Dealing with adolescents at home during covid19 Pandemic.


School and college closure has significantly upset the lives of students and their families and may lead to serious consequences on mental and physical health of students specially the adolescents. Having an adolescent restricted to home, during the lockdown might be exhaustive for both the parents and the child, as adolescence period has its own difficulties and challenges.

This lockdown period might lead to feelings of boredom, loneliness, sadness, aggression, and irritability towards self, siblings and other family members. They might use the internet and social websites for long hours to escape their emotional changes (mood swings). The uncertainty about exams and its impact on their career choices can worsen the stress due to the covid19 Pandemic.

Let us look into ways which could help us to deal with adolescents at home effectively:
·         
The first challenge for us could be getting the teen to act in accordance with the guidelines for social distancing. .They do not want to listen to us. They want to meet their friends often. For teenagers friends are very important and bonding with their peers is an essential developmental task.As adults we need to acknowledge the fact that you know it’s frustrating for them to be cut off from friends. It’s also important to help your teenagers understand that no one really knows yet how the virus affects people of different age groups. Listen to what they’re feeling and validate those feelings. Be empathetic.
·         Encourage them to interact with their friends over safe platforms, like telephone and social networks, with time constraints. It is important to make sure that adolescents are using social media in positive and healthy ways. Set an example of how to shut down devices on time. Children learn from what we do than say.
·         The homeschooling has added more burden on the teachers and students, due to which both are feeling pressured. Teachers could work on making study fun by conducting interactive and creative activities that can be educational.
·         Teachers/Parents can also help them to create realistic study schedules and supervise their work. Losing routines can be a big source of stress to teenagers.
·         Most painful part of the crisis could be losing joyful experiences like sports, co-curricular activities, roaming around the school/college, movie theatres, attending classes and having fun in their own way. We need to acknowledge their disappointments. Be understanding.
·         Talk about times when the world faced challenges in times of war, natural calamities, and epidemics/pandemics earlier. Discuss on ways people dealt with it. Tell them that resilience is something that is built, and they are building it.
·         Help kids think what they need to do, to help themselves feel better, and know this is a skill that will serve them well for the rest of their life. Teach your kid that, we can fix our feelings through changing how we talk to ourselves. Guide them to explore their strengths and develop better coping mechanisms.
·         See to that your child gets adequate sleep and eat healthy meals and play/exercise regularly. Use positive reinforcement (the process of establishing a pattern of behaviour by offering reward when the behaviour is exhibited) to tune them.
·         Last but not least manage your own anxiety. Anxious parents are more likely to have anxious teenagers. Before trying to support a fretful teenager, tense adults should take steps to calm their own nerves. Being calm is also contagious.

Swathi Priya.P
Counselling Psychologist

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