As much of America hangs in limbo about the opening of schools this fall, the WSJ’s “Notable & Quotable” offers advice from Mark McDonald, a psychiatrist who specializes in children and at-risk youth. Dr. McDonald was testifying at a June 24 hearing of the Orange County, Calif., Board of Supervisors:
Children are not dying from Covid-19. Children are not passing the disease on to adults. So the only question is, “Why are we even having this meeting tonight?” We’re meeting because we adults are afraid.
As parents, we will face many moments of anxiety: seeing our children off on their first day of kindergarten, their first day of camp, their first year of college. We may want to keep them home to protect them from the world, which can indeed be a frightening place. But let’s be clear, when we do that, we are not really protecting our children. We are only attempting to manage our own anxiety, and we do that at their expense. We are acting as negligent parents. We are harming our children. We are failing them.
We must agree to make decisions in the best interest of the children. If we do not—if, paralyzed by fear, we continue to act purely out of self-interest—we will ensure an entire generation of traumatized young adults, consigned to perpetual adolescence and residency in their parents’ garages, unable to move through life with independence, courage, and confidence. They deserve better—we owe it to them as parents.
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