Teens & the Reality of COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic has been emotionally devastating for adults, but the full impact on teenagers may be worse.

Today’s adolescents have their fair share of challenges—navigating social media, online bullying, social pressures to partake in drugs and alcohol, among others. All of these are enhanced by the enforced social isolation and cancellation of in-person school.

Risks from exposure to COVID-19 among children and teens is not fully understood. Even with safety protocols in place, fear of contracting the virus is still a major concern for families. Given the potential for acquiring the virus at school and then passing it to older family members or those with underlying medical conditions, is giving parents pause on whether to send their kids back.

In addition to the obvious medical concerns, teens have lost their social outlets and support systems outside of their immediate families. School sports, dances, and traditional rites of passage have been cancelled. They may find coping with this sudden loss difficult, because they will never get to do those things. School may also have been a safe space for an adolescent or teen with an unstable home life.

Teenagers and young adults have developmental motivations and needs that make it hard to isolate at home. The physical and chemical changes that take place during this time make young people highly attuned to social status and peer group. Even though some contact precautions have been put in place, the social landscape for an adolescent is vastly different in comparison to pre-COVID.

Schools have rushed to implement online learning with varying degrees of success. Teens now find themselves with a lot of down time. Without hours and hours of daily structure, teens are left to fill virtually the entire day alone. Technology provides a temporary respite, but may not be a long-term solution. No clear way to manage this schedule change has been developed and may leave students and parents feeling overwhelmed.

Parents should set aside time to truly listen to their children’s frustrations. Showing empathy for and validating their feelings will help teens cope. Parents should ask how they can support them through this time.

Some of these feelings are natural and should be expected. When these feelings and emotions disrupt a teen’s ability to complete schoolwork or assigned responsibilities at home, it may be time to seek additional help.

Chicago Behavioral Hospital specializes in adolescent mental health treatment. No cost assessments are offered 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. A licensed mental health professional will recommend the right treatment for your teen, whether it’s an inpatient stay or outpatient program. Chicago Behavioral Hospital is passionate about adolescent mental health and can provide the tools necessary for a teen to succeed.

Call today for more information: (844) 756-8600