Parents and teens can work together to prepare for the school year & covid- caused anxiety
Tammer Malaty, therapist and owner of Houston’s Malaty Therapy, believes many parents just don’t understand what their teenage students have been going through while trying to learn during the COVID–19 pandemic.
Malaty believes parents look at grades, attendance and other empirical facts, but sometimes forget to consider the mental shift that occurs when switching between virtual and in-person learning. He created Malaty Therapy, which has locations in Memorial and Kingwood, to help teens, young adults, and families deal with life challenging changes and behavioral problems.
Now, as students prepare for the upcoming in-person school year, some mental health professionals predict a rise in students seeking mental health-related services. Experts say that the global pandemic is a collective trauma that everybody in the world is experiencing. And children and teenagers are going through things nobody has experienced before.
Remember teens are dealing with continuous changes too
“From an academic standpoint, maybe kids viewpoints are in-line with their parents,’ as in ‘my grades are important to get into college but I don’t necessarily think what parents are worried about are the same things that the kids are worried about,” said Malaty.
After growing up around family members who have contracted COVID–19, socializing entirely through video games and social media and navigating a world through continuously changing guidelines, some mental health professionals say they are treating teens with symptoms of anxiety and depression far more often than years prior.
According to the C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital National Poll on Children’s Health at Michigan Medicine, 73 percent of parents report that COVID–19 has had a very or somewhat negative impact on their teen’s ability to interact with their friends. While 46 percent of parents also say they have noticed a new or worsening mental health conditions for their teen since the start of the pandemic.
There are a variety of factors that influence a teen’s mental health. Experts agree it’s usually a combination of what they experience at home and online.
To understand teen anxiety, one should also consider it from an economic standpoint, said Malaty, who works primarily with teens from Katy and the the Memorial area of Houston. The teens Malaty works with are from higher socio-economic backgrounds. Therefore not part of groups that have been not been disproportionally affected by COVID–19. Even though those teens are less likely to have parents lose jobs, or their lives, due to COVID–19, they still had to deal with isolation from being constantly at home.
“Kids lost their social lives. Plus many kids are spending way too much time in isolation at home. Kids who played video games a little bit started addictively playing video games or spending too much time online,” said Malaty. “So many things got exacerbated during COVID. I think to some extent we will continue to see that in this upcoming school year.”
This article excerpt is from the Houston Chronicle article written by Ryan Nickerson. Ryan Nickerson is a reporter for Houston Community Newspapers and the Houston Chronicle.
Read the full article on Chron.com: Experts: How Parents Can Help Their Teens Deal With COVID Caused Anxiety.
Want to learn more about Teen Mental Health? Go to: Mental Health Services For Teens & Young Adults.
Checkout this article for tips on how to deal with school stress and anxiety.
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