Resilience for pandemials: a guide for raising children in times of Covid-19

The Alpha generation, the children born after 2010, after the centennials, are now called in many places as the pandemials. They are our children, the little ones who have had to explain the world to themselves with Covid-19, the ones who had to adapt to isolation, closed parks, and online classes.

Undoubtedly, children are the most affected in this environment and are the ones to receive the least attention; that is why the existence of books such as Resiliencia para pandemials (Resilience for pandemials), by Alejandra Crail, an investigation with data, specific cases, and multidisciplinary analysis that is at the same time a guide for parents is of great help because we still don’t know the impact that the pandemic will have on our children.

Resilience for pandemials

We talked with Alejandra Crail about her book and the need to foster in our children the ability to transcend any circumstance. That is resilience.

Baby Creysi (BC): After more than a year of the pandemic, what have we learned from it?

Alejandra Crail (AC): The learning is not over yet, but one of the most important things is that thanks to the pandemic we were able to establish our priorities.

We are discovering that things that we used to consider important, actually they are not. The lockdown allowed us to reconnect with people. In the case of caregivers who have girls and boys around, connect with their little ones. The daily dynamics prevented a close contact, sometimes there was left just the blood bond. The confinement came to give us perspective of how important it is to be together, to live together, and to give quality time.

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The adult-centered view

BC: Children are the most forgotten within the pandemic, why is it so hard for us to turn around and notice them?

AC: We have been raised with an adult-centered vision. Turn to see yourself when you were a child, adults were always right and there were very few occasions when they listened to us.

Things have not changed and we can also notice it in government decisions, the government manages the public administration towards children. As members of an entire system we share the adult-centered vision, we belie

ve that adults are the beholders of reason and we tend to think that those tiny voices that are developing do not contribute much. The truth is that children are citizens today though it is hard for us to recognize it.

The pandemic represented an opportunity in that sense. After sharing a room 24 x 7, we force ourselves to turn to see their needs. We were able to listen to what worries our children, find out what makes them happy, what they dislike, what they fear.

Alejandra Crail is an investigative journalist, writer and photographer, specialist in human rights, children and gender. Photo: Alejandra Crail
Alejandra Crail is an investigative journalist, writer and photographer, specialist in human rights, children and gender. Photo: Alejandra Crail

Child abuse: the open secret that nobody wants to see

BC: During the pandemic, child abuse intensified. Are children especially vulnerable in Mexico?

AC: Abuse is a global phenomenon that stems from the adult-centric view that children are our property. However, in Mexico, due to our characteristics as a society, of course we are more prone to child abuse than some other more developed countries because here we have a lot of machismo and misogyny.

The patriarchal vision is very strong in the family, and the pandemic strengthened a problem that we have been dragging for a long time. A couple of years ago I published an investigation on child abuse; in it, we talked about the last point in the chain of violence experienced by girls and boys in Mexico.

The data, very conservative because there is not enough information, told us that every two days a child under the age of 15 is murdered by a family member, in his home, directly from abuse.

During the pandemic the figures increased because we spend much more time at home. In addition, the loss of employment, the economic problems and all the effects that the pandemic brought along increased the risk that adults would be violent with younger children because they are the last in the chain of vulnerability.

This is an opportunity to make visible something that has always been there. Today it is harsher, but it was an open secret that nobody wanted to talk about or notice.

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A resilience guide for pandemials

BC: Your book is a guide for caregivers. What are the 5 keys for our children to develop resilience?

AC: First I would tell you that self-care is the foundation. If we as women, or for fathers too, it applies to all caregivers, but if we do not take care of our bodies, our minds, our health, it becomes like a barrier that does not let us be guides for our children.

The second is to recognize the voice that our girls and boys have. Listen to them and generate links from the dialogue. Validate their contributions, do not deceive them, and share with them what is happening, including our own fears to develop real confidence.

The third thing, after the imbalance and the transfer of school education to homes, try to create a routine.

Routines allow children to know their limits and responsibilities. These are based on their development within society. Fourth, I want to remind caregivers that the only job children have is to play.

Even in the midst of a pandemic, of confinement, it is important that they play. If the parents played with them, it would be better, but the game is part of their development, it is how they explain the world.

Finally, the issue of mourning is fundamental. We must respect the processes involved in mourning and accept them as adults. It’s important because it allows us to get back on track after a loss, not just the death of a loved one, but any loss.”

The ravages of the pandemic on our children

BC: What will be the impact of the pandemic on our children? Looking into the future, what will children growing up in a world with Covid-19 be like?

AC: It is complicated because we are not very clear about what is happening to us now, but definitely in 10 and 15 years we will be seeing what we are planting. We call pandemials the generations that are in the process of formation because they are absorbing all the information in the world as it is, and obviously this is going to have an impact on their lives, on their morals, on their ethics, on how they relate to other people.

One of the main characteristics is going to be this hyper-connectivity that we are experiencing. The fact of using technology all the time. Girls and boys are learning that this is the way the world is, when in reality we, pre-pandemic, know that it was not like this before.

The ways in which we relate to each other and their mental health are going to change a lot.

We are going to have girls and boys who are going to grow up with issues of anxiety and depression.

That is why it is very important to take care of them now because those little seeds that are planted in these matters can develop big problems. Now it is so early that it is not noticeable, but they will suffer in adulthood. It is important to give them tools starting today.

Resiliencia para pandemials (Resilience for Pandemials) is available in bookstores

Resiliencia para pandemials

Author: Alejandra Crail Editorial Grijalbo / Penguin Random House Review: Suddenly, covid-19 caused millions of pandemials be face to face with grief, illness, parental unemployment, distance learning, family abuse, isolation and uncertainty.

The pandemic put them, all of a sudden, in a situation that no one had prepared them for… and no mom, dad, teacher or guardian was ready either. This book seeks to solve that problem.

Summoned by the journalist Alejandra Crail, the leading experts on childhood and adolescence unfold a great deck of emotional and therapeutic options so children can overcome this crisis and, in the end, turn it into growth and well-being. You can also download it digitally on: I like reading

Resiliencia para pandemials (Resilience for Pandemials) Upbringing and accompaniment in times of Covid-19, by Alejandra Crail. Photo: Penguin Random House

Translated by: Liga M. Oliver Manrique de Lara

Spanish version

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