Uncertainty has hit the world, but it has shot differently to the teenagers. Remember how most of us grew up and have stories of our colleges, good-bye, welcomes, and all in between. Now imagine what the teens must go through when they live the phase of making memories but cannot make one just because of social distancing or isolation. It is a difficult transition of redefining social lives for everyone but adolescents and teens. It’s even more difficult because the year has abruptly come to a halt, and they are missing a lot of milestones of their life.
It is also becoming difficult for parents to handle the situations and struggle to reduce the social distancing blues. A pandemic is real, but it is essential to consider this stage their teens, kids, or even adults are going through. This stage is of their social connections, experiences, milestones, or we can say a crucial part of their development and network. Not going to see a friend, play sports, perform at an event, or debut in a school game and dashed hopes of walking across the stage for convocation. Now, this brings fear of missing out on some turning points. As a result of this, there can be a significant impact on teens’ social and mental health, who might even turn introverted after such a drastic change in social definitions. To learn to live in this new normal, which is easy to say but hard to implement, one must find ways to cope with the social distancing blues.
Here are some ways and tips for coping up with the impact of social distancing blues:
- Acknowledge, consider, and Empathise: Remember, we all are in this together and no feeling sense right or wrong. Every emotion is the outcome of the feeling, and it is essential to acknowledge what you, your teen, is going through. Try to understand what their miss out phobia is, consider their thought process, and empathize. Do not overload them with things like “you are blessed to be safe in this pandemic.” “People out there don’t have money, and your crib about missed dance classes’. ‘ No, this is not going to help your teens, kids from feeling positive. Sit and acknowledge their sorrows, try giving them a different direction or diversion but don’t be inconsiderate or rude.
Be an ear to listen and provide ways to remain positive in these stressful times. Remember that they will react to what you say and how you say it. So ensure your reaction does not cause overthinking. Rather discuss their plans, ideas, and how they are looking forward.
- Stick to regular routines and Structure the day: Even though the pandemic has changed our lives in many ways, one should not think of giving up on their everyday tasks and work. It’s just everything has been replaced by a virtual space and has not been halted. Your teens must have a structured day and follow a healthy routine—set boundaries and timelines of all the tasks they have.
Set school hours and make sure you don’t bother them about it the whole day. Keep a decent time for the screen time. Also, focus on exercising or physical activity. Make sure your kids are active and staying productive. Design their routine, reward them. Inculcate healthy food habits. And last but not least, ensure a decent bedtime and wake up time. The most impacted part of the day is the sleep schedules, and if your teens are not following a healthy rest, they definitely can’t stick to the said schedule.
All of this is essential but will only sound attractive to the teens when there is time to unplug. So don’t just be a strict parent or peer. Make sure there is room for leniency and scope of enjoying the day just as is.
- Reconnect and spend time: Pandemic has given us all a chance to spend time as a family unit. In our busy lives, it was just the weekend that helped us sync our times at home and spend time with each other. Understandably, work from the home norm might have increased the working hours even though it reduced commute time, but it’s more than essential to set boundaries when to turn off the work and turn on uninterrupted time with your teens.
You have been lately disconnected from your teens what they play, watch or enjoy but now is when you have a chance to play along with them. You might not be familiar with a movie night, gunfight but it’s always fulfilling to take it your teen’s way. May it be a board game or just a fun karaoke night, don’t say NO. Your teens are finding company and trying to find friends in you, so play along and make them happy.
- Indulge in alternative celebrations/activities: A Lot of us have planned our family vacations. Your teens, too, have been planning around going on treks, one-day trips, or even holidays. Even though they have accepted that this is not going to happen this year, they mustn’t live with that thought always in the back of their mind. Here is your role in finding alternatives that will make them forget about the vacation and enjoy the quality time at home relaxing and happy.
- Host a small party for your teens at home.
- Dress and do a photo shoot.
- Revisit old memories and pictures and laugh with them.
- Indulge in small creative activities like DIY, scribbling, or painting.
Celebrate the occasions at home or make any day an experience to get away with the boredom. Remember, the teen is already comfortable with social media and virtual space, so plan it without hesitation. Please don’t ignore the need to let teens know that they can always celebrate occasions later in person we are over this pandemic.
- Watch on the information being fed: While it’s essential to cope with the impact, finding sources that are depressing the teen or overloading with negativity is significant. During the coronavirus outbreak, the only hot topic worldwide, news, and advertisement is negativity. In such situations, many things have been disturbing the minds of teens like loved ones are in danger or may die, Relationships, and communication among family members. Fear of Separation from parents or caregivers, what if any emergency knocks on their door? Etc. These thoughts only come to one’s mind when it is heard, seen about the possibilities. During typical situations, when there is a small disease, the rumors are endless, and now this is a pandemic, so all the media houses, social apps are bombarding your teens with the same. Limiting the exposure to news information could help filter out the right awareness and prove soothing to the mind and bring calm.
- Learn and teach acceptance: You won’t be able to handle your teen’s blues until you are not prepared. Most importantly, you need to accept that this has happened to all of us, and we will get through. Don’t get irritated or frustrated in front of your teens about the pandemic because if they see you have lost hope, they will get more blues. So the best way will be to teach them practically about the scenario and how it will be controlled in the future even if it’s uncertain.
Teach them the new normal is something we all have to accept, and that’s the only practical solution we all have right now. You also need to take the technology and learn that teens will have more screen time because of the virtual shift. Allow them their privacy time, promote online socializing by asking them to face time with their friends and family. Let them have an extra hour for them surfing videos and don’t bother them for their usage.
- Work on mindfulness: Even though you would try to make things right for them, peace is within, and they need to work on calming their mind on their own. Promote meditation, ask them to spend time on apps that would help reduce their overthinking. Practice mindfulness together if possible. Indulge in expressing gratitude along with them. Share the relaxing music choice of yours or try theirs. Thus spend some part of your day working on mindfulness to calm your mind and theirs too.
It is difficult but not impossible to handle your teens and help them cope with the social distancing blues. It had been an uncertain event all around the world. But even if the pandemic is real and involves physical harm, remembers the fear and atmosphere it created has a significant impact on mental health. Humans are social, and restricting humans by distancing is the most disturbing thing to the human mind. But all of this can be accepted and understood by an adult or older adult while teens still can feel upset and unhappy with the new normal.
Changing their state of mind is a challenge, but since we all stay at home, it’s in the parents’ hands, peers to make the environment lively and make them feel that this is temporary and the new normal is a practical approach to adopt without losing hope.