Teens and Anxiety During COVID-19

Published: Jun. 14, 2020 at 6:18 AM CDT
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Being a teenager is hard enough. Now the COVID-19 crisis is making it even more challenging for some. From fear of the unknown to loneliness caused by isolation, your teen is probably dealing with some big emotions.

Teens went from enjoying school, hobbies, and friends to spending all their time cooped up at home and many parents are realizing the coronavirus may be fueling anxiety.

Oksana Hagerty, PhD, assistant director of the center for student success and psychologist at Beacon College said, "We have to spend more time with our children than we ever did before and we discover that maybe, maybe we don't know them as well as we thought we did."

Some signs: constant fear or worry, physical problems like chronic headaches or stomachaches, a change in your child's personality, such as irritability, difficulty sleeping, panic attacks, or withdrawing from activities.

"Like oh, maybe I shouldn't go to college or maybe I shouldn't pursue that major or maybe I should change something, maybe I should downsize. These are the signs of withdrawing", Hagerty told Ivanhoe.

So how can you help? First recognize that their lives are turned upside down and anxiety is normal. Let them work through their feelings. Make sure they're getting enough exercise and sleep. And help them find creative ways to connect with their friends like Facetime or Zoom. Talk about their concerns a lot and offer positive feedback.

"So, catch them being good, spend more time with your child, be more attentive to your child, and build on his or her strengths", Hagerty said.

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, about 25 percent of 13 to 18-year old's have an anxiety disorder.

Contributors to this news report include: Cyndy McGrath, Executive Producer; Julie Marks, Field Producer; Roque Correa, Editor.