Let’s face it. 2020 has been an extremely stressful year for all of us. Some people have lost friends and loved ones. Others have lost jobs or must learn new technologies to keep them. In addition to the pressures of daily life under COVID-19, parents of color are grappling with the added pressures of systemic racism and having to explain all of these complex topics to their children.
As an experienced child custody attorney, my utmost concern is families and children’s well-being, particularly families where parents live apart but co-parent together. So I’ve put together a list of resources to aid in supporting co-parents of color during this time.
It’s no secret that the Coronavirus disproportionately affects communities of color. African-Americans and Latinos are three times more likely to become infected than their white neighbors and are nearly twice as likely to die no matter where they live. When it comes to children, black kids are five times more likely to be hospitalized because of COVID-19, while Latino children are eight times more likely to require hospitalization.
Given these statistics, co-parents must work together to help their children understand the importance of following COVID-19 hygiene protocols. To help with this, the American Psychological Association (APA) has put together a free, downloadable book to help explain the Coronavirus to children. This downloadable guide explains what the virus is, how it spreads, and what children can do to help. It’s an invaluable resource, and parents can download it for free here.
A recent University of Oxford study found that children ages 4 to 10 are having a more challenging time coping with the Coronavirus stay-at-home orders than older children. In the study, parents reported that their children became increasingly clingy, experienced physical symptoms associated with worrying, and expressed emotional difficulties such as feeling unhappiness and worry in the initial months of the lockdown. Researchers believe that children may be exhibiting these behaviors because of loneliness, fear about COVID-19, and the loss of the routine and support that comes with school attendance.
If your child is experiencing these symptoms, there are some excellent resources to help. First, there is Covid19parenting.com, an entire website dedicated to assisting adults with parenting during the pandemic. The website includes free guides, videos, and toolkits. They even have a mobile app.
Another resource is the APA’s book called Unstuck! 10 Things to Do to Stay Safe and Sane During the Pandemic. This activity book helps tweens and teens manage their stress and anxiety through journal prompts and creative exercises. Finally, the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services has put together a page full of resources to help families locally. The page includes the number to a mental help hotline and links to other local resources.
During the pandemic, children of color have also had a front-row seat to the killings of Ahmad Arbery, Rayshard Brooks, George Floyd, Jacob Blake, and Breonna Taylor and racial unrest across the country as a result. Although the protests for justice are necessary, children of color may experience racial trauma when confronted by these images from these events.
Once again, the APA is reaching out to help parents. The organization has compiled instructional tool kits on racial stress, self-care, and talking with your children about race. You can find those toolkits here.
If you need help navigating the ins and outs of your custody arrangements while dealing with COVID-19, stay-at-home orders, and racial unrest, we can help. Contact us here to book a free strategy session today.