The Pandemic And Teenagers Mental Health | How can we help?
On 23rd March Boris Johnsons announced that new measures were being introduced to put the UK in a state of lockdown.
My first initial reaction was one of relief that my children’s physical health would be under my control.
And selfishly since I have revelled in the kids company.
But how the Pandemic And Teenagers Mental Health will actually be affected is something we have to consider.
Of course, we have had some bumps on the way. However, I am super proud of how all three seem to have been coping.
The Pandemic And Teenagers Mental Health
Regarding my 17year old daughter Kia, it would be the first time in a while I would know exactly where she is, what she is doing, have a better input on the food she was eating and so on.
However, all responsible parents will instinctively agree with leading experts warnings.
Lockdown loneliness means the Pandemic and Teenagers Mental Health may have long term damaging effects.
We won’t know what the exact effects will be for each child.
My teenage daughter Kia, is a super social being. She has been unable to work, go to school and her upcoming birthday plans have had to be put on hold.
The lack of routine and the lack of freedom have had an effect on her all round health.
University of Cambridge researchers warn lockdown may lead to a host of mental health, behavioural and cognitive problems for teenagers later in life.
On top of major hormonal changes and puberty, this is the point at which people want to spend more time with their friends than their family.
It is also the period in their life when they are most likely to develop mental health problems.
Earlier studies have suggested that high quality relationships appear to protect people from mental health problems and strengthen their resilience.
So how can we help?
- Contrary to all the anti social media advice, scientists say social media might actually have been the saving grace for teens during the pandemic. This is because virtual interaction can mitigate some of the negative effects of physical distancing. As long as social media has a purpose it should be encouraged.
- Teens need routine too, so talk about how they can organise their day. Include time not just for learning but also exercise, sleep, virtual friends-time, down-time, how they can help around the house and with younger siblings. Hopefully more structure will mean less boredom and help avoid everyone driving each other mad.
- As well as time for Kia to have her own private space, I have had some one on one time with her. We have been taking walks together, having a late night chat when her younger siblings are asleep, using the opportunity to discuss her mental and physical health, any worries she may be anxious about, or normal stuff she would be doing with her peers like listening to music, joking about and having a laugh.
- Acknowledge their losses and that all their anxieties are taken seriously. Trying to understand their feelings maybe uncomfortable to hear but I want my daughter to open up to me rather than bottle her feelings up. It helps me to Point her in the right direction for reputable and valid information. Try and put yourself in their shoes and try to see things from their point of view. Model good behaviour – if you are calm and rational, they will be too.
- This is something I have to work on, obviously if I don’t look after myself I can’t function as a well balanced parent. We have so much to deal with so taking a little time for our own sanity and well being is super important. That pile of washing can wait until tommorrow. I have stopped watching too much news as I was becoming anxious which wasn’t setting a good example. I try and take time to have a coffee and catch up on my favourite box set. Nothing major just a little me time.
Hopefully we can find the right approach and strategies in supporting our teenagers through these challenging times.
Sending Love x x
It sounds like you’re doing an amazing job of looking after your teen’s mental health during all this – you seem like a lovely mummy 🙂 #KCACOLS
Thank you so much Hannah , sending love xx
God i love a good list and this is really helpful thanks for sharing X #dreamteam
Ah me too, thank you, sending love xx
As a High School Teacher I do really worry about this. #kcacols
I hope society finds the time to find a way to understand and support them and supports teachers too x x
It must be so hard to be a teenager right now. I feel for them. Thanks for joining us on the DreamTeamLinky
I do too I can’t even imagine, I had my freedom at her age xx
It really does sound like you are doing an amazing job as mum. These ideas are great and I absolutely second making sure that parents try to squeeze in a bit of self care and down time. It’s really hard to fit everything in at the moment, but as they say, you can’t take care of other people if you’re not taking care of yourself. Thank you for joining us with this brilliant read on the #DreamTeamLinky
Thank you so much Annette I sincerely appreciate your kind words, sending love x
I imagine teens that are coping with physical, mental and emotional change must be hard hit by the lockdown. Thanks for sharing potential coping strategies with us at #dreamteamlinky
It certainly has the lockdown loneliness has affected all of those factors x
Great advice, and I absolutely cannot imagine how lonely lockdown would have felt without social media and other tech which has kept us in tough with other human beings! It has been a lifeline for sure. Thanks so much for linking up at #KCACOLS, hope you come back again next time! x
I totally agree and thank you for stopping by x x
Lockdown has been particularly hard on teenagers and young adults their lives are so social. Sounds like you are doing a great job and really useful tips. #KCACOLS
Thank you Jade sending love x