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Teens & Covid-19: How Parents Can Support During The Outbreak


Because of the pandemic, adolescence has transformed. Many teenagers are experiencing anxiety by readjusting to a new social environment, socializing with their peers and learning how to be independent.

Adolescence is usually a period in which adolescents & teens enjoy spending time with colleagues and pursuing their independence. However, the pandemic has left them feeling ever more vulnerable and burdened by social deprivation. More teens are struggling with suicidal thoughts, depression, anxiety and PTSD during the Covid-19 pandemic.

During these extraordinary times, parents should help their teens and develop ways to make life more bearable for their teens and themselves.

Show Empathy and Understanding

Many young people feel like they are grieving the loss of many major high school milestones such as prom, graduation, classes, sports games, and parties. The first step that parents should take is to understand that these setbacks may distress their teens. By listening to what their teens want to say, parents will empathize and give their teens space. This way, parents can avoid problem-solving, since teens just want to be heard.

If parents wish to help, they should also ask insightful questions, such as “Do you have any ideas about how you and your friends want to celebrate differently? If you could do something that might help make this a positive experience for you and your friends, what would that look like?” If they think of an idea such as a Zoom escape room game to celebrate their birthday, parents can support it.

Set Firm Boundaries

Being a teenager is not without times of misunderstandings, arguments and aggravations. Teens are especially strong at pushing boundaries. Parents should have collaborative discussions about the risks when going outside and how they operate within the framework of family and physical distancing.

When needed, set kind but strict limits on what is okay and what is not appropriate for them. Parents should think back to what they were like what they knew and how they viewed the world when they were teens. If teenagers feel motivated and trusted, they can make smarter choices. When a teen is calmer, a well-timed chat goes far better than during a tense argument.

Respect Family Time and Independence

Alone time is precious for teenagers. It’s difficult for them to believe like they don’t have any sense of control in this pandemic. Parents shouldn’t panic if their teens spend a decent amount of time in their room. A teen’s room is their sanctuary. By knocking before entering and requesting permission, parents are respecting their teen’s time and energy.

Parents can invite them to spend some time with family instead of making demands. For example, asking teens to help with an everyday task, such as putting the garbage outside for pickup, walking the dog in the afternoon or washing the dishes, offers them a sense of order and belonging. Research has proven that children who do chores feel better connected to their families and are more successful later in their careers.

Connect with Family and the Local Community

Parents can work with their teens to lead projects that include the entire family and the community. They can encourage them to clean up their room, basement, or garage, so they can declutter and find items for donations. If they have younger siblings, they can teach them a new dance they learned from social media or a fun game to play together that doesn’t involve screen time.

Teens could also volunteer to help mentor children or peers online. Parents and teens together can spread more kindness to lonely or isolated family members and friends with a phone call, email or social media post. By letting your teen choose the way they want to volunteer, they can tailor it to their interests and share their knowledge with their community.

Watch for Signs of Mental Health Struggle

Moods come and go. It’s perfectly okay for teens to feel anxious at certain times of the day. It could signal a more serious issue if you notice that they do not seem to snap back from a bad week. Sudden behavioral changes, such as moodiness or uncommon irritability, changes in appetite or sleep, can signal mental health struggles.

Parents must have open communication with their teens. They should not hesitate to explore opportunities to help maintain the emotional health of your family through this difficult period with a therapist who specializes in working with teens.

Visit our teen counseling page

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