With current situations being how they are, and being a senior in high school having my own personal experiences, I decided to research the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic on kids/ adolescents and what are the best ways their parents can help support them. Everyone across the globe has been affected one way or another by the pandemic and some worse than others. Looking down at all the opportunities missed, canceled, and forever in the past many kids/teens are showing effects of depression and changes in mood or aspirations for their future as it might be postponed.
Studies show that kids’/teens mental health has been severely impacted by the pandemic and can become lifelong symptoms. Things such as emotional changes, depression, and anxiety have sparked, increasing all over the world. According to this article, a study taking 1,500 teens found that 61% had an increase in their feelings of loneliness, 7 of 10 were reported struggling in some way with mental health, and 45% had more stress than usual.
There are common stressors such as not being able to see friends, family, play sports and go to public places however, according to this article, it’s important to switch your mindset and think about all the opportunities that are now easily available. Such as cleaning out your closest, watching movies you haven’t had time for, hiking, biking, etc., and most importantly staying busy and creating a schedule to not slip into a depression spiral.
Although growing up in these situations is challenging, it’s also hard for their biggest supporters to watch them suffer. Parents and guardians can have a huge positive impact on how the kids cope/ look at their emotions. This article states that the way parents handle their own stress resulting from the pandemic can have cycling effects on their kids. If kids notice that their parents are drinking/ smoking more, they think it’s more acceptable and therefore incorporate it in their lives.
On the flip side, Melanie Studer wrote this article with a list of positive ways to communicate with teens to avoid depression in such uncertain times. The best ways to talk to your adolescent kids, according to Ms. Studer, is to be patient, listen more than direct, understand their circumstances, and let them talk. It’s important to talk at the right times as well. Make sure to talk with/to them at all times of the day and before they feel down. This allows them to build a better connection and feel more comfortable while having a diverse category to talk about when situations get serious.
While being informed on the pandemic is crucial, set boundaries on screen time, make your kids do chores, and limit their news feed. Articles have proven that alone time is very mandatory when all stuck in one house as well as conversing on topics that aren’t fake news. Kids can get overwhelmed with fake news, spiking anxiety, and making things worse than they have to be.
In conclusion, this pandemic has taken a mental toll on everyone. It’s important to stay busy, talk with your loved ones, and take things day by day instead of getting overwhelmed about the future. This pandemic will hopefully be ending soon, stay optimistic, and try your best to take the good out of this.