Coping with trauma is never easy, and the COVID-19 pandemic has only made it worse. If your teen has been struggling through the pandemic, you may feel helpless as a parent.
How do you help your teenager cope when the pandemic is still going strong? What can you do to get through to your teen without being forceful? If you feel like you’re at a loss, it’s okay — many parents are struggling to help their kids during this time.
Fortunately, there are simple things you can do to remind your teen that they are loved, and that support is available.
1. Establish Open Communication
Parents and their teenaged children don’t always have the best communication methods. Teens tend to avoid talking to their parents, and parents assume that nothing is wrong.
If your teen is suffering from trauma, however, you can’t avoid the situation. Your teen is struggling, and you need to let them know that they can say anything to you. By establishing clear and open communication lines, your teen can find comfort in knowing that they can express themselves.
2. Check-In On Their School Performance
When someone experiences trauma, it affects nearly every aspect of their lives. Your teenager is no exception, and school is a big part of most teen’s lives. With school having been mostly remote for the past year, your teen may be struggling to keep up.
It’s also possible that they are struggling to find motivation and are falling behind. Check-in with your teenager and ask them how school is going. You may also want to contact their teachers to ensure that they aren’t falling behind because of the pandemic.
3. Encourage Physical Activity
When you feel stressed, exercise may not be a top priority. For a teen coping with trauma, however, exercise and physical activity are crucial. We can carry a great deal of trauma and stress physically.
If your teen has had aches and pains lately, it could be because of their mental health. Exercise not only helps relieve some of these physical pains, but it helps with their mental state as well.
If your teen has been depressed or anxious because of trauma, adding physical exercise to their routine will help tremendously. You don’t need to do intense exercise — going for walks, doing yoga, or even stretching can do wonders for your teen’s body and mind.
4. Maintain a Consistent Routine
When the pandemic first began, our lives shifted drastically. While your teen once had the routine of going to school, seeing friends, and enjoying extracurricular activities, the pandemic has altered it completely.
To help your teen cope with their trauma, try to maintain a steady schedule at home. By following a routine, your teen will have stability and comfort. It may also help them maintain motivation and ensure they get all of their work done.
It’s important to keep a consistent sleep schedule as well. Make sure you teen wakes up at the same time every day, no matter what time they go to sleep. This will help them get back on a regular sleep schedule.
It’s easy to fall into chaos without a routine. By ensuring that your teen maintains structure in their life, you’re helping them cope with anxiety and trauma.
5. Get Your Teenager Into Therapy
Despite your best efforts, sometimes teens need more help than what their parents can offer. If your teen is severely suffering because of the pandemic, you may want to consider having them see a therapist.
Therapy is one of the most effective ways to treat trauma, and it can help your teen work through whatever they’re going through. We don’t know exactly when life will get back to normal, so the sooner you can get your teen into therapy, the better off they’ll be. With the help of a therapist, your teen can learn coping mechanisms and come out of the pandemic stronger.
The pandemic has taken a toll on everyone, but especially teenagers. Remember to be patient with your teen and let them know that you are always there to support them. Your teen will get through this — and with your help, it’ll be that much easier for them.
Feel free to contact us at DC Metro Sleep and Psychotherapy for a free consultation to see if we could be a good fit for your family.