I’m writing this post at 1am probably because I drank too much coffee today trying to stay awake and do a zillion things at once. Long story short – I was teaching online during a thunderstorm outside and had to ensure all my own kids were actively engaged too. We did it -just about!
I wanted to write this post as a reminder we are only human and not to expect too much of ourselves during this time. In particular I want to focus on our teenaged children, and how all this change and upheaval has affected their mental health. Two months ago they’d only heard of one kind of Corona and now here it is affecting their daily life and I don’t know what your teenagers are like but I did manage to get some quotes from a few I know and it surprised me a little bit how deeply they think about these things. I honestly thought they’d be happy to have no school for a few weeks in fact I asked my friend’s nephew for his opinion for my blog today and his mum told us he was asleep and glad there was no college for a few weeks! Although some of the other teenagers are very worried and stressed about this whole new situation that’s come about affecting our ‘normal’ daily lives,
I don’t mind if I get the virus myself but I am worried about infecting my baby sister as she has a heart condition so she’s really vulnerable.M, 14, Bolton, UK
I am probably one of the few people actively avoiding corona updates because of the stress and fear and anxiety it induces in me instead I am trying to focus on the positives. One of my friends pointed out our WhatsApp group was filled with articles and corona news ever since we first heard that the schools were closing so we’ve purposely tried to talk about other things as much as possible.
Anyway the motivation for this post was to support those who may be feeling blue after hearing all this news. For a normal healthy person the anxiety levels are rising due to the uncertainty of the last few weeks so spare a thought for this who suffer from anxiety and worry on a daily basis.
My advice is to deal with such issues spiritually, whatever your religious inclination normally is, call on your Lord to guide you, protect you and keep you safe. Keep the information limited and focus on things you can do and enjoy the free time you have to pursue your hobbies or catch up on your chores and spring clean like one of my sisters’ has decided to do.
I’m sad that I’ll miss my prom and I might have to wait another year to go to college.R, 16, Devon, UK
I want to point out that our teenagers may be feeling extra worried and they have every right to be because they’re living though something their parents (and grandparents) are facing for the first time in their lives so they are bound to feel some sort of anxiety. I think we need to just focus on them and reassure them that this will pass and it’s a temporary phase. Although that’s easier said than done.
I feel like Corona has made everyone step back and think that this World is temporary.M, 15, Dubai, UAE
- Model a calm persona outwardly – the last thing your children need is to hear your worries and hourly news updates. Try to limit their exposure to the news and internet free time.
- Try to maintain some sense of normality, allow them to socialise be it online or over the phone. Ensure that they keep to some sort of a schedule (I obviously need help on this point)
- Listen to them and validate their fears without constant empty reassurances. Allow them to express their worry and instead of saying “Oh don’t worry about it,” or “It’ll be alright – you’ll see!” try rephrasing and telling them you understand they’re scared and you will be there for them. This is a way of you telling them their is something to be scared of and its normal to feel that way but we will work through it together rather than ignoring the problem altogether.
- Answer their questions matter of factly empathise with them but try not to emote for them, some teenagers may literally feel like it’s the end of the world and you may need to convince them its not. Even with their proms being cancelled, their exams uncertain, their future plans changing. This is a good opportunity to teach our children resilience and enjoying the journey of life rather than focusing only on each destination along the way.
- Practice relaxation strategies and guide them towards meditation and Yoga as a way of calming the mind. Again this is a good opportunity to practice mindfulness and limit their exposure to passive TV watching or listening to the same tracks on end. Show them the life outside electronics can be fulfilling too.
Resources and references for this blog and links that can help: