How To Support Teens' Mental Health During The Pandemic And Beyond

June 05, 2021

Quote of the Week

"If you light a lamp for somebody it will also brighten your path" -Buddha

How To Support Teens' Mental Health During The Pandemic And Beyond

The first step toward supporting young people through this challenging time is for caring adults to have empathy for the teen experience. And to work to understand how their developmental stage impacts their emotional well-being. Adolescence is a time when tweens and teens are supposed to be stretching their boundaries and testing limits. That means getting out of the house and trying new things. Figuring out their place among peers and within their communities. Making mistakes and learning how to bounce back. But during the COVID-19 pandemic, as a matter of safety, tweens and teens are limited from many growth opportunities. And that flies in the face of typical teen development.

For teens, peer relationships are a big deal. Their brains are designed to feel rewarded when they socialize, in some ways more so than adults. Spending time with friends helps them discover their identities and gives them the courage to move away from the family and into the larger world. Being restricted from exploring this aspect of themselves may leave them feeling lonely and bored, and it goes against the messages their brain’s reward centers are sending.

And let’s not forget the missed milestones. From birthdays to graduations to religious or cultural celebrations of growth, adolescence is also a time of important rites of passage. But these celebrations didn’t happen or looked dramatically different in the past year. Teens feel a true sense of loss for missing out on important affirmations that remind them they’re growing up. On top of all that, the pandemic has diminished teens’ support systems or eliminated some altogether. What can parents do to help their teens during this time of transition and beyond? This week's featured article from Greater Good Magazine provides concrete strategies for parents to support teens as we all navigate this time together and as we transition into a post-pandemic world.

Reading Corner

Title: How To Talk So Teens Will Listen and Listen So Teens Will Talk
By: Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish
Ages: Teens--Adults

"Filled with straightforward advice and written in their trademark, down-to-earth style sure to appeal to both parents and teens, this all-new volume offers both innovative, easy-to-implement suggestions and proven techniques to build the foundation for lasting relationships." --Publishers

Be the Change

Spend some time with a teen in your life and just listen to them without passing judgement or giving advice.