The covid pandemic is difficult for everyone, but it’s creating a unique challenge for older teenagers. This is a phase in which a teen should be enjoying their time as an upperclassman and preparing for college. Instead, they’re stuck at home, unable to socialize. They’re missing important milestones and losing opportunities to participate in extracurricular activities and develop skills. These losses, along with the general worries about the pandemic, are creating a steep rise in teen anxiety.
A recent survey from the CDC found that depression and anxiety are worsening during the pandemic. Young people have been the hardest hit. About 25 percent of teens have seriously considered suicide since the pandemic began. This figure is concerning. Parenting teens can’t be a passive activity any longer. We all need to start paying close attention to our teens feelings.
Teen Issues: Fear, Grief, and Focus
1. Hold Space
Your teen needs to vent. This is a frustrating situation, and it’s normal and healthy for a teens feelings to fluctuate. One minute they might feel okay, and the next, the anger and grief might be overwhelming. Make sure your teen understands that venting is healthy. Be there to listen and provide understanding whenever needed. Acknowledge that your teen is dealing with something that your generation didn’t have to go through. Ask what you can do to help.
2. Offer Wisdom
You might not have wisdom that relates to covid specifically, but you do have plenty of experience dealing with difficult circumstances. Share some of what you’ve learned with your teen. What has helped you process disappointment? How do you handle situations that scare you?
One piece of wisdom that has helped many people over the years is the common phrase, “this too shall pass.” The saying, which originated from ancient Persian poetry, has been around for centuries because it’s true. Although the covid pandemic may be an issue for some time, it will eventually pass, and humanity will enter a new chapter.
3. Provide Perspective
The pandemic has ruined many things, but it hasn’t destroyed every positive aspect of life. Teen issues with cancelled events and distance learning aside, there is likely still a long list of things your teen can enjoy. Help your kids find things to look forward to. For example, if your daughter is learning guitar, remind her that she can work on writing songs at home. If your son wants to be a chef, give him the freedom to practice recipes in the kitchen. If possible, provide additional financial support for any hobbies or interests your kids can safely explore during this time.
Parenting teens is rough. I’m here to help. My online mentoring services are ideal for families dealing with covid-related teen anxiety. Please reach out to me for more information.