Parents and educators are as ‘over’ this school year as the students are. The Erika’s Lighthouse team has read countless parent posts on various websites saying the same thing; they are beside themselves witnessing their once-strong student now struggling or losing complete interest in school. This is true of all learning methods — online, in-person or hybrid. In addition, some parents are reporting that their once very social children are feeling isolated and alone.
Thanks to vaccine availability rising and infection rates decreasing in most areas, the summer of 2021 may well be a post-Covid summer. Walking around the neighborhoods, we can witness what looks like normalcy again–kids playing at the parks, sports teams practicing in the fields, restaurants filling up, and maskless bike riders enjoying fresh air and time with friends.
This year has been a challenge for everyone. We have all had to learn to pivot and adapt to the ever-changing world and rules around us. For our kids, it means they have had to develop resilience! Through these ordeals, teens have gained maturity, adaptability, and strength which often takes much more life experience.
Before this year, when kids think of strength, they likely think of an image of physical strength- an athlete with bulging muscles. They probably don’t yet realize that they have developed a strength that no gym can produce and no TikTok video can ever demonstrate. They have developed emotional strength. And while it may have felt like quite a challenge to get to this point, it will be a lifelong skill that will serve them well. To that end, as muscles need it for physical strength, the mind needs rest for optimal growth. Please keep that in mind this summer when you observe your teen taking time to decompress.
Time to process
Activities may be returning to what we remember as normal. But we may not bounce back as quickly emotionally. During the pandemic, we have all felt we lost out on something–time, events, connections. Our teens have missed priceless time with their friends, sports, camps, dances, holidays with their family, vacations, and many other milestones of youth. Some have experienced the loss of family members or friendships. This is a lot to process and they may need time, a listening ear, or maybe even some space.
As trusted adults, our first instinct is to jump in and do what we can to make them feel better. We may try to change their thinking to not dwell but to move forward. While this may work well for some, others are going to have to process things at their own pace. While we are usually driven to keep our kids busy and excelling in sports and staying ahead in school activities, don’t underestimate the value of just letting them be! Remind them, they can do VIRTUALLY anything.
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Based on the New York Times article