Nurturing Security in Uncertain Times

Solidarity, from the Yale Child Study Center-Scholastic Collaborative for Child and Family Resilience, is a column for parents and children navigating life during a pandemic.

The Mama Bear instinct in me is strong; that maternal concoction of fierce protectiveness, fear and anger that has me ready to pounce on every menace to my daughter’s untarnished world view. I remember being at her preschool sing along when mobile phones vibrated with the devastating news of Sandy Hook. We, the Mama Bears, sang on the outside and wept on the inside. That children, like our own, could fall to such horror, was unbearable. I kept her, I imagined then, oblivious to the sinking sense of security around her.

In addition to protecting children from physical threats, we strive to buffer children from the psychological impacts of toxic stress. This pandemic brings both types of dangers. Abruptly leaving school, being isolated from friends and family, and for some, having parents who have lost jobs or work on the front lines of this pandemic has been very stressful. And now, the decision to return to an untested school model or continue remote learning weighs heavily on everyone’s mind.

An efficient nervous system will respond in the face of danger with its own Mama Bear instinct. The body shifts its resources away from curiosity and creativity and toward fighting against or fleeing from the enemy. Once the crisis is over, the body returns to its unstressed state.

But what happens when the threat doesn’t subside?

Please click here to read the rest of this article written by Peg Oliveira, PhD.

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