Community Psychiatric Centers
Monroeville, Greensburg, Monessen, and Wilkinsburg Pittsburgh
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December 28, 2020

Is Your Teen Depressed, or Is It The Lock-down, or Both?

I write about improving self-esteem and academics in my new book, Managing the 5 Most Challenging Childhood Behavioral Health Conditions of Our Day, and clearly we face a particularly difficult situation with our present-day pandemic and school-hybrid/lock-down situation.

The impact of lock-down

I am seeing more kids and teens struggling with their ‘down’ mood, lack of productivity, declining grades, and deflating self-esteem. The teen appears depressed, and parents are alarmed and unsure of how to manage the situation.

Is it really depression?

The situation in which we find ourselves is, well, quite depressing. It would not be surprising that, as a result, our kids are feeling somewhat down in mood. In that respect, teens are more prone to confine in their room essentially all day, sometimes even stay in bed to complete their classwork, are tempted by a multitude of distractions in their room and home that interfere with assignments and, as a result, their grades are dropping, they don’t see their friends and lack the stimulation of the outside world, and are ultimately faced with bickering parents that results in a stressful family dynamic. In this scenario, nobody wins.

Is this inevitable?

No, it’s not across the board. Some children and parents are doing well and, in that respect, enjoying the lock-down and working from home, which is wonderful for them.

Is there a target audience?

Yes, it seems that teens are more negatively impacted, as well as select children with more notable developmental issues. In that respect, children are more likely, than teens, to be ‘happy little campers’ who tend to engage with their family. However, teens are more inclined to remain in their room, even when there is no pandemic. Consequently, with the current school-hybrid situations, and lockdowns, the teen remains isolated in their room for far longer periods of time. Additionally, children with some developmental issues, including autism, need direct instruction in the classroom with trained teachers, and, in the absence of such, they notably suffer. In fact, from what I see, the damage of this hybrid system, and lock-down, predominately outweigh potential benefits, but that’s just me.

What to do?

During my discussions with parents and teens, a particular regimen is discussed. The more the teen adheres to this regimen, the better off they will be. The protocol includes:

  • Setting an alarm for at least 30 minutes before logging-in to school. This provides time to wash-up, groom, get properly dressed for the day, eat breakfast, and prepare for class.
  • Establish a workplace outside of the bedroom, preferably where parents are available.
  • Establish a consistent ‘after school’ schedule to complete homework and study time.
  • Schedule out-of-the-home time to see friends and be involved in other activities.

Summing it up

We are all facing difficult times and hoping this will soon pass. In the meantime, our kids need to be out-of-their room; dressed and groomed; prepared to start the school day in an organized work-space, adhere to a schedule, and active. Of course, you may have more success in some areas than others with your teen, but every bit helps.

God bless you and your family during these times, and God-speed for a return to normalcy.

Connecting you, your community, your world, one family at a time.

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