Recently, actor and comedian Ali Wentworth interviewed me on her podcast Go Ask Ali for her series “Growing Teens in the Pandemic.” We discussed simple steps parents can take to support teens’ mental health during – and after – the pandemic.
I told Ali that the word most teens I know use to describe 2020 is “overwhelming.”
My friend Megan, 13 said, “It seems like every month, another bad thing happened.” She cited COVID, the sudden school closing, civil unrest, worries about climate change – and then the death of a close family friend to cancer.
It took a pandemic for Megan and most other teens to realize how much day-to-day social interaction fuels their sense of connection. “In the lunchroom, we’d just have so much fun,” she explained. “Sharing each other’s food and fighting over Tater Tots.”
Remote and hybrid learning changed all that. Stephen, 13, told me Zoom is just frozen screens and an invitation to daydream through class. Both Megan and Stephen told me talking openly and honestly with their parents helps them manage feelings of anxiety and worry.
So, the pressure is on parents – already exhausted from juggling disrupted work routines and children’s ever-evolving school schedules – to foster kids’ resilience. You can listen to my conversation with Ali here.