Helping Your Teen Through the Pandemic
Being a teen in ordinary times comes with its fair share of stressors, insecurities and uncertainties. Then, you throw in a global pandemic, and life for a teen can become very complicated. All that they have known and relied upon has shifted and they may be left feeling, anxious, fearful or depressed.
“The Impact of the Covid-19 Pandemic on Adolescents”. “One thing that is really important for adults to remember is to allow their kids to grieve over their losses…their grief over what they are experiencing- or not getting to experience is real and parents need to give them time to process it” (Marshall, 2020).
If you are the parent/friend/guardian of a teen and recognize signs of new or unusual distress, there are ways you can help.
Talk to them
This sounds obvious, but sometimes with the rush of daily life and our own lists of issues, we may forget to sit down and really get in touch with what is going on in their lives. Ask them questions. How are you feeling about virtual school? Are you keeping in touch with your friends? Do you ever feel overwhelmed by what is going on in the world? You may be surprised with their answers and observations. Getting them to voice their feelings can help. Encourage their expression.
Validate their Feelings
What your teen is feeling is legitimate and sometimes they just want to be heard and understood. Acknowledge what they are feeling/experiencing and reassure them that it is okay to feel afraid, sad, angry or anxious. They are missing out on many life experiences and they feel that loss very deeply.
Positive Screen Time
Due to the pandemic, most kids right now are spending hours and hours a day on Zoom, staring at their computers while “in school”. A break from their screens is important. Teens use their devices to connect socially with their friends, to do homework, and to contact teachers, so completely walking away from their devices is almost impossible right now. The right type of screen time is what’s important. Scrolling mindlessly through social media is not as beneficial as connecting with friends on social media.
Be Alert for any major changes in behavior
If you feel that your teen’s behavior just isn’t right, it may be a good idea to reach out to a mental health care provider. Your teen may benefit from talking to a professional and learning to develop methods for navigating this difficult time. At Life Focus Center, we are here to help.