Be yourself; everyone else is already taken” Oscar Wilde

Teenage years can be very trying. Not yet an adult and no longer a child. Teenagers long for their independence and to be treated like an adult. All the time trying to navigate their way through school, what to do with the rest of their lives. Trying to fit in with their friends. And it can be really shocking for teenagers as their bodies start to develop and become more adult-like when they might not be fully ready or prepared for those changes. And the hormones raging through their bodies. There is a lot of change and processing that our teenagers are working with. Is it any wonder that one minute they have outburst of frustration and anger and another they are crying, moody, or sullen. 

Then throw a pandemic into the mix .. school gets disrupted, colleges close, exams get cancelled, there’s no where to go, cannot see their friends, and all support services such counselling are so packed up. For our teenagers there is No release, no where to express their feelings, worries, to get a bit of headspace.

We are all welcoming our new found freedom as we slowly start to re-open. And we welcome our new normality. However, it is now that last 18 months are hitting all of us. What we have been through and trying to make sense of it all. Feelings of loss, our trauma, is particularly true for our teens and young people.

“a tsunami of mental health need will arise sometime after the initial pandemic peak, will persist for months to years afterwards and will be compounded by the economic impact of the pandemic” HSE Specialist

 

1. Make the time to talk 

 Making the time to talk should be given priority. It might be that your family all have dinner together. And this is the time when you catch up with one another. Or just make space at different times to listen to your child. Even if you are being rejected. You must persist. If your young person does not like to talk find another way that suits you both. Maybe they can draw, or write a letter. 
 
 

 

2. Never dismiss how they are feeling

You should never dismiss how any person in particular your young person might be feeling. If you do, they might never share these thoughts with you again. Remember, you do not have to manage, or find a solution. You just have to listen to what they have to say. Let them know that what they are feeling is relevant. Avoid saying, “it’s no big deal”, “Everyone is feeling low”, “You have nothing to worry about”. Support your young person. Maybe share a memory from school or growing up when you felt similarly. Let them know they can talk to you. And that what they feel is relevant and valued. 

 

3. Praise them 

 

 It is the journey, going through the process where the real learning happens for all of us. This is the same for young people. Praise them for their efforts. Praise them when they might have slips. Praise them for when they keep going. By giving praise you will get more positive results and change. And your young person is learning on their journey to make that change. And learning from you too.
 

4. Giving them strategies for positive self-talk

 
Working together you and your young person could create  a list of positive self talk statements. Such as “Today I am a leader”, “I am enough”, “I believe in my abilities and my creativity”. You could do 6 each. You could discuss when you could use your statements. And maybe you could both practise this positive self talk journey together. Keep a journal on the journey. 

 

5. Goal Mapping to achieve goals 

Making a chart for the wall. And writing the goal that your young person wants to achieve. You can break into smaller steps. And you can celebrate each step on the way to the bigger goal. 

 

6. Breathing together 

Simple breathing techniques are essential because they ground you. This one is so easy to try: Breath in for 4 and out for 8. Practise this together. And then when they are in a pressured situation or they are feeling anxious they are ready to use it. 
 
 

 

Adrienne Lee M.A, HDIP, A.I.B.S.D, LLSMD 

Having worked in the Drama and Education sector for more than a decade. I know first hand know the power of Drama and Play. And the impact that this can have for all children, young people, teens, and adults. It is my mission for every student that works with us will have the opportunity to explore their creativity, and to experience the freedom to be themselves, And the headspace to develop the whole of their personalities. 

To find out how we can work with you 

https://playact.ie/

adrienne@playact.ie 

 

 

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