The pandemic has been stressing out everyone from employees to housewives. But one demographic that has also been affected by the pandemic are teens, and it has only gotten worse the longer the pandemic has been going on. But that doesn’t mean nothing can be done about their concerns which are beyond your capabilities.
TEENS’ HIDDEN STRUGGLES
Many teens are already experiencing anxiety, and this could be triggered by a number of things, including:
- The monotony of each school day
- High academic content
- Struggling to understand the content
- Complicated assignments
- Multiple assignments for each class
- In-class tests and quizzes with a time limit
- Writer’s block; not having ideas, enough ideas, or “good enough” ideas
- Multiple missed assignments in each class
- School shuts down for two weeks when the number of cases spikes
- Team sports being canceled or delayed due to a teammate who has the virus
During the school year, there are typically many milestones to be celebrated from social events to interactions. For sure, they are grieving for all that they have missed and are continuing to miss through yet another school year.
Your teens might feel more lethargic and complain of feeling more tired constantly. The cause to this is the apathy and low energy, resulting from low amounts of movement and activity (or rather, sitting behind a screen all day). Other than that, it is also because of the emotional drain that comes with consideration that life is different, we are still in the middle of a pandemic and that there seems to be no end to it.
Pre-pandemic, your children might not have any problem with attention, initiation, or a follow through. This does not mean that you children is not currently affected by the pandemic. Virtual learning, half-day in-person schedules, and social distancing have created an attention problem that is pervasive and real.
Even though they are motivated to do their assignments, they are experiencing difficulty in starting. The problem continues, as even though they are able to start, they experience difficulty to maintain their focus to complete it. If they do complete it, they may forget to actually hand it in. With all the potholes that your teens are facing, it’s no wonder that students who were once “on top of it” are also struggling.
Not only assignments, but focusing during school hours is another issue. They may struggle to maintain attention during a class, in which they are looking at a bunch of faces, foreheads, or shoulders rather than entire people. Focusing is tough when your teens are squinting to see what the teacher is presenting and are distracted by their own thoughts, their environment, or the fact that they can appear to be looking at the camera but actually be on another page or website.
HOW TO MINIMIZE STRESS IN TEENS:
With everything that is occurring in their lives, watch out for depression symptoms. Notice whether your teen is eating more or eating less, sleeping more, or sleeping less. Take note and ask questions to your teen on how they are feeling and faring. If possible, reach out to their teachers and ask them questions on any marked changes in your child’s demeanor, behavior, or academic performance. It will also be a good idea to reach out to a therapist so your teen has a neutral person with whom to share their emotional struggles and process their emotions.
Many teens already feel burdened by schoolwork and attending classes. It gets worse during the pandemic, as they get more left behind by their schoolwork. If this is the case for your teen, reach out to your child’s teachers and ask for accommodations. Some accommodations you can ask for include:
- Extended deadlines on class-based assignments, tests, quizzes, and homework
- Forgive or exempt assignments at the end of the marking period if your child has a high number of missed assignments that can’t be made up
- Regular check-ins by the guidance counselor with your child about work completion and areas of struggle
- School-based counseling that can take place in school, if your child has an in-person option, or via video conferencing.
Relaxing family rules
Creating rules are important for a clean, orderly and disciplined home. But during turbulent times of the COVID-19 pandemic, you will need to ease your rules. A poll has been held, in which fifty-two percent of parents polled have tried relaxing family COVID-19 rules to allow for contact with friends, while 47 percent also said they have loosened social media restrictions. Eighty-one percent and 70 percent said both methods helped their teens deal with stress.
Try a Mental Health web program
Asking to a health professional can feel intimidating for anyone trying at the first time. To make it less intimidating, you not try web program or app intended to improve mental health? Apps are often less intimidating because they are efficient and portable.
Keeping communication open while still giving space
During this pandemic, stress is bound to reach your teen in the most unthinkable ways. It can even lead to their withdrawn from the family. This can be concerning for a parent so they may try to overcompensate.
One effective way to deal with this issue is to demonstrate that teens are not alone. Share one’s own insecurities and fears surrounding our changed world, as well as sharing personal coping strategies and asking questions help create a safe space.
Encourage better habits
Sleep patterns is also one of the aspects that change when a teen is experiencing stress. In fact, one in four parents reported that their teens had had a negative change to their sleep patterns. What you will need to do is to urge your teens to creating a regular sleep schedule to fit with an online learning schedule, or creating responsibilities around the house and encouraging interaction with friends and family, which can all contribute to a healthier sleep routine.
Other than sleep, it’s good to give your teen a sense of purpose. Parents can try exercising with your kids whether it is jogging, walking the dog, playing tennis, or whatever you can do safely outside. Alternatively, you can try building in activities or expanding on teens’ responsibilities to help. This can be a family movie night, family cleaning, or having kids help plan meals or cook.
Begin detection early
An important point to remember is to start as earliest as possible, the moment symptoms start to appear. This is because mental illness can begin at the earliest of ages. Don’t wait until they are in their 20s or 30s to deal with mental health, which can be detrimental. So we would recommend to identify these issues early and also prevent a lot of them.
How are your teens faring this pandemic? Tell us your opinion in the comment section below!