According to Ali Mattu, a clinical psychologist in Northern California and creator of popular YouTube channel The Psych Show, adolescents and young adults have a harder time psychologically than older generations because Covid has represented a larger part of their lives and “the impact” is greater. “
He explained that the teenage brain is wired to make associations quickly, and during the pandemic, some young people learned to be hypervigilant because we trained them to associate places at risk of serious illness. Since our brain only develops in their mid-twenties, young people are quickly able to react to their feelings. For some, this means “fearful avoidance”, which can be expressed in reluctance to leave the house. For others, this means a “cocky approach” that takes into account teenagers and young adults who gather exposed at parties.
Dr. Mattu said the best parents can do for teenagers and young adults who are retired is to help them develop four key skills. The first is “the ability to do things by yourself, like running errands or doing whatever needs to be done to get through your day,” based on the expectations of their family and culture. Second is “the ability to ask for help, to be vulnerable and to ask for support”; For example, by emailing a teacher yourself, or contacting a counselor or parent.
Third is “the ability to support peers because teens are really focused on their relationships with one another,” said Dr. Mattu, and often a peer is the first to know when someone is struggling. And the fourth skill is to “connect with a larger community” such as a club, organization, fandom, religious group – anything that creates purpose.
When young people take steps to re-enter the world, sometimes things will go wrong. The growth happens when they navigate their distress and try again instead of avoiding similar situations. Recently my teen asked me to drive her to meet a friend in downtown Chicago. “You can do this on your own,” I said. When she never arrived, her friend called us. Our daughter had entered the correct address in Google Maps – in the wrong city.
When we contacted her, she was lost, hysterical, and scared on the highway. “I just want to come home,” she called. Our best friends, who live near where they live, offered to go to meet them. My daughter swallowed her pride and accepted her help.
A week later, my daughter took a deep breath and went back to the freeway to meet another friend. “You are because you are resilient,” I told her as she left alone. “I couldn’t be more proud.”