Social distancing and self-isolation bring challenges for everyone, but teens face a particularly hard time. They're relying on you more then ever for information and, more importantly, support.
Making mistakes, learning to accept responsibility for consequences of your actions, while experiencing high intensities of emotions is all part of everyday life for teenagers. Young people want to break free from their parents and authority, they are searching for their own identity and on top of that now they have to experience uncertain times with school being closed, exam cancelled and lock-down with a lot of restrictions.
As a counsellor working with young people let me share with you a few ideas on how to help young people deal with recent events and make them feel notice to ease the process of being at home during the pandemic.
Create an atmosphere of ‘all in it together'
Stay connected, don't be afraid to talk to your teen about the virus and their concerns. You might not have all the answers, that's okay. Reach out, ask them 'How are they feeling?' Let your teen express themselves and talk about their concern, you would be surprised how much this mean for them to be able to have their say in this and ask questions, and you’re likely to hear more if you stay open and interested.
Remain firm and supportive
Let your teens set their schedule, withing reason. Control what you can, and let go of what you can't. We can help out making sure they get enough sleep, we can help them get some exercise, and we can encourage them to eat well. Find new ways to arrange your days. There will be times when young people want to get away into their private space, accept that and try to make that possible.
Dealing with anxiety
The devastating effect of corona virus lock-down shows by teens experiencing more anxiety then usual. Feeling nervous, on edge, or panicky all the time, feeling out of control, stress and sadness, missing out while not in school and not being able to see friends. They are the most common issues young people talk to me about during the lock-down. Teach your teen the ability to regulate or control emotions, and ability to tolerate distress. Show them relaxation and mindfulness techniques that can help reduce tiredness and improves performance.
Other useful tips
There are lost of things, big and small we can do for young people to help them due to corona virus lock-down:
Validate their feelings - Many young people don’t know what they are feeling when they are anxious, and it can be very frightening and overwhelming. When they do open up be there and prepare to listen.
Try meditation - As parents or teachers, we can introduce young people to the practice of meditation. The most important quality that is required in the long run to achieve great things and big goals is patience.
Help to set small goals - This can be very simple things like 'Productivity'. Get more sleep to improve focus and concentration during the day to get more done.
Work on positive thinking - Research is beginning to reveal that positive thinking is about much more than just being happy or displaying an upbeat attitude. Positive thoughts can actually create real value in your life and help you build skills that last much longer than a smile.
Do things together - Young people going through the process of a lock-down want your love, your support, your encouragement, acceptance and attention. Invite them to watch a favourite movie together or to cook something nice.
“As a parent, you’re one of the leading experts on your child. You'll know what will work best. Trust yourself.
Anyone who knows teenagers or has a teenager know the lock-down for them can be challenging and difficult. This is the time when young people's needs are constantly changing. It's your choice how you would like to meet their need.
One of the ways we meet our teenager’s needs as parents is by giving them attention. It’s a way of showing that we care and that they matter. Let's be together in this difficult time. You are more likely to reach a satisfying - and safe - result by seeing they have a point of view that deserves an audience. The end result may be happy and a healthy family lifestyle, and warm family relationship.
Take care & stay safe.