From telemedicine to lockdowns and from masks to media blowouts, the COVID-19 pandemic is a very scary and confusing thing for an adult, and that much more so to a teenager on the brink of adulthood themselves. In many cases, teenagers don’t take the virus seriously because it doesn’t seem to affect the younger population as much as the older population.
However, the lockdowns, school shutdowns, and worries from responsible adults in their lives can lead to everything from depression to substance abuse in a teenager who doesn’t get help with the anxiety this virus has caused. If your teenager is having problems with drugs or alcohol, please seek teen treatment in Santa Barbara or wherever you might live before it’s too late. In this blog, you’ll find a few tips for helping your teen manage the anxiety associated with the pandemic.
Normalize Their Anxiety
While anxiety is a perfectly normal thing, for teenagers it can be a bit overwhelming if it is not handled the right way. They tend to become worried about the fact that they are worried and then act out irrationally or become withdrawn and depressed. Make sure to stress to your teenager that anxiety and worry over the Coronavirus is perfectly normal, but that it helps to talk about it with you or another adult, instead of keeping it bottled up inside. Normalizing their anxiety doesn’t mean making light of it, however, so be careful what you say when talking about it.
Try to Distract From the Problem
Most parents know that the longer you fixate on a problem, the more anxious you become. Don’t let your teenager sit up in front of the TV watching the news. Nothing good is going to come of it. There are so many horror stories about COVID-19 in the news now that it’s best to monitor what they watch. Instead, try to distract them from the problem at hand.
Whether it’s a family game night, a day curled up on the couch watching movies, or just getting out and going for a bike ride away from people, it’s good to get away from the talk of the Coronavirus and the lockdowns for a time.
Maintain a Daily Routine
While it may be tempting to ditch your normal school-time routine in this time of crisis, a routine is more important in your teen’s life now than it ever was before. Keeping a steady routine of normal sleeping and waking times, activity, and study patterns will help your teenager feel like there is still something in the world that is normal and under their control.
Make sure your teen eats breakfast every morning and stays on schedule for eating healthy meals throughout the day as well. It’s also a good idea to monitor your teenagers’ social media accounts during this time, by making sure they aren’t obsessing over what is happening in the world. Limit the time they’re on social media for the best results when trying to help them cope with what’s going on around them.
Control Your Anxiety and Social Media Habits
Even as a teenager, kids follow your example. If you’re constantly watching the news, surfing on social media, and upset over the COVID-19 virus and lockdowns, then you can’t expect your child to be calm. Lead by example and curb your own anxiety and social media habits as well. It’ll be good for you both.
These are just a few tips for helping your teen cope with the anxiety and stress of COVID-19. Remember, lead by example, and your teenager will follow.