The year spent in lockdown in the wake of the pandemic has been distressing for people of all age groups. But teenagers, as parents claim, are having a hard time resuming life in school. Jorge Gallegos, the parent of a seventh-grade child, says that his son was homeschooled last year and had finished his sixth grade. But now that he has joined back the school in the seventh grade, he does not have any known mates.
Teens To Recuperate From Last Year Turmoil When Parents Do So
Such difficulties among the schoolgoers have been reported by many. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, cases of emergency room visits had increased in April to October of 2020 by 31 percent. The emergency cases were all related to mental health and consisted of children between 12 and 17 years.
In the light of the children’s suffering from mental trauma, the worries of parents are justified. They have been juggling between work and family during the period of lockdown. And they also had to extend support for the children’s homeschooling.
But experts advise that parents will have to approach the year of isolation differently for the well-being of their children. Adults need to come out of the crisis mode to model resilience for their children. According to the survey report of Psychologist Suniya Luthar, children whose parents are constantly finding faults with them and staying in a bad mood are more prone to anxiety and depression. Dr. Luthar is a professor at the Columbia University. She conducted the poll along with her colleagues on 46,000 school students.
The concern of parents regarding their children’s preparedness for the future is overblown, considering the brain structure of children of this age. According to Laurence Steinberg, a psychology professor at Temple University, the brain of the middle schoolers is highly flexible, plastic, and unstable. And while this means they are vulnerable and hyper-sensitive, it also points towards their capacity to adapt.
Mental health experts believe that certain factors determine the mental health of adolescents. Some of these factors include a predisposition to mental illnesses, adversity encountered in daily life, accessibility to an adult for discussing hardships, and the ability of the parents to deal with the various crises of life.
Data also suggests that children who stayed connected to their friends virtually in the last year have a more positive outlook towards the period of isolation. And while this meant more screen time for children, social media has reportedly helped in mitigating the effects of isolation, says Dr. Steinberg.
The mental crisis experienced by teenagers has been widespread. But more than young adolescents, older teens are facing adjustment issues. A survey report was conducted in 2020 by the University of Pennsylvania’s psychologist Angela L. Duckworth and her team of 6,500 high schoolers of diverse backgrounds. And the report indicated that apart from the ninth graders, all other students showed low levels of academic, social, and emotional well-being.
Interestingly, Dr. Luthar’s research report suggests that during the spring of 2020 and 2021, the feelings of loneliness have decreased among the seventh and eighth-graders. She hypothesizes this to be the feelings of isolation that middle school brings to some, especially the introverts and the less-popular ones.
So, parents might not need to worry too much about the adjustment issues that schoolgoers are currently showing. The estrangement feelings that have accompanied the lockdown period are expected to fade away with time. But the way adults view the past year and subsequently make their children feel about it will have an important role to play.