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News >  Family

Dad Daze: Just say no to your child when necessary – and to COVID-19

Milo Condran sleeps alongside the Colorado River in August 2019.  (Courtesy of Ed Condran)
Milo Condran sleeps alongside the Colorado River in August 2019. (Courtesy of Ed Condran)

It’s not over yet! Even though my son Milo is attending school virtually and sporting a mask while playing ice hockey and just learned that his sister’s college graduation ceremony has been canceled, he remarkably has to be reminded that the pandemic rages on.

Yes, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Vaccines are slowly rolling out, and there are many questions about what’s up next in our strange new world. But one thing is certain: COVID-19 is still making an impact. Frightening variants are popping up around the globe. We’re still trying to scrape our way back to some semblance of normalcy.

Milo, 15, asked if he could go skiing for the weekend with a friend. Sounds good. The next day, I found out his friend’s parents learned that they contracted the coronavirus. The parents started their quarantine, and their son left for his grandparent’s house.

“Since he’s not with his mom and dad, can I go skiing with him and his grandfather for the weekend?” Milo asked. If Milo’s friend wasn’t living with his parents over the last week, then it would be fine. But it was time to say no. It’s not as if ski season is over after this weekend. Milo, who would move to Schweitzer if that was possible, was bummed, but that’s the way it goes.

“I don’t want to get sick just because you went skiing,” Milo’s brother, Eddie, said. “Go live with your friend for two weeks if you go away for the weekend with him.”

Eddie, who engaged in so much risky behavior last spring that James Bond’s head would have spun around again and again, is now like a reformed smoker. Anyone who is irresponsible will be battered by a righteous tirade courtesy of my maturing son, who does get a little heavy-handed with the brow beatings. “I’m just trying to help you,” Eddie said.

So many parents will do whatever they can to appease their children. But sometimes the answer has to be no. I just found out that Eddie is planning a cross-country trip with two of his friends. Before I weighed in on an experience that would smack of Beavis and Butt-Head, the mother of his closest friend put the kibosh on the trek for her son.

Her boy and Eddie are 18, and they’re adults, but she negated the adventure for her son, but that’s a story for another column. I’m always pleased when a parent does the right thing and says no even though their kid will scream that it’s unfair. That’s especially so when it impacts others. When it comes to COVID-19, it couldn’t be more serious.

The coronavirus and children are going to be an issue most likely well into 2022 since children are last in line for vaccination. Children haven’t been hit anywhere near as hard by the coronavirus, but they can pass the virus to their elders. A friend of Eddie’s is asymptomatic and transmitted the coronavirus to both of her parents. Teens must be reined in during the pandemic.

“Teenagers engage in a great deal of risky behavior all of the time,” Dr. Jacqueline Jones said while calling from her Manhattan office. “They don’t think things through. It remains a concerning group during the pandemic. A teenage guy goes to a party and hooks up with a girl, and he becomes a spreader because of his risky behavior. We’re not at the end of this pandemic. I doubt children will be vaccinated for quite a while.

“If a child is around someone who has the coronavirus, they should quarantine for 10 days unless they test negative five days after their first contact. If there is a chance a child might spread the coronavirus, don’t let your children hang around with that child. We have to be tough with our children since they’re our kids, not our friends. You have to explain that you don’t spread the coronavirus because it’s best for you, your family and your country.”

However, children can help end the coronavirus by urging their parents to get vaccinated. According to Jones, one-third of Americans have decided not to receive the vaccine. So Jones, who is the author of “Medical Parenting: How to Navigate Health, Wellness & the Medical System With Your Child,” has started a pro-vaccination campaign, “Doctor’s Orders, Don’t Hesitate, Vaccinate!”

What’s shocking is that only half of the physicians with whom Jones works in New York City said they would get vaccinated when the subject came up in January. “More of them have said they will get the vaccine now, but I was blown away by their reaction when we were talking about it,” Jones said. “They lived through the worst of COVID, and they were reluctant to get their shot. They were wondering about what type of effects it could have.

“I hate to use the term fake news, but people don’t really trust what they’re hearing, and it’s unfortunate. I had 1,200 of the top doctors in this country sign a statement believing in the safety and efficacy of the vaccine. We’re trying to get through to Black and Brown people that they need the vaccine. We all have to pitch in with the fight against the coronavirus.

“So get vaccinated, and, if you’re a child, listen to your parents and avoid contact with anyone who has COVID or may have COVID. If we all do our part, we’ll be in better shape.”

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