hand, they can help us entertain the little ones, prepare meals and help with other household chores. This can help them feel valued, which can help decrease anxiety.

• In addition, we must take care of the physical health of the family through rest and exercise. In addition, let's find alternative ways to entertain ourselves, such as meditating, praying, listening to music or watching television programs that are appropriate for the age of everyone who lives at home.

     No one but God knows at this time how serious the impact of COVID-19 might be. Living with uncertainty is not easy. However, we can help each other be more able to resist adversity and be more emotionally stable. We can protect ourselves physically and emotionally as much as possible through carefully planned guidelines for the involvement of our children in this crisis. So let us hand our worries and anguishes to our Lord and guide our children well in this time of trial. Let’s take advantage of this time to pray and read our Bibles with them so they can experience God’s calming care as we lean on the Word of God:

Psalms 22:19: “But you, Jehovah, do not go away; my strength, hurry to help me.”

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