In just a few weeks, the 2020-2021 school year will end.
Most teens have barely had time to socialize with peers in meaningful ways. Without a doubt, this past school year has been the most difficult for teens in more than a generation.
Because of COVID-19…
We asked them to stop spending time in person with their friends.
We asked them to stop having recess and lunch and gym classes with their friends.
We asked them to manage all the same academic challenges as before, but now virtually, without the restorative of lunchtime or after-school conversations with friends.
We implied, or even told them outright, that we did not want to see their grades go down at all with these changes.
And we asked them to get ready for college soon.
Based on these “asks,” are you surprised that stress, depression, and suicide rates among teens are at historic highs?
In 2015, the California Healthcare Foundation reported that one in eight teens experienced a major depressive episode this school year and 70 percent of teens have experienced a serious emotional disturbance and considered suicide at least once. Imagine what that number has risen to today, in the wake of a global pandemic.
Parents, you need to take this time and talk to your teens. Find out if they are:
- Feeling sad
- Missing the needed socialization
- Having sleep issues
- Feel the need to talk to a therapist
- Feel helpless, or like giving up
And here’s a tip: If you intuit that your teen isn’t being totally honest, ask them how their friends are doing. They may be more willing to talk about a friend feeling sad, rather than themselves. You may get a more honest answer if you allow them to describe their own feelings in a third-person format.
This is a summer that your teen could get their mojo back and feel like themselves again.
Masks are disappearing, no summer school, lots of fun playtime and plenty of fresh air.
The old days of just sending your teen out to play and not talking for a few days because they’re busy (or on the computer all day and night)? Those need to be behind you.
Dinner-time conversation is essential. Lay down those cell phones. Focus on your teen’s words – spoken and unspoken.
And take some family time away from home so they can remember what a nuclear family unit looks like and acts like, now that COVID-19 will soon be behind us.
For more information, please browse the ABD blog, filled with lots of actionable tips for dealing with the difficult and stressful parts of teen life.
I’d love to have you at our upcoming events:
- CHEERS TO A BRIGHTER DAY, a fun and free virtual Happy Hour event. We’ll share stories from teens and parents about mental health, hope, and healing. Cheers is happening soon – on Sunday, May 16th at 4:30pm.
- 5TH ANNUAL GOLF TOURNAMENT, a terrific day of sunshine, golf, and philanthropy. All funds will go toward driving teen mental health awareness locally and nationally. Our Golf Tournament is happening on Friday, August 20th at 11:00am.
President, a brighter day charity