If you remember what it was like to be a teenager, it was hard enough as it is just adjusting to the new realities that you faced as you went through massive milestones like middle school and high school. Add a global pandemic on top of that and it’ll break anybody’s mental health. With all that being said, there are some things that we as parents need to keep a close eye on as we raise teenagers through one of the weirdest times in history.
1. Help teens identify their feelings with emotional regulation (not denial or repression) as the goal.
This is a time of major loss and emotional upset, and it’s crucial that people work to identify their many feelings. Anger, grief, agitation, boredom, and more are normal. For teens who deal with social anxiety, relief may be a common feeling right now given reduced social pressure. Any or all of these can be confusing and overwhelming.
2. Watch for, and talk about, depression, anxiety, and suicide risks.
In losing access to the kinds of incidental opportunities to interact with people and the world that may have historically helped them work through their emotions, many teens are at risk of developing anxiety or depression. With calls to mental health and suicide hotlines increasing recently (by 116% in some locations), it’s important that parents know the specifics around youth mental health.
3. Make individualized self-soothing plans.
Dedicating a fun family picnic or dinner to the task of creating unique self-care/emotional regulation lists for each family member can go a long way during periods of prolonged distress. Making sure that each list includes 10-20 diverse items, unique to that individual, is crucial.
If you’d like to read the entire article from Psychology Today, you can click here!