Covid 19 has forced us to reduce our interactions with others. Across the country long periods of school closures have increased depression and anxiety rates reported among many teens. How well will teens integrate back into school this fall?
It's Been a Long Time Away
Last year California experienced several stringent lock-downs and Los Angeles in particular, was hit hard by Covid cases. Our schools shut down and children and families had to adjust to at home education. Many parents did their best to balance the changes as some were asked to work at home and others lost their employment altogether. Many parents relied on their teens to step up and accomplish their daily tasks responsibly and often independently and some children may have fallen behind. We are still learning the ramifications that distant learning has had on children and we wont know the full effects until they return to school this fall. We have all adjusted to less social interactions but for teens the isolation may have longer term consequences. Social anxiety can be especially prevalent during the teen years and we will see many cases where children are hesitant to return to school due to social anxiety or adjustment issues. Adolescents may require some additional assistance and possibly professional intervention, in order to feel confident and comfortable again in a public setting.
Tips & Tools
Talk with your child about any hesitations or anxieties that they are feeling early in the year. You can start the dialog by expressing your own emotions or anxieties that you might have felt returning to a normal routine and allow the space for your child to share their emotions. Get your child thinking about their return to school, ask them what classes they look forward to taking. Open the dialog about the friends they haven't seen in awhile and try to help your child remember the things that they miss about school. Helping your child to play out scenarios requires them to explore their feelings about the topic. Go back to school shopping early! This year it is more important than ever to get this shopping done well in advance so that children have time to process any anxieties they may not be aware of yet.
Education Reintegration for Teens
Chapters Family Treatment Center has professionals available to help address social anxiety in teens. Our center has dedicated education hours in order to help adolescents catch up on their academics. Our center acts as a microcosm, offering a safe space for teens to reintegrate back into socialization and education routines.