The pandemic has presented some interesting dynamics when it comes to adolescents and teens who are going through puberty. In the beginning, the pandemic was a silver lining as adolescents going through puberty were experiencing it at home when nearly all schooling was virtual. But now, it seems somewhat of a double-edged sword. Adolescents have been away from their peers for some time and may be nervous about seeing their classmates after going through these changes in a bubble.
While many adolescents were probably missing their peers at the beginning of the pandemic, school settings are not always the healthiest places to learn about bodily changes. When breasts start developing and male voices start to crack, an awkward comparison begins to happen between adolescents. They become very conscious of who is experiencing puberty and who is not. By being in the safety of their own home, adolescents are relieved from these challenging situations and the emotions that come with them.
Experiencing puberty at home is a great opportunity for parents to talk with their adolescents about what is going on. These conversations may not be less awkward because of the pandemic, but parents have probably been spending more time with their children due to the circumstances. A good way to engage is by offering to answer any questions they may have about their changing body and provide them will books. By allowing adolescents time and space to approach questions their way, it’s more comfortable and parents can demonstrate that they won’t make a big deal out of the situation.
Being at home provided comfort for those experiencing puberty but now a return to in-person learning is occurring across the US and this carries some fresh concerns. This transition is going to carry mixed emotions for adolescents who are going through puberty. Are they going to be able to adjust to their peers seeing them with acne, braces, having gained weight? These issues around their self-image, anxiety about returning to school, and fitting in are driving up the occurrence of mental health issues in these adolescents.
This is an important time to continue with the dialogue that may have been started around experiencing puberty while at home. Recognizing that going back to school will most likely cause anxiety and trepidation with your adolescent. Sit down and have a conversation about them returning to school. Approach it by stating that you have heard other adolescents are nervous or if you were in their shoes, you would be nervous, too. This will be a good way to keep a pulse on how they are doing emotionally and to look for any warning signs. If anything pops up that is cause for concern, don’t hesitate to reach out for help. It is better to assume that they are NOT okay when in actuality they are.
If you are worried about the wellbeing of your child, Alleviant Health Centers offers comprehensive psychotherapy services. Call today to schedule a free consultation today to find out more and be matched with the best therapist for your child’s needs.