Impact Of Social Distancing On Teenagers
The COVID-19 pandemic has affected each and every one of us. Whether it has affected your business, your health or simply your social life, the outbreak was an unexpected occurrence that none of us prepared for. And this is apparent for all ages; kids are no longer attending school, adults may be cooped up at home wondering when their duties will resume at work and teens won’t be able to socialise like they once did at school and during personal time.
Although this may seem like a minor issue, lack of socialisation can have a massive impact on a teenager’s mental health, especially if they are an outgoing person who thrives off of others’ company. If you want to find out more about how this change of lifestyle could be affecting your teen, continue reading.
This blog post is going to explore the impact of social distancing on teenagers, as well as give you guidance on how to help them overcome this change so that post-lockdown, they will be ready to go back to reality and continue thriving in social situations.
Social Distancing For Teenagers
As a teenager, socialising is a preeminent part of your life. You are learning who you are, who you want to become, and hanging out with friends more than ever. Socialising is also a healthy and vital element of self-development at this age. Being at school and in several social situations that require you to communicate with others daily, you become immune to this way of life.
While this is entirely normal for teenagers who can use social situations as a way of developing and learning about themselves and their future, now that lockdown has hit, this will have come to an automatic stop. Yes, meeting up with a friend and keeping 2m apart is technically acceptable according to Boris Johnson’s speech which was made on Sunday, May 10th, but these limits can dampen a social experience, especially as there is less choice of activities to do.
Without having this daily dose of human interaction, teenagers can start to feel isolated and lonely. Now that they are no longer able to create memories with their peers which, like us adults know, is a massive part of these young ages, teens may begin to lash out and become sad.
For those teens whose birthdays or related celebrations hit during the lockdown, this can also cause massive disappointment, especially as at this age, you are more likely to push the boat out when celebrating such occasions. If you’re a parent of a teen who is now struggling with the same issues due to not attending school or meeting up with friends at the weekend, see below for how you can support them during this tough and unexpected time.
It Calls for a Celebration!
If your teenager had a celebration planned that happened to fall on a date that is now dampened by the lockdown, don’t let this stop you from celebrating this special occasion. Prom, sweet 16’s and even hitting the big 18th birthday are just a few examples of events that your son or daughter could have been looking forward to.
While there is a chance that these events can be rescheduled, some official ones may be cancelled altogether. Not only that but sometimes, rescheduling events can take the magic out of them too. So, why not throw a virtual celebration instead? Although they aren’t as effective as in-person events, they still allow your teenager to celebrate with those closest to them.
Try a cocktail making class over Zoom for their 18th or hop onto Houseparty and organise a dance-off for them and their friends as they recreate a YouTube dance routine; the possibilities are endless. These alternative options to the usual events will still have your teen laughing and socialising.
As a parent, it is imperative that you don’t force these ideas onto your child, but instead, be supportive in organising one if they feel it’s the best solution. Remember to reassure them that this is just a temporary option and that they will be able to experience their special day as they hoped once deemed possible.
As their parent, you must be there for them during this struggling time. By reassuring them and reminding them how lucky they are to be healthy during a global pandemic, you will give them a sense of feeling thankful. Don’t persist in saying that their troubles aren’t worth being upset over, however, as they are entitled to feel disappointment for situations that meant a lot to them, even if they seem minor to you.
Whether that means hopping on Xbox live or having a catch up with their friends on a Facebook group chat, giving them the option of socialising online will help ease the negative emotions connected to lockdown.
Although there is a fine line between utilising technology and becoming addicted to being social online, by allowing them to keep in contact with their friends, they will scratch that itch that they have been feeling since parting ways from them.
There is a fine line between sadness and depression, especially when teenagers are prone to so many hormonal changes. However, as a parent, it is crucial that you keep an eye out for behavioural changes that could flag up symptoms of depression.
If they want to be consistently alone when in usual circumstances, they are surrounded by friends, this may or may not be a red flag. At this moment in time, they are looking for ways to cope with the situation, and if alone time is helping, you must give that to them.
On the other hand, if you barely see them for weeks or they’re sleeping for most of the day, it may be time to consciously check in with your teenager regularly, and offer them support if needed. If these depressive symptoms persist, the lockdown could be taking a severe toll on your child’s mental health.
How I Can Help
If the impact of social distancing on your teenager is beginning to feel like it’s taking serious effect on their mental health, seeking professional help may be the solution. As a counsellor, I am fully aware of the struggles that come hand in hand with such isolating situations, and I make it my endeavour to support my clients in finding a solution to overcoming negative emotions so that moving forward, they can continue in the right path.
I will work alongside your teenager to identify the issue at hand before exploring ways in which we can resolve or at least accept these thoughts and feelings so that post-lockdown, they can resume their life as it once was. I am currently offering online counselling sessions for those who need this support while also abiding by social distancing and lockdown regulations. Contact me today on 07914 952723 for further information on my services or for any advice that you require.