The physical pain and suffering were visibly evident during the COVID-19 times right from its onset, but what became apparent only after a couple of months was the psychological damage the lockdown was causing, especially among children.
It was a never-before-encountered scenario, and it soon took a toll on the young minds. Every parent was suddenly complaining about the aggressiveness in their child’s behavior. This article will try to understand the reasons behind this aggressiveness and how to deal with it.
The causes of aggression during COVID time in children
The most enjoyable and significant part of childhood is going outdoors and meeting up with friends. Home confinement and the inability to go to school and play with their friends during COVID-19 lockdown had a traumatizing effect on the psychology of children.
Teenage is when you feel that your parents do not understand you, and friends are the primary support system. When this becomes inaccessible to children, helplessness, resentment, and anger result in aggression.
The scenario was worse for families with a single child. Studies documented children’s psychological and behavioral problems during lockdown restrictions.
Parents were coping with their own set of challenges during the COVID times, with the loss of employment, financial insecurity, fear of getting infected, and work-from-home setting; therefore, they were not the best at parenting during this time. Stress in parents had a cascading effect on children too.
The children could no longer vent out their energy by playing sports, which used to be their major stress buster. The boredom and loneliness made them more aggressive.
How to handle the situation when your child becomes aggressive during COVID times?
It is natural to lose patience and yell at your child unreasonably aggressive. Still, COVID times are not usual and routine, thus warranting a different approach.
Experts recommend trying the following tips to handle an aggressive child:
- Give your undivided attention and time and ask them why they are angry.
- Tell your child that you understand how he is feeling.
- Assure your child that this is just a temporary phase and will pass soon. He will again be able to go out and meet his friends.
- Brief him about the importance of the lockdown and how it will save him from contracting the virus.
- If your child is aggressive because you lost your cool, apologize and confide in him if you are stressed, tired, or struggling with some office issue.
- Reassure them that you will try to manage better, and it is no fault of theirs.
How to respond to an aggressive child During Covid time?
- Do not even think of physically or verbally punishing the child if they display aggressive behavior. It will only make things worse.
- Keep yourself calm and tell the child to calm down and talk; only then can the issue be solved. But ensure to let the child know that you won’t entertain the aggressive behavior. Once your child calms down, and the tantrum episode reduces, talk to them calmly and let them understand that this kind of behavior disturbs the harmony of the house and upset their mood even more.
- You can make the child understand that they are not alone, and we all are battling similar feelings.
- Allow them to connect with their friends through phone calls and video calls, which will pep up their mood. They can even play online games for a limited amount of time to reduce boredom.
- Reassure them often that things will normalize soon. Make sure to spend some exclusive time with your child, and tell them you love them more frequently.
How to manage your child in this COVID situation?
Though the lockdown was necessary to contain the virus and prevent the spread of infection, we can’t deny the massive impact it created on our children’s psyche.
Here are some tips to help you manage your child in this COVID-19 situation:
- Setting up a flexible but basic routine is essential to keep the children habitual of some discipline. Take their help in making the routine. It will up their chances of sticking to it.
- Do not let them sleep when they wish to, as it will disrupt their sleep cycle. It is a good idea not to let your children laze around in their pyjamas all day long. Dressing them up will make them feel good and energetic.
- Use positive words to get the tasks done by them. Reward more generously and praise more often now than you did previously during regular times.
- Spend some exclusive time with each child daily. Address their concerns and fears about the virus in simple language that they can understand. Reassure them that if they follow the restriction protocols, everyone in the family will be safe, and they need not worry.
- Help them with their school work, play their favorite games, make them do simple house chores in a fun manner so that you get some help, and they kill some time.
- Allow them to video call their friends, cousins, and grandparents to help them stay connected.
7 . Distraction, celebration, and being thankful that we are healthy will help them tide through these difficult times.
Parenting in modern times was never easy, and the COVID situation has made it much more complex. While we parents wish to be left in peace to handle our own set of stressors, it simply is not possible with a child who feels that their routine has toppled upside down due to the COVID-19 scenario.
It is essential to understand from the child’s point of view that lack of pleasure activities does not let them be their best self, and on top of that, they have to deal with the increased stress of being holed up in homes without access to their peers. They need our empathy and compassion the most during these trying times. Child psychologists worldwide reported a manifold increase in depression, anxiety, and aggressiveness cases among children.
It is important to stay hopeful that these effects are reversible, and we will once again see our happy-go-lucky child as this pandemic eases out.
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