FUlly’s vaccinated adults celebrate his new freedom and taking off their face masks. However, for parents of children under 12, the joy may not last long.
Because children of this age do not yet have access to vaccines, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says it’s best that they’re masked when they’re in public and around people they don’t live with.
Now what? Do “good parents” keep their children’s face shield on playgrounds, barbecues, and play appointments, teaching above all about health and safety? Or “let the kids be kids” and tell their child it’s okay to take off the mask? What if a child’s circle includes non-vaccinated people at high risk for serious illness? As summer approaches, parents of young people have to face these issues head-on.
Like a moral and bioethical philosopher, I analyze ethical dilemmas and lately I have thought a lot about it ethical dilemmas posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. I have also written about a little-known field, ethics and the family, which asks what parents owe their children, what children owe to their parents, and what the spouses owe each other. There are some tools in my ethics toolkit that can help me with the mask issue.
Protect security at all costs
There is an ethical view that holds that people are not only forced to do more for their families, but also special moral duty to do more. This special duty arises by virtue of the relationships of love and affection in which families ideally find themselves.
In some accounts, a special duty may even require doing “everything possible”To protect a loved one. Reasoning along these lines, it could be argued that parents have a duty to establish the law when it comes to masking.
However, a potential problem in this line of thinking is that it disagrees with other decisions people make for their children, such as regularly letting children do risky things like climbing trees or skiing down slopes. What’s more, keeping kids safe is tricky. Presumably, it includes protect the mental health of children and social development. A masked summer could frustrate these efforts.
Let the kids be kids
A different way of thinking is that unmasking is justified by letting children be children. The Swiss enlightened philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau could have supported this view. He stated that childhood is valuable in itself and that the best way to raise children is to let them develop naturally.
Too often, parents bring up their own children. “bias in the vital stage“, Which occurs when ethical concerns, such as safety, which are prominent at one stage of life, become widespread and are supposed to be central to all stages of life. Although children, of course, , should be kept safe to prepare them for adulthood, preparation for adulthood should not sweep away all other values or prevent children from enjoying the joys of childhood.
The point here is that childhood is a unique experience. For example, childhood friendships differ from adults, and children’s play requires a child’s ability to be absorbed in fictional worlds and entertain radically different worlds.
To the extent that children miss healthy childhood experiences, they cannot easily invent them. For example, having more adult friends will not make up for the lack of children, and playing more as an adult will not replace children’s play. The window closes.
The fact that masking interferes very or only slightly with children’s fun will depend on various factors, such as the age of the child (a 2-year-old may have more difficulty than a 10-year-old), the activity a mask while playing with dolls can be easier than playing basketball) and aversion to masking (which can vary depending on the child’s personality or whether their friends masked).
Of course, the other reason for children to mask is that this prevents them from transmitting the coronavirus to other people. Especially if a child’s circle includes someone at high risk of serious illness and dying from the virus, that consideration will be paramount.
For example, if you are a neighbor of a child a 5-year-old with Down syndrome or his best friend has asthma, or have a family member who is vaccinated but has the immune system is suppressed by drugs or disease, should keep the mask on. In these situations, it is important for parents to recognize that masking is not what the child wants to do, but sometimes it is important to put the safety and health of others first.
Parents who decide to keep their unvaccinated child masked can ask if it would help them if they too. Masking with a child conveys gratitude and recognition that, for some children, keeping a mask on is very important. This movement throws the keys to celebrations of unmasking parents. But parents can celebrate it later, after their child is vaccinated and when their child can celebrate as well.
While these decisions can be difficult for both parents and children, the good news is that they will likely have children ages 2 to 11. access to vaccines in September.
Parents and caregivers have made many sacrifices throughout the pandemic to protect children. Summer, usually a carefree period of play, promises an expected relief.
For some families with young children, the masks come off and go to Disney World no longer requires outdoor masks. For other families, all of their previous efforts might feel futile if they didn’t pass the last mile and wait a little longer.
Whatever parents decide, they should communicate their message in a way that shows love and support for their child.