A safe haven

Publish date 09-01-2021

by Gabriella Delpero

The legacy of the lockdown on teens and children.


Now you just need trust. School has restarted, but not all the students have returned to the desks. In fact, there are not a few children - and above all the children of the lower and upper secondary schools - who stayed at home: some attended the first days and then quickly returned home, others never showed up for the roll call. , not even on the first day. Many say they prefer distance learning and therefore ask to start over with online lessons, others simply confess to "not feeling it" to face a new school year, still others accuse symptoms and illnesses of various kinds, from insomnia to crisis of ' anxiety, from nausea to tachycardia, from headache to stomach ache, and unable to leave the house. No wonder: the pandemic, the lockdown and everything that followed have left a deep mark on us all, and not just in terms of an unprecedented economic crisis and recession.

The so-called "corona class" (the "corona generation", that is, the boys who are now leaving school and university), faces a closed world of work, without outlets and therefore finds itself devoid of future and hope . But even those who still have to attend school for a few years are in serious trouble. In fact, our children really have a lot to metabolize: the abrupt interruption of normal activities, the sudden separation from their peers, the upheaval of the ordinary daily household, the still partial ability to understand what a virus is and how it works, fear illness and death, the imposition of unusual rules and behaviors, not to mention the possible mourning for the disappearance of a family member or friend.

A series of traumatic events, close in time, unexpected and inevitable, fell upon them all (and all of us) as a summer hail does on the fields and vineyards: the marks left on the ground can be devastating and have consequences that can be prolong in the following months, compromising future harvests.

And so the questions, doubts, fears of parents about behaviors never had before by their children are chasing each other in the doctors and psychologists' clinics. Davide, 14 months old, has been attending the nursery since the age of 5 and has always been a quiet child; the mother tells of inconsolable crying fits, seems "hysterical", has eating difficulties and sleep disturbances never had before. Martina, 3, has started peeing on her again. Elena, 8 years old, asks repeated questions about death, she is afraid of the dark and needs to go back to sleep in the bed. Francesco, 7, is afraid of the mere idea of ​​his parents leaving the house. Andrea, just turned 6, fears that the ex-classmates from kindergarten, whom he no longer sees in his new first grade class, have died from the coronavirus. Francesca, 12, is apathetic, always tired, she has frequent headaches and no intention of meeting with her old friends.

And Antonio, who is 14 years old and should have started the first year of high school (a technical institute long ago chosen for his very specific passion), has not really turned up at school for the moment and the parents confess that they feel completely powerless in the face of his desperate passivity. The life of all human beings is a continuous search for points of support, security, stable relationships, clear indications. We need (and nostalgia) for a safe haven in which to find shelter. We need each other. It is urgent to give the younger generations all the trust and hope we are capable of.


Gabriella Delpero

NP November 2020

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