Children ages 10 through 19 are adolescents. During adolescence, children go through puberty. Adolescents experience significant physical, emotional, and mental changes as they transition from children to adults.
Helping kids navigate adolescence can be challenging. The coronavirus pandemic’s impact on how people work and live has increased the struggles kids face during adolescence. Parents can use these strategies to help their kids get through the challenges 2021 holds.
Support your adolescent’s physical health.
The coronavirus pandemic has created several challenges for families. Your kids may be struggling with their physical health because it’s hard to get regular exercise if your community is on lockdown or schools have implemented remote learning.
Promote physical activity by streaming yoga or Zumba classes. Go hiking, cross-country skiing, or snowshoeing in remote areas where you can maintain a safe social distance from others.
2021 may be the perfect time to explore the cost of braces for a child. Children who need or have braces may be teased. Adolescents who get braces also have to learn how to care for their dental health. For example, food can get stuck in braces. If this happens, the food will decay and can cause unpleasant odors or gum disease. If your kids are enrolled in remote learning, you may have more time to help them learn how to care for their dental health and adjust to their braces.
You can choose from metal, clear, and Invisalign braces and may be able to significantly reduce the amount of time your kids will have to wear braces when they return to school. Braces can cost over $4,500, but it’s possible to spread the costs out with a three-year payment plan. The cost of braces may also be covered by your insurance plan. Orthodontists offer free consultations, which means you can make an informed decision before getting braces for your kids.
Look after your kids’ mental health.
Mental health issues affect 20% of teenagers, and almost four out of every five students with mental illness do not receive help. Common mental health challenges that affect adolescents include depression, anxiety, and social phobias.
Familiarize yourself with the symptoms of mental illness in teens. If your kids are always in a bad mood they could be struggling with mental health issues. Irritability, a shortened attention span, and fatigue could indicate your kids are struggling with anxiety. Social anxiety disorder symptoms include prolonged anxiety about social interactions days or weeks before the event. Irritability, fatigue, and suicidal thoughts could indicate your kids are depressed.
Discuss any concerns you have with your family doctor. Adolescents are experiencing higher levels of stress, anxiety, and depression due to the coronavirus pandemic, and your family physician may be able to refer you to a suitable therapist who can help. Licensed therapists can meet with their kids via telephone or video chat. You can opt for solo sessions, family counseling, or a combination of the two. Talking to a therapist can provide a safe outlet for your kids’ frustrations. Your kids may also feel more comfortable discussing personal matters with someone outside your home. If your kids aren’t comfortable talking to a stranger, you may be able to arrange for teletherapy from your minister.
Teach your kids how to learn online.
Many schools have implemented remote learning practices due to the pandemic. Don’t assume that your kids are equipped with the best practices for learning online, even if they usually spend a lot of time on social media. You can support your kids’ remote learning journey by ensuring they have the resources they need, such as Internet access, a computer, and a quiet area to study.
Ask online instructors and online learners for tips to promote your kids’ learning experiences. If you have a small home or kids who share bedrooms, you may opt to invest in noise-canceling headphones. Help your kids create a schedule to ensure they attend workshops and lectures and hand in assignments on time. You could introduce them to a calendar or scheduling app to help them keep track of their due dates and efficiently manage their study time.
Promote social interaction with peers.
Many schools and community organizations have suspended extracurricular activities. If your kids participated in sports or school clubs, they might be struggling with isolation and boredom caused by pandemic restrictions. Find ways to promote safe interaction. When the weather’s suitable, you can invite one or two of your adolescent’s friends over to interact outside.
You can also invest in a gaming system so your kids can play video games with their friends. Adolescents can also interact with friends via chat apps, such as Zoom. Network with other parents and create a private Discord group where your kids can communicate with their friends from school. Using a private Discord group can be an effective way of protecting your kids from social media risks while enabling them to maintain their friendships.
Promote open communication and acceptance.
Being a good listener will go a long way towards promoting healthy communication in your home. Your kids will be more likely to tell you about personal or academic issues if you promote open dialogue and integrate opportunities to talk into your daily life. If you know what’s going on in your kids’ lives, you may be able to intervene or provide them with the resources they need to address their problems.
Accept your kids for who they are. When you listen to your kids without judgment, your kids will feel safe. When your kids make mistakes, they won’t talk to you or come to you for help if they think they’ll be criticized or rejected. Acceptance also promotes trust. Acceptance also promotes self-confidence. Parental acceptance promotes the belief that you’re confident they can change, grow, and improve. Consequently, kids who feel accepted are more likely to try new things and strive for improvement. Kids who are judged and condemned are more likely to give up.
Address your marital and personal issues.
It’s hard to help your kids if you’re struggling with personal challenges. Address your own physical and mental health needs. You may feel better if you can take a break from hours of housework, get outside, and enjoy some fresh air regularly. Go on walks or take up gardening. You may also benefit from counseling from a qualified therapist and opt to use video chats to interact with friends you can’t see in person.
Working on your marriage is another way to promote a stable environment for your kids. Focus on being present and interacting with your spouse and kids. Wondering how to be a better husband or wife? Promote open communication and be thoughtful. When you spend time concentrating on your partner’s needs, they’ll feel valued, and it will strengthen your relationship. You can also promote a healthy sex life by engaging in foreplay and meeting with a couples therapist.
Help your kids get through adolescence in 2021 by promoting their physical, emotional, and social health. Equip your kids with the skills they need to learn online and focus on creating a stable, loving home environment where they feel secure to help them navigate this transitional period on their journey to adulthood.