Just about everyone is struggling with the challenges and uncertainties brought forth by the COVID-19 pandemic. Notably, the ongoing fear, anxiety, grief, and stress have intensely weighed on children and teens. Most are frustrated and find it difficult to cope emotionally with the changes, as a variety of studies have shown.
Studies have shown that over 140,000 kids in the U.S. have lost a parent or other caregiver to COVID-19. This is especially true for children coming from racial and ethnic minority backgrounds. Furthermore, reports indicate that these children have a high risk (up to 4.5%) of losing a parent or caregiver to coronavirus compared to other children.
While the COVID-19 vaccines have come as a relief to children who are old enough to be vaccinated, post-pandemic-related traumas and frustrations may have long-lasting ramifications on the growing minds of teens. This makes it important to support your teen through the various effects of the pandemic and teach them coping skills. You won’t have to walk the journey alone because pediatricians and children’s counselors at Bayless Healthcare can help.
Do you know what your teenage child is currently going through? Read on for tips on how to manage teens amid the pandemic.
How Is Your Teen Coping?
Parenting teens is hard enough, and it gets tougher during uncertain times. Figuring out ways to have constructive and positive conversations with your child will help ease much of this difficulty. Effective communication is the blood of every relationship, so talk to your teen about the COVID-19 crisis and let them share with you what they’re feeling.
During these uncertain times, teens are likely feeling hopeless, angry, and depressed, all of which are typical reactions to stress. However, if these issues become persistent, they may prevent your child from performing their daily activities like going to school, doing chores and other tasks, and even relaxing and doing the things they enjoy. In these cases, they may need professional support to get them through these uncertain times.
Furthermore, teens may not be aware of how to properly handle and process these emotions or how to express their feelings freely. So, it’s essential to monitor them closely to discover any changes in their behavior or development and encourage them to speak out.
Signs of Stress in Children
Older Children & Adolescents: Recognizable signs of stress in older children and teens vary based on their personality and age. The most common signs include:
- Behavioral changes like being argumentative with siblings or parents, emotional fluctuations, and withdrawing from personal relationships
- Concentration issues
- Increased risk of reckless behaviors like drinking alcohol or using drugs
- Less interest in academic work
- Fluctuating weight or eating habits like increases or decreases in appetite
- Unusual mood swings with feelings of rage, constant irritability, and frequent conflicts with family and friends
Young Children & Infants: Stressed children may show delayed progress in developmental milestones coupled with signs like:
- Sleep issues—difficulty falling asleep and waking up from time to time during the night
- Aggressive behavior such as hitting, biting, intense tantrums, and frustration
- No interest in socialization, fear to go outside or separate from family
- Feeding issues
- Frequent irritability, fussiness, and crying for no apparent reason
What You Can Do for Your Teen
It’s natural for parents to be concerned about their children regarding the changes in their children’s lives and daily routines. There are many ways you can support your teen, and talking to a pediatrician about the situation can help you identify the best ways to help them. You should also create a positive environment where your child will be encouraged to share their frustrations and express their feelings when they are ready.
Looking for Experts to Support Your Teen Emotionally During the Pandemic? We Can Help.
At Bayless Integrated Healthcare, we specialize in telehealth mental health services and can help manage stress for your teen. Contact us online or call us at (602) 230 7373 to schedule a mental health appointment with our counselors today and see how we can assist your child in coping with these major events.