The pandemic has been difficult for everyone, but teenagers have had to face a unique set of challenges. With social distancing measures in place, it’s been hard for teens to stay connected with their friends and loved ones. Not only that, but they’ve also had to cope with the sudden disruption of their everyday activities, from school closures and cancelled events, to job losses and restrictions on movement. All this has left many feeling isolated, anxious, and depressed. Fortunately, as a parent, there are some things that you can do to help them navigate this post-pandemic world.
Be a Listening Ear
Listening can help teens feel heard and understood, establishing trust between parent and child that counts for a lot when times get tough. Although it may seem challenging at times to get your teen to open up about their feelings or worries, it’s important to maintain an open dialogue with them as they navigate this new normal. Don’t be afraid to ask questions like “How are you feeling right now?” or “What would make you feel better? Take them out for a hot chocolate or pancakes regularly and listen to their stories about school and any problems that they may be facing. Don’t be judgmental and always offer constructive advice where relevant.
What did we all lack during the pandemic? You got it – structure! Structure can range from basic routines around sleep, diet and exercise; to setting expectations around studying and academic performance; or providing guidance on how best to approach personal relationships. It is essential that parents use this time constructively, as it gives teenagers an opportunity to navigate life’s challenges while still having parental support. Providing structure post pandemic helps foster independence and self-confidence in your children as they learn how their decisions affect themselves and others.
Support Them Financially
Teens had to say good-bye to their part-time jobs and babysitting gigs during the pandemic and life may not have resumed to normal in that sense just yet. As a parent, it’s your job to step in and fill that void when needed. Financial support can come in various forms such as providing allowances or helping out with tuition fees and other expenses related to education. For older teens, it may mean helping them manage their debt by looking into student loan refinancing options. You can see your personalized options here and see just how much money your teen could potentially save by using this option. Everything you do for your child during this time will help to build a solid foundation for their future.
Try New Things
In the wake of the global pandemic, it is more important than ever to introduce new things to your teen. The post-pandemic world presents us with a unique opportunity to mentor our teens and help them become better prepared for life in the future. While lockdown measures might have brought some restrictions on activities and experiences, there are still plenty of ways that we can introduce something new into our teen’s lives. Exploring different cultures, learning new skills and trying out different hobbies can all be great ways to help your teen grow and develop in this post-pandemic world. There are also countless online resources which offer virtual experiences, enabling your teen to learn about a variety of topics from home. By introducing something new into their lives you will ensure that they are not stuck in a rut but instead become more open minded and willing to explore their potential.
It is more important than ever to plan some trips together now that you’re out of lockdown and able to travel again. For starters, spending quality time together away from home is a great way to reconnect after being stuck inside for so long. You will get rid of any lingering negative feelings between you two and start fresh by creating new memories together in exciting places. This is also a great opportunity to deepen your relationship by teaching them about different cultures, values, and history while exploring different cities or countries.
Help Them Cope with Frustration
After being cooped up inside for months and facing the sudden end to a familiar way of life, many teens are feeling overwhelmed and frustrated. The pandemic has taken away many freedoms that teens have come to take for granted, such as seeing friends in person or attending events. Parents can help their teen cope with this newfound frustration by taking proactive steps to create stability and normality in their lives. Some steps to follow include:
- Show empathy
- Take time-outs from stressful situations
- Encourage self-care
- Get physical
- Eat healthy food
- Create a group with their peers
- Encourage goal setting and problem solving
Make New Friends
Encourage your teen to start off slow by scheduling virtual hangouts with friends or joining a club or activity that interests them online. Doing activities together will help them get comfortable talking and interacting with people again before transitioning back into real life activities. If you’re already gone past that stage and your teen is already out mixing, it’s best to create safe environments where a couple of teens can meet together and talk about different things. Encourage him/her to mix with their classmates and other people in their groups and clubs. Sign them up for different clubs and glasses outside of school.
Help them Cope with Stress
Stress levels among teenagers are expected to remain high as schools and social lives return to normal. Parents can take a proactive approach in helping their teenage children reduce stress levels after the pandemic. After you identify strategies for managing stress in general, the first step for parents is to engage in open conversations with their teens about how they are feeling. Encourage them to express any fears or worries they may have about returning back into society. By providing a supportive environment, parents can help their teenage children work through any challenging emotions they are experiencing. Parents should also encourage healthy habits such as exercise, mindfulness activities and getting enough sleep each night. Teens should be encouraged to participate in extracurricular activities that make them feel fulfilled or connected with friends in meaningful ways.