Too Many Parents are Taking the Blame for Their Kids' Pandemic Life

Thursday, May 06, 2021

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.

And though it’s important for parents to foster children’s healthy development, too much fretting over tiny details can make parents feel like they’re always failing. Throw in the pressures of the pandemic—financial stress, mental health concerns, and social isolation—and these feelings of guilt can be amplified.

But if living through a global crisis has taught us anything, it’s that we can’t control everything. “In any difficult situation, there are going to be lessons,” Kamia says, just as her daughters cut in on this phone interview to ask about lunch. Before the pandemic, she says she would have been overly apologetic about that kind of interruption. Not anymore. “We’ve had to give ourselves more grace,” she says.

After a year of feeling guilty, here’s how moms and dads can start forgiving themselves.

Read more at National Geographic.