How You And Your Teenager Can Support Good Mental Health During Coronavirus

The coronavirus has upended people's lives across the globe. Teenagers in particular are vulnerable to the changes that have occurred due to the coronavirus, as they are already trying to manage their own changing realities.

Combine that with the online learning that most teens now are engaged in with their loss of in-person connection with friends, and even the best teens can start displaying troubling behaviors. For already troubled teens, this pandemic can make a tough situation even worse.

To help support and protect your teen's mental health during these trying times, here are some things you can do.

Validate Your Teen's Feelings

On the grand scale of things, missing things like yearbook signings, sports, and field trips aren't as important as preventing the spread of a deadly disease. Yet, it is understandable to be upset at missing out at these hallmark teen year experiences.

Your teenager may be feeling guilty or upset with themself for being unhappy about missing out on these experiences. It is essential that you validate their feelings so that the feelings don't turn toxic and self-destructive. If it starts to turn into daily complaining, you might want to set a short, five minutes a day to do a "This Is Why COVID-19 sucks for me" vent session to alleviate tensions.

Keep Your Anxieties Under Control

Millions of Americans are unemployed and struggling to receive benefits, while others face the pandemic daily as an essential worker. Even for those individuals who have been able to transition to work-from-home roles, work is often strained, and many companies are cutting budgets. And that only covers the work-related side of the coronavirus pandemic impact.

Whatever anxieties you are facing, it is important to care for your mental health and try to keep your stress from impacting your teen. If that means you need an hour alone, time to meditate in the mornings, or other self-care, do your best to make time. Your teen will see your example and learn from it.

Create And Maintain A Stable Schedule

A certain amount of disruption to your family's normal schedule is a given right now. But, to help you and your teen to find a new normal, it's important for you to create and maintain as stable a schedule as possible.

That schedule may look like a set wake up time, and maybe you and your teen do a workout together. Then it's work for you and school for your teen, with breaks for lunch and snacks. Whatever the schedule ends up looking like, it will help your teen to stick with it consistently.

Provide Accurate Information

There is a staggering amount of misinformation regarding COVID-19. Likely, your teen has heard some of this misinformation, and it is up to you to help them sort the bad information from the good and useful. You can also help them by taking them to reliable sources like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) so that your teen can learn to search out good answers on their own.

Opt For Remote Therapy

While visiting a therapist in person may be out of the cards, there are distance therapy options. Many therapists who didn't offer remote therapy before now have moved to secure video therapy sessions. There are also many distance therapy options that were remote prior to coronavirus and offer things like texting and chat lines for teens who are uncomfortable with prolonged face-to-face sessions.

Mental health treatment for troubled teens is a cornerstone when it comes to teenagers attending therapeutic boarding schools and residential treatment centers. So, it makes sense to utilize therapy before your teen reaches the point of needing more specialized intervention.

Have News-Free Times

The 24/7 news cycle can wear on a person's psyche, and that was before the coronavirus started to dominate the news. While it can feel important to constantly be hunting for the latest news regarding COVID-19, help your teen take a break from keeping up with the news—it likely will help you too.

Discover New Hobbies

It's almost become a cliche how people are developing new skills and hobbies during quarantine, but that doesn't mean it isn't a good idea. There are a number of hobbies that can be done completely inside, such as:

  • Learning a new instrument
  • Creative writing
  • Knitting, crocheting, or sewing
  • Coding
  • Basic video editing

You and your teen can find tutorials for most of these hobbies on YouTube for visual learners or find paid classes to learn remotely.

Find Ways To Give Back

Some teens may feel like they are not doing enough to help, even if the best help they can be is to follow the guidelines that health professionals have set down. For teens who want to go above and beyond, you can help them find ways to give back, like making homemade face masks—many areas now list where community donations can be dropped off—leaving treats for neighbors, and encouraging friends to follow local rules regarding social distancing.

Also, if your teen receives an allowance, they may want to make a donation to one of the many charities that are supporting those fighting on the frontlines against COVID-19 or any other organization they care about that has been impacted by the pandemic.

By taking active steps to support your teen's mental health, you can help them get through this crisis and learn valuable skills to assist your teen in managing stress in the future.

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