Talk. Listen. Validate.
While You’re At It, Blast a Little Metal.
Last week I wrote a post about what a drag this coronavirus crap is for my oldest daughter, a representative of classes of 2020 all over the country. For this year’s seniors, fun is not being had, friendships are not being deepened and memories are not being made.
Like all of us, they’re captives of circumstances that are beyond their control.
Everyone is sharply focused on physical health, for good reason, but we can’t forget about mental health.
The stress of self- or parent/guardian-imposed stay-at-home social distancing is a challenge for everyone, but I believe it has to be tougher on kids, especially teens.
Think back for a minute. Remember how important your friends were when you were 12-18 years old? Your crew – or whatever you called it – wasn’t just important, it was necessary. You felt things so much more deeply then. Everything took on such huge significance that you needed your friends to get through it all.
Nothing’s changed. These kids need their friends, and not just over FaceTime or some similar technology. They need to be with each other, face to face. They need to hug and bump fists. But they can’t. And that can be tough on their mental health.
Search “mental health kids teens coronavirus” and dozens of articles and posts will come up from reputable groups, such as:
- The Clay Center for Young Healthy Minds – “7 Ways to Support Kids and Teens Through the Coronavirus Pandemic”
- UNICEF – “How teenagers can protect their mental health during coronavirus (COVID-19)”
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – “Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19: Manage Anxiety and Stress”
Many offer similar advice, like:
- Talk to your kids about coronavirus and COVID-19.
- Ask them about the specific worries they have. Really listen.
- Validate their concerns, but also reassure them.
- Be a good role model. Get enough sleep, exercise and eat well.
- Be realistic and honest, but try not to express rising levels of anxiety.
As for my favorite advice, it comes from a non-mental health professional, metal rocker Lzzy Hale. It’s good for people of all ages –
“Now is the time we truly get to see the healing powers of music. Listen to it, play it, share your playlists with friends. Listen to music together online, etc.”
Whatever you do, remember that our kids need us during these strange and unpredictable days.
Coronavirus and COVID-19 be damned! But for now, we just gotta deal.
As my 16-year old son would say, “#Facts.”
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