It is no secret that there is a prevalent worry of personal health, concern for the safety of the self and others, economic uncertainty, and loneliness. Given the widespread worldview, it makes sense that people, especially teens, are finding it difficult to process their emotions and get a grasp of the changing norm. During these difficult times, allowing your teens to feel the discomfort and pain is necessary. And so is giving them an extra hand to ride the waves of anxiety.
Ways to Help Your Teen
Encourage your teens to stay in the loop with current events but with caution. Show them how to find reputable sources to prevent consuming misinformation that may increase anxiety. You can teach them to deconstruct the media they come across such as asking “who is the intended audience for this publication?”, “what messages and values are they expressing?”, “who owns this publication?”, “who paid for this media?” (consider advertisers), and “what techniques did they use for persuasion?”. Taking these steps when bombarded by negative news can help them see through bias and fear-mongering tactics, as well as give them an awareness of what precautions they should be taking and becoming prepared for the adversities they may face. The more your teen is able to discern what is accurate or relevant to them, the more they can trust and form their own opinion and plan of action.
At the adolescent stage in life, teens are fresh into learning how to regulate their emotions and how to properly express them. You may find yourself stuck in a crossfire of your teen’s anger and disappointment and, naturally, get pulled into feeling the same emotions as them. To really be supportive, it is necessary to empathize but there is a fine line between being empathetic and being a martyr of maltreatment. Let your teen know that you understand their discontent but that you will not be treated poorly to feel what they feel. Reassure them that they are free to vent so long as they do so respectfully.
Find a Therapist
If your teen has a history of depression and anxiety, especially prone to coping through self-harm and substance misuse, you need to find them a mental health provider or continue their sessions online with their current provider. For most caregivers at home, properly handling serious mental issues during times of worldwide unease is outside of your wheelhouse. And, sometimes it is too difficult for an adolescent to become vulnerable in front of their own family. A therapist can provide your teen with the confidence to open up and can act as a mediator between you and your teen when you both cannot find a reasonable medium or fair compromise. If you want to be involved in the therapy to have a better understanding of what your teen is going through and to find ways to better communicate with them, you can set up an online reoccurring family therapy session separate from your teen’s solo therapy. Or, you can find a therapist for yourself to support your mental health so that you can be in the right mind to offer help to others.
Even though you are probably in the same household with your teen throughout the day, find time to connect with each other aside from the small talk. Invest in having deep conversations about yourself and ask questions about your teen’s life. Encourage your teen to call or video chat with their friends regularly so that they do not feel alone or completely detached from the life they knew.
Many of us have been nibbling on more snacks than usual to either pass time or to grapple with hardships. But eating too much unhealthy food like processed snacks, sugar, and fried food weakens the immune system and worsens symptoms of anxiety and depression. Keep a nutritious diet for the whole family, with treats in moderation throughout the week, to keep everyone feeling well. Implementing exercise is also important. Find an activity everyone can participate in a few days a week (with moderations if needed) to help with maintaining a clear mind and strong physical body.
If you want more information on teen counseling in the San Fernando Valley, call Insight Treatment at (888) 295-9995.