School Mask Debates Impact Kids’ Mental Health, Parents Say – NBC Chicago

The school mask debate has consumed Chicago-area communities in recent weeks and it may be impacting your child’s mental health.

NBC 5 talked to parents on both sides of the mask debate who said their children have been anxious and confused by the reactions and decisions of people who may or not agree with them.

“I’m extremely surprised and disheartened that so many adults in our community have taken upon themselves to bully my children,” said Kristin Christensen of Libertyville.

Kristine Schleede of Lake Bluff said her 6-year-old son wants to follow the rules.

“Over time, kids will probably feel less anxious and feel better about the situation, but I think this is something that is going to be in their memories for life,” Schleede said.

Clinical psychologist Dr. Colleen Cicchetti of Lurie Children’s Hospital said it is beneficial to start a conversation with your children over the issue of masks.

“Start by asking your kids what they think, what they saw, what they’re feeling,” Cicchetti said. “Try to understand where they’re coming from, rather than putting our own adult lens onto the conversation.”

Cicchetti said because younger children often look to adults for the rules, it would be helpful to explain to them that “adults are trying to make the right choice.”

Licensed counselor Abby Koch of Good Therapy in Naperville said it is important to make sure the household is not hyper focused on the mask issue.

“Use this as an opportunity to open dialogue with your children about any topic,” Koch said.

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