Being a teenager is hard enough. Now, the COVID-19 crisis is making it even more challenging for some.
From fear of the unknown to loneliness caused by isolation, some teens are probably dealing with some big emotions.
Teens went from enjoying school, hobbies and friends to spending all their time cooped up at home, and many parents are realizing the coronavirus may be fueling anxiety.
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“We have to spend more time with our children than we ever did before and we discover that maybe, maybe we don’t know them as well as we thought we did," said Oksana Hagerty, assistant director of the center for student success and psychologist at Beacon College.
Some signs to watch for include constant fear or worry, physical problems like chronic headaches or stomachaches, a change in a child’s personality, such as irritability, difficulty sleeping, panic attacks or withdrawing from activities.
“Like, 'Oh, maybe I shouldn’t go to college or maybe I shouldn’t pursue that major or maybe I should change something, maybe I should downsize.' These are the signs of withdrawing”, Hagerty said.
So how can you help? First recognize that their lives are turned upside down and anxiety is normal. Let them work through their feelings. Make sure they’re getting enough exercise and sleep. And help them find creative ways to connect with their friends like FaceTime or Zoom. Talk about their concerns a lot and offer positive feedback.
“So, catch them being good, spend more time with your child, be more attentive to your child, and build on his or her strengths,” Hagerty said.
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, about 25% of 13 to 18-year-old’s have an anxiety disorder.
Contributors to this news report include: Cyndy McGrath, Executive Producer; Julie Marks, Field Producer; Roque Correa, Editor.