The coronavirus pandemic has resulted in millions of people across the globe having to live in quarantine to prevent the spread of the pandemic.
The level of seclusion is more or less severe according to the country, but the effect in many cases remains the same: confusion, discouragement, and even fear.
The topic becomes even more delicate if there are small children present in said home, who logically want to go out to play and live with their friends. Faced with the dilemma of how to talk to the little ones at home to explain the COVID-19 crisis, without scaring them, People en Español has consulted the psychotherapist Iafi Shphirer.
"Feeling fear is healthy at times like these because it protects us from things that can be very dangerous and prepares us for the worst," says the expert of Argentine descent and resident in Tel Aviv, Israel, who has worked with children in conflict zones. like the Gaza Strip. "[You have to] be honest with them. Give them peace of mind," he says. "Join their concern and ask them, also inquire together about the feeling. Don't lie to them. Get to the point and don't invade them with too much information."
"We have to adjust to a rare, different situation, in a crisis, and suddenly our reactions are rare. Since when do we walk down the street and walk away to see if we are two meters away?" explains Shphirer, who has lived in Israel since 1978 on a kibbutz. "It's crazy, we Latinos, since when do we stop kissing, hugging and touching? But the situation demands it, so those reactions, those halfway brakes that seem to us uneducated at first, ok, that's what we must do."
The problem, he explains, is that with quarantine the family routine is broken. "We are used to work, to go out, to go in, that the children come in, go out, go to the grandparents' house, touch each other, and now we have to be careful and be very aware of everything we do," he says.
"Education experts say that you have to do a daily routine with children, and that is true, but not the same routine as before. It is a space in which we rethink what we can and want to do now, which is not the same as we did three weeks ago, "he adds.
With the quarantine and the danger of COVID-19 contagion, everything has changed. "Maybe living today three weeks ago was enjoying everything there is and today, monitoring what I can and cannot make living, the moment is to restrict outings, to control expenses, to plan only the day of tomorrow, "says the therapist.
"When I work in a war-risk area and parents come to consult how we do so that children are not afraid, the first thing I say is why don't they have to be afraid? Fear is healthy, fear protects us of things that are very dangerous, "Shphirer continues.
"Ok, talk about fear and see what the children's reflections are because they see us and act according to what we project. If we say, 'well, the situation is rare, for me it is also uncomfortable, I don't know what what will happen tomorrow, but rest easy, or we will do our best to take care of you and take care of yourself. And everything you want to know, you ask me and we will find out together. That helps the boys to know that this insecurity and uncertainty, we can driving, not to catch us, and there are going to be things that we are not going to know. And we are going to learn to live in a space that requires a lot of flexibility, "he observes.
Be careful, the expert prays that we do not lose sight of the feelings of isolation or loneliness in these moments. "Loneliness is much more murderous than the crown. In situations like this it is very easy to get into the cave. But we have to fight to maintain this unnatural sense of online, of talking on the phone, of listening."
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