Teens have had a really rough year! I actually wrote a blog post on Covid-19 blues in teens a while back because they have had it so rough, and there wasn’t enough information out there yet on this phenomenon. Virtual learning not only impacted their academics, but it may have also affected their social and emotional wellbeing. Those who used to have a group of friends, might be worried whether things will be the same. Some might have even fallen out with their previous group during quarantine. Online learning has also made it easier to slack off on some assignments, so becoming disciplined once again will be rough. Though exciting, the transition can also come with more stress and anxiety for a lot of teens. Here are some tips that I have shared with parents on how to support their teens.
Listening to their concerns
I think the instinct for most parents is to try and help them problem-solve. It makes sense given their development and the worries that they have are probably ones that you have dealt with before. But let’s not forget that your teen has just gone through something that has not happened before when we were teenagers, a pandemic that has caused everything to shut down. When we approach teens with a mindset that their problem isn’t a big deal, or we come in with a solution, it won’t be as helpful. Most likely, your teen’s response will be that you “just don’t get it”. And they’re right! We probably don’t. Times have changed since we were teens. So, the best way to help is to listen and validate. Let them know that their concerns and emotions are okay to have and let them know that you have their back. This is more important than giving them a solution.
Helping them prepare for socialization
Scale back screen time (don’t expect pre pandemic levels) hanging out with friends in real life might be different and awkward. It might not be as frequent to pre-pandemic right away. Ask them how they want to present themselves. Is there a new style they want to try? This might be the perfect time if they need a fresh start on how they want to portray themselves to their peers.
Adjusting their sleep schedule
Teens have been staying up later and also getting up later because of virtual learning. They most likely have been able to follow their body’s natural sleep cycle (early birds, night owls, day napping, etc.) without having to follow strict routine. When you attend virtual school, you can jump on a Zoom call without having to get ready before commuting. In-person schooling will interrupt this cycle and your teen might have a tough time adjusting. Help them move up their bed time and get up earlier in small increments. After all, we want to set them up for success and start school in a good mood.
Although going back to school can be fun and exciting, this doesn’t mean your teen will have the easiest time adjusting. Waking up earlier can be frustrating, dealing with integrating themselves back into their friend groups could cause some unwanted drama, and picking academics back up might be harder than they thought. Things might not look like they did pre-pandemic right away. It might take more than a month or even a couple of months for them to adjust again. Be patient with them and let them know that it is okay if things don’t look the same immediately.
Thank you for tuning in! If you would like to speak about yourself, your child, or teen, reach out at 858-522-9415 for a free consultation today!