Teens are struggling with social distancing.
It has been about a month since schools closed due to the COVID-19 crisis. Teens have been basically “grounded” until further notice:
- No hanging out with friends and not even being able to see them at school.
- No going to the mall, no parties, and no movies.
- Sports and extracurricular activities have been canceled.
- Prom and graduation have been canceled!
- Leaving the house is only allowed when it is to exercise or walk the dog.
- Must continue to do school work online, alone, by accessing several different websites that sometimes do not work and still complete assignments in a timely manner. No live teacher available for help.
- Their parents are stressed and are working from home.
- Their siblings are also home and are getting on their nerves.
The reality is that this crisis has affected all of us in some way. However, social distancing is especially hard on teens because it is basically interrupting a stage in their social and emotional development.
Adolescence is when we learn to manage emotions and relationships, look for approval and peer acceptance, explore freedom and independence, and work on self-expression.
Social distancing due to the COVID-19 crisis has teens feeling:
- Anxious due to the uncertainty of when life will return to normal, or what that is going to look like.
- Struggling to stay on top of their school work, lacking motivation or having difficulty staying focused.
- Their sleeping patterns are off.
- Missing social connection and support.
Adolescence is tough, we already have a youth mental health crisis and are now our kids are living through a global pandemic! They need support now more than ever.
I am Andrea Vargas, Licensed Mental Health Counselor, I have specialized in children and adolescents for the past 14 years. I am now offering support groups online for teens in South Florida during the COVID-19 crisis. These online support groups are a safe space for teens to connect with peers, share their feelings and experiences during this crisis, and learn healthy coping strategies using interactive activities.