We’ve heard a lot about elderly and people with underlying medical conditions being at high risk during this virus pandemic. Frequently we have forgotten or avoided talking about the teen population that does not fit into these two categories. The teens that are not allowed to see their friends or play sports or go anywhere.
These teens are a high-risk group for stress and anxiety and depression. They are mature enough to understand there is a risk; however, it is difficult for them to see themselves as part of the “at risk” group. Most teens are accustomed to being able to get out and do activities with their friends. It may be playing sports, jogging, walking, riding bicycles, going to movies or other activities.
Teens usually have a lot of energy. They are wonderful; full of curiosity, creativity, and adventure. They are beginning to make some mature/adult decisions about their lives. Now that this virus/pandemic has shut things down or closed them off greatly, there is pent up energy (mentally and physically). What do these teens do with this fantastic energy? Do we hold them back or help them continue their lives in a different mode?
Trauma is created in many different ways. We can say it is better to be safe than sorry. That’s true. However, we also need to consider the damage being done to people (teens) that are being “locked up” with all this mental and physical energy. Now they are cornered with lack of control over their lives and lack of experience on how to deal with this kind of shutdown. Just when they are beginning to make some adult decisions, they get stopped and stagnated. They are at a crossroad of childhood and adulthood and now they get slammed with this trauma. It’s like a train with speed and destination and out of nowhere comes this big Stop crossing. It leaves the teens in limbo especially the younger teens.
As parents and teachers and any teen leader, we are responsible for helping our teens to see a different perspective on how to live their lives in a healthy and rewarding way. How to create a life past this pandemic.
Remember: the older teens usually have a vehicle that they can go and do some things. Younger teens are stuck depending on the adults in their lives to provide them with a means of transportation. They cannot get into their cars/trucks and drive to a site to work or visit with friends. They are stuck depending on older adults who are busy with work and paying bills.
I believe teens are also a high-risk group because of the isolation and lack of control that can lead to depression, anxiety, fear, anger, sleep problems and many other issues.
In the past, their lives were going along with a bright future with school, friends, sports; then this train wreck was dumped in their way. There has been and will continue for a while to be negative effects from this virus pandemic. Thank goodness some places and activities are beginning to open up for all of us.
Note: An important part of our job as adults is to help our teens see/plan past this pandemic fear and shutdown. This is an important time to use our Cognitive Behavior Skills of communicating effectively, problem solving and team playing.
I believe our teens are highly intelligent and creative. My grandson, Christopher, contributed to this Blog. His input was helpful in acknowledging and organizing the effects of this pandemic on teens. With helpful and understanding adults, our teens will be our next generation of mature and thoughtful adults.
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