From the Editor — April 2020

Our parent community is worried. We at NYC-Parents in Action know that, and we share your concerns.

As our city sits at the epicenter of the COVID-19 outbreak, we, like all of you, are navigating an alien landscape of quiet, deserted city streets; closed schools; non-stop coverage of grim statistics; and a genuine, widespread threat to community health. You may be here, or sheltering far from home. In this time, we remain committed to our mission to provide information and connection, no matter the distance.

NYC-Parents in Action first came into being in response to worried parents. Forty years ago, we set out to offer information and resources to parents concerned about an increase in drug and alcohol use among their children. Every generation of parents worries about its children, but this year the level of concern is on an unfamiliar scale. In addition to normal bumps along the child-rearing road, we face a pandemic. Eager to soothe our children’s anxiety, we are also confronting our own fears. It is hard to do both. 

The good news is, the  NYC-PIA formula we rely upon – good information, parental involvement, and a network of communication – is still available digitally. Though we may not be able to meet in person for a Seminar, we can offer you carefully chosen website resources. Take a look at our LIBRARY’s new Resource Page with parenting tips tailored to the times. As the weeks go by, we will continue to vet resources from trusted experts in the fields of parenting and health, and post them for you on this new page.

For a very readable, warm and accessible conversation on handling your children’s anxiety at home, take a look at our latest Q&A Corner: Ask the Expert feature from our reporter, Lori Gaon, who chats with Dr. Rona Shalev of The Chapin School. 

Finally, take a moment to visit our COVID-19 Parenting Tips page. In one of the articles listed, you’ll hear from NYU Langone Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry’s Richard Gallagher, Ph.D., as he explains the reasons behind the stress your child may be experiencing:

“Unlike summer vacation, this break is sudden and unplanned, and the time away from school has not been specified,” says Dr. Gallagher. “This can be difficult for children to understand. In general, people don’t do well when they are unsure about the future, even in an area as simple as the schedule.” 

You’ll also find practical advice from NYU Langone’s Dr. Samantha Egger, who adds this encouraging note:

“Even young children can calmly understand illnesses. Let them know at an appropriate developmental level how COVID-19 can be passed onto others, that most people do not become very sick, and that health professionals are working hard to take care of the very ill in isolated settings.”

Use this unusual time to connect – with us, via our website; with your friends, relatives and fellow parents via Skype, Zoom, Facetime or an old-fashioned  phone call; and most importantly, with your children, for frank, yet soothing conversations. Talking with your child – a good parenting technique in any era – will go a long way to alleviating their worries, and it may even help you calm your own. 

We will weather this time apart, bound together by our shared hopes for better times to come.

Melanie Wells, Editor

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