Social Distancing Is Wrecking Teens: Here’s How You Can Help

Photo by Jordan Hopkins on Unsplash

 

Teenagers often get a bad reputation and are viewed as moody, angsty, and overly emotional.

But the truth is, the teenage years are one of the toughest seasons of life– from raging hormones and body changes – to the pressure to earn good grades and get into a good college.

The only relief many teenagers feel during this season is spending time with their friends.

Whether simply going out for milkshakes, shopping at the mall, going to a movie, or attending a bonfire party in their neighborhood.

But COVID-19 has stripped all of this away from our teens, and many of them are feeling it in a major way.

If you have a teenager who is grieving during COVID-19, here are a few ways you can help.

 

Empathize With Them

Your teen is hurting, and rightfully so.

Cry and grieve with them.

Let them express their feelings, even if they come across as moody or angsty.

It’s likely the pain your teen is feeling is so deep they don’t even have the words to express what they are feeling.

They are grieved they can’t dress up and physically attend their senior prom or go on a date to the movies with their boyfriend.

Make sure to watch for signs of serious depression, and even consider virtual counseling if it gets to that point.

Now is not the time to make your teen feel bad for “overreacting” or dismiss their feelings insisting they should be thankful for what they have.

They need a parent who can listen to them, and help them process what they are thinking.

 

Find Ways To Celebrate Them

Find little ways you can help celebrate your teen.

Whether it’s encouraging them to host a “virtual” party with their friends to stay connected such as dance parties or movie nights.

Even something simple like cooking their favorite meal or picking up their favorite takeout can go a long way.

You can even help them plan a few future celebration events to let them know they aren’t forgotten.

 

Help Them Develop A Routine

You can give them grace, but letting them sleep in till 2pm each day and stay up till 4am probably isn’t healthy.

Write out a family schedule in a visible place and help your teen maintain some form of structure.

Of course, you can make this schedule more “teen friendly” such as starting classes at 10am vs 7am and providing opportunities for breaks.

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Even though they may resist it at first, teens crave some form of structure, and you can help them in this area.

 

Plan For The Future

More than anything, your teen wants to know this will end.

Remind them that “this too shall pass”, and that while you don’t know when this entire thing will be over, it will.

Perhaps now is a good time to talk about where your family wants to go on vacation once it is safe to travel again.

Encourage your teen to research their favorite place or come up with some creative ideas.

They might truly love taking ownership and help plan an upcoming trip!

Above all else, make sure you speak encouraging words to your teen during this time, they need it now more than ever.

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