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COVID-19 causing negative behavior in children

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CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) – COVID-19 is not only taking a toll on adults, but it’s having a bigger impact on children.

Parents say they are seeing a negative change in behavior and doctors are seeing an increase in the number of patients.

With the virus shutting down lots of activities, experts say many children have reached their breaking points after being cooped up in the house for long periods of time.

“It’s certainly caused them to act out more and be more defiant otherwise than they would have normally been,” Dr. Hillary Porter, child psychiatrist said.

Porter says the defiant behavior includes children fighting and arguing with their parents and siblings. Some children are also showing increased anxiety levels and depression. 

“Honestly just depends on the day, like right now it’s raining, kids won’t do as well. if it’s not raining and kids can at least get outside and go jump on the trampoline or go swimming, the day will be a little bit better,” Porter said.

To give parents and children some relief, congressional Democrats are ready to spend billions of dollars to support childcare.

The House debated two bills on Wednesday. The first gives billions of dollars to childcare providers to keep their doors open and the second allows parents to take advantage of tax credits to offset the cost of childcare.

“My hope is this would be folded into a COVID-19 relief recovery bill,” Rep. Brad Schneider said.

If childcare centers stay open, this will put children back on a routine, which Porter says is important. 

“The structure and the predictability of a good routine are actually very reassuring, they know what’s going to happen, they kind of don’t have to worry about what’s coming up,” Porter said.  

Dr. Porter believes parents should limit how much kids see on the news and take the time to really listen to their children which will help calm their nerves.

“If there’s the possibility of letting kids have somewhat of a choice in things, or the sense of letting them have a little of control and that sometimes helps decrease anxiety,” Porter said.

Porter says as much as parents try to focus on kids, they also need to take some time for themselves to relax and recharge.

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