Keeping Our Children Safe and Calm in Troubled Times

J Paediatr Child Health. 2020 May;56(5):669-671. doi: 10.1111/jpc.14892. Epub 2020 May 15.


Keeping children safe and keeping children free from worry are usually tasks that parents do without any sense of cross-purpose. In times of threat and very real danger, these two parental goals come into conflict. This article articulates the confusion of intentions amidst the pandemic. It alludes to previous crises such as happened in both World Wars to protect children including Operation Pied Piper to evacuate them from London in World War 2. The aim of this paper is to give parents and clinicians an awareness of the child's and young person's point of view, in particular, the worry of children for parents. The burden on children of fearing that they may infect parents, grandparents and loved ones generally is considerable. Parents who deny what is happening lack credibility. Parents who fail to manage their own anxieties burden their children with burdens they themselves cannot bear. Honesty about the need for safety and courage as parents to promote calm are what good parents have been doing throughout history. Telling children what they are doing that is right helps them to know what 'the right' is. The possibility is considered that we will come through the pandemic with a greater sense of what matters to our children and what should matter to us.