As the coronavirus pandemic tightens its hold, governments have stepped up and enforced bold action in an attempt to flatten the curve and slow its progress. Spain just joined Italy in a nationwide lockdown and France has introduced sweeping restrictions.
On Friday, the United States declared a national emergency. We are currently sitting at approximately 2,952 confirmed cases.
Flights from Europe to the US have been suspended, at least 16 states have closed their schools, and people are being encouraged to work from home.
Social distancing is strongly recommended.
Which is great for us introverts but not so great for our kids. School has been canceled, our kids are bored, and they want to hang out with their friends. Especially our teenagers. Teens are social creatures.
They haven’t yet matured to the point of preferring dogs over people. Their social life supersedes all else. Including a pandemic.
But it can’t.
In a Facebook post by Katerine Pannill Center, she explains the importance of enforcing social distancing with our kids.
She starts her post by saying:
Last night, our teenage daughter wanted to go out with her friends. School’s been canceled, and the kids want to have some fun.
It was so cute that she even asked. She already knew the answer.
Sometimes parenting calls for acts of tough love. And if there was ever a time to put your foot down and practice some tough love, it’s now.
We are in the midst of a health crisis. The coronavirus is spreading exponentially. We need to make the choice to isolate ourselves as much as possible in order to have the best chance of slowing it down.
Katherine admits that saying no wasn’t easy. We want our kids to be happy. We want them to have fun. But right now, that needs to be placed on the back burner. We need to make short-term sacrifices for the greater good.
The United States has yet to feel the full ramifications of COVID-19. We are just at the beginning stage. It’s hard to imagine our hospitals filled to overflowing or being infected ourselves.
A week ago Spain was thinking the same thing. Now? They’re in a nationwide lockdown.
Experts on this thing—and we trust the experts—say this virus will infect 40 to 70 percent of the US population. Of those infected, between 1 and 4 percent will die.
The US has a population of 327 million. Let’s say a little less than half the population gets it. And let’s use a low percentage rate for deaths. Even if it’s 1 percent, that’s still 1.5 MILLION people.
We have never seen anything like this in our lifetimes.
The reality is we can’t stop the coronavirus.
Hopefully, what we can do is slow it down enough so that our healthcare system can carry the brunt of the storm. So people at risk who are infected have a fighting chance.
Our best lines of defense are washing our hands and practicing social distancing. We need to learn from history and the experiences of other countries worldwide.
Taking a proactive approach when it comes to minimizing social interaction can have a dramatic impact on the magnitude of the outbreak. It is our responsibility to do our part in mitigating the spread of the virus.
All to say: our kids are staying home with us. They can go on walks. They can play with the dog. They can gang up and beat their dad at Monopoly all day long.
But they can’t hang out with other kids. Or grownups, either.
Parenting isn’t a popularity contest. Being a responsible parent sometimes means making tough calls. Ones you know are going to garner eye rolls, stomping feet, and screams of “You’re ruining my life!” Welcome to parenthood.
Katherine ends her post with the following call-out to parents:
Keeping them home might seem mean in the short term. We’re okay with mean. If your kids say you’re mean, you can tell them we’re EVEN MEANER.
Let’s be mean parents together . . . as we all practice social distancing at home.
Social distancing isn’t just about keeping ourselves and the ones we love healthy. It’s about doing our part to keep those in our community healthy. Those among us who are elderly, immunocompromised, and have underlying health conditions need us to take this seriously.
COVID-19 is spreading like wildfire. Slowing the onslaught of the coronavirus HAS to be our top priority. Parents, when it comes to social gatherings and our kids getting together with friends, please, be the mean parent. Just say NO.