Combatting one problem might cause another. While we need to take every precaution necessary to protect ourselves and our families, we need to do so in wise and healthy ways that promote the mental well being of our kids. The facts are clear: “School absence leads to less social interaction and can result in some children completely losing touch with friends.” The article goes on to say, “Being socially isolated is not synonymous with being lonely. However, there will often be a correlation between social isolation and loneliness. People with few contacts are more often lonelier than people with many contacts” The USA Today says it this way, “Teens aren’t socializing in the real world. And that’s making them super lonely.”
Schools have been cancelled, public meetings cancelled, many are choosing to stay inside. During this time of the Corona Virus, teens will be staying at home, some of us self quarantined, for long periods of time. As Parents we MUST be proactive to keep our kids not just physically healthy but mentally and spiritually healthy also.
There are two things we need to be proactive about:
Teens need interaction, they cannot be staring at screens all day long. We need to limit our kids screen time and we still need to go outside and get some fresh air when the weather permits. Also, I know things are stressful right now for everyone and if you are like me I’m spending more time than usual on my computer looking up articles and learning as much as I can about what’s going on. However, let’s not neglect our kids. Spend this time to slow down and play board games, play cards, laugh together. Kids more than ever need face to face time with their parents.
Our kids and teens are more vulnerable than ever right now. Teen Stress and Anxiety has been on the rise for the past 13 years! Let that sink in for a second. There are many reasons and factors but one is our world is a more stressful place! With the Corona Virus the world has been more of a stressful place than ever. Our teens are more than susceptible than ever to be negatively impacted by this outbreak.
I’m not saying we need to caudle them or baby them or put them in a bubble, however we need to be aware of the increased risk and spend more time with our teens so they will be getting the social interaction they need for their mental well being.
Social Media Usage
With the surplus extra time our teens now have, chances increase exponentially our teens will encounter harmful content or engage in inappropriate behavior. B HALTS is an acronym that describes 6 different conditions that each can cause people to engage in unhealthy behavior. They include:
Chances are very great that our teens will be many of these over the next 2 to 3 to 4 weeks. With so much free time on their hands hey will be bored. They may be angry that school is cancelled or their extracurricular activities have been cancelled. With increased isolation they may be lonely. And during this stressful time they may be stressed.
I have surveyed plenty of resources and I think Covenant Eyes is one of the best programs to help monitor and regulate our screens. I can’t recommend it enough.
I know this time is pretty uncharted territory for all of us. Their is not an instruction manual on how to do this. But let’s be aware of how the Big changes going on affects our kids. And let’s be proactive in ministering to our kids.
 https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2019/02/26/the-concerns-and-challenges-of-being-a-u-s-teen-what-the-data-show/; https://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2019/03/14/schools-grapple-with-student-depression-as-data.html