Finding Our Way Back
(Part 11: In the Open blog series)
by Stephanie Pericich
Well, I finally did it. Double-masked and fully vaccinated, I entered a grocery store for the first time since March 2020. I was equal parts excited and nervous as I prepared to resume in-person shopping, but definitely glad to be taking this step towards normalcy.
I suspect that I’m not alone in experiencing this range of emotions. I suspect that in addition to concern over possible Covid exposure, many people are anxious about getting out and about after spending so much time at home. Although this may be a particularly challenging time for those who suffer from social anxiety, almost all of us are somewhat out of practice with face-to-face interaction.
Certainly, this is true of kids and teens as well. They faced a wide range of challenges stemming from pandemic isolation, but they face a whole different set of challenges as they increasingly return to life as “normal.”
Younger kids, unable to get vaccinated (yet), may worry about catching Covid from a camp, class, or play date. Older kids may be anxious about returning to a world where they may encounter in-person bullying or peer pressure relating to drugs, alcohol, smoking and vaping. * Meanwhile, parents of kids of all ages may be shouldering all of their kids’ apprehensions along with their own.
Whether we are risk tolerant or risk averse, whether elated or anxious about the re-opening, let’s do our best to support our kids with open lines of communication, positivity, and compassion. And while we’re at it, let’s offer support to each other as well. We all need it. *It should be noted that teens were not immune to any of these issues during lockdown, due to cyberbullying, online drug sales, drugs and alcohol in the home, etc.
Stephanie Pericich is a Parkway area wife, mother and an independent author of non-fiction and poetry. Ms. Pericich has volunteered to share her experiences and perspectives as a mother navigating the challenges of parenting for the purpose of encouraging community conversations about keeping kids safe and healthy.