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Coronavirus pandemic taking toll on teens & families

How to help teens with mental health during the pandemic
How to help teens with mental health during the pandemic

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The cumulative effect of the coronavirus pandemic weighs heavily on just about everyone. But its impact on teens is especially hard.

A recent national study shows nearly two-thirds of 1,500 teenagers surveyed believe the anxiety associated with the pandemic will have a lasting effect on their lives.

Dr. Beth Halbert, a parenting expert known as American’s “teenologist,” joined The Morning Show on Monday to discuss the study’s findings along with her own insights.

Young people are experiencing a difficult summer unlike any other, having been denied the traditional social and sports gatherings and graduation send-offs they expected. And it weighs heavily on them, more so than many parents might realize.

“I’m concerned that the parents are more concerned about the kids than they are about themselves,” Dr. Halbert said.

Of the hundreds of teens surveyed, 45 percent described their stress levels as excessive. Another 67 percent believe it’s best to keep their feelings to themselves, so they choose to pretend everything is okay even when it’s not. Halbert said now’s a good time to discuss with children how life can be unfair at times.

“We can have that discussion,” she said. “That would be fantastic thing and also to say, ‘We’ve got this.’ So that the kids understand that the parents know they’re going to be able to bounce, they’re going to be able to pivot, and we’re going to be able to figure this out.”

“The kids are watching the parents to see if they look like they’re terrified, upset, losing it,” Halbert said. “And if we do this together as a team, these kids will not stay traumatized. If the parents stay traumatized, the children stay traumatized.”

With anxiety and stress often playing into depression, Halbert said it’s a critical time for parents to set the right example for their children and let them how important it is for people to look after themselves.

“It’s just as important for the parents to do self-care, the parents to get support, the parents to bond together, so that they can feel confident together and the children can feel safe,” she said. “Even the teenagers, even the college students.”

You can watch the entire interview using the video player above.

About the Author:

This Emmy Award-winning television, radio and newspaper journalist has anchored The Morning Show for 18 years.