Heather Kamia’s nine-year-old daughter was recently begging to meet up in person with particular friend. The mom had to remind her why this wasn’t possible for several reasons, including the fact that her little sister is immunocompromised. Her daughter’s response: “You don’t know what it’s like to be a kid in a pandemic.”
Like Kamia—program director of Metro Youth and Family Services at the Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota—just about every parent in the country has been confronted with these kinds of guilt-inducing situations for over a year.
“Children need school and friends. When kids’ needs aren’t being met, parents feel guilty—even when it’s not their fault,” says Jessie Borelli, a clinical psychologist at the University of California, Irvine. “And the reality is that many of our kids’ psychological needs aren’t being met right now.”