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Children's health

23rd Jan 2024

Expert weighs in after mum says her daughter has become ‘too health conscious’ since Covid

Sophie Collins

Health

A woman has been advised of what to do now that her daughter has become very health conscious to the point of obsession.

The mum spoke to Newstalk about the health issue and says, “it started during Covid, but it hasn’t improved since the pandemic ended”.

She even said that since the end of the pandemic, “she’s got more tense”.

The mum went on to say that while they were on holiday, “she insisted on wearing a mask on the plane and over Christmas she was very agitated when we didn’t have hand sanitiser in the house.”

The family has their granny living with them, who has underlying health issues so she has to be “extra conscious” of her health.

The family have tried to explain that their daughter “doesn’t have to worry like Granny,” but that despite this “her behaviour is becoming obsessive.”

The worried mum said: “We can’t throw out all precautions, but I would like to show her everything would be fine if she doesn’t stick to the rules she sets herself.”

Expert Advice

Joanna Fortune, a child psychotherapist, offered up her advice and said the parents may be giving her “mixed messages” about health and sanitation. 

“You are concerned about the child’s behaviours becoming obsessive, but you are also clearly conveying to her that you can’t throw away all precautions because you live with somebody vulnerable,” she said.

“When you say, ‘We’ve tried to explain she doesn’t have to worry like Granny’… I find myself wondering if it’s the case that she’s worried about Granny.” 

Joanna then said that some things; like wearing a mask on a plane and having hand sanitiser at home, are good ideas. 

“I wouldn’t fight with her on that,” she said. 

“Not if it’s constant throughout the day – that’s a worry – but from what you’re saying, that isn’t how it sounds. 

“If you have hand sanitiser in the house for anybody coming in because you live with someone vulnerable, that wouldn’t be a cause for concern for me.” 

Ms. Fortune added that if the young girl is letting health concerns get in the way of living her life, then she needs to be helped.

“Sit with her and let her know that you think the worry about sickness is taking over the fun side of life,” the expert said. 

“She might benefit from someone to talk to who could help balance some of those worries out so that she can understand that there are precautions for Granny but it doesn’t need to consume her.” 

Joanna said play therapy and increased sensory play can also be great ways to help reduce her anxiety.

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