I wanted to talk to you today about change as it’s a topic that’s relevant for all of us.
The therapy that I deliver IPT-A can choose to focus on a change a person has gone through if it has led to them feeling less satisfied in relationships.
Now don’t get me wrong change is a key part of being a teenager. Most young people navigate these changes quite well and that’s fine.
But when a change happens suddenly and is thrust upon us perhaps without our permission, or the way we find out about it is hard. It can lead to us feeling anxious about the future and dis-empowered, hopeless even. We can feel sad about what is lost and find it hard to look towards a positive future.
Examples of this for young people may be;
· Changes in friendship groups
· Living arrangements
· Parents separating
What’s more, the massive upheaval of Covid-19 has completely transformed the lives of young people over the last year.
I've noticed that young people’s mental health is featuring more in the media as we begin to realise the longer-term implications of the pandemic. There is this idea of long Covid, which may cause physical health problems, but I wonder about the effects of long Covid on young people’s mental health. The world they are growing up into is very different from the world in which I did. I believe it’s our responsibility to support them and their emotional wellbeing now and in the future.
It’s interesting that adolescence is a time of exploring the world and moving away from parents, knowing that they will always be there to come back to. But my question is how young people can explore peer or romantic relationships when their freedom to meet face to face has been placed on hold. Perhaps we should be grateful for social media and the ability to talk to other young people. As parents we have the tension between asking them to spend less time on social media against wanting them to feel connected to others.
What can parents do?
It’s important that we talk about these changes and how they make us feel. In relation to Covid-19 you could talk about what life was like before the lockdown, were things better or not and in what way? Perhaps you could ask them what they miss the most.
How did they experience the way things changed, for example did they come home from school college one day and were told we were going into lockdown the next day.
Then to think about how life is now, how they are feeling about the changes caused by the lockdown and what you can do to retain a sense of normality to support them during these changes.
Talking about their feelings in proven to be extremely beneficial. You can model by talking about your own experiences and emotions.
By talking about and sharing our own thoughts and feelings we may be able to help them process what has happened and look for opportunities to help them to move forward. Yes things are different but what is good about now/today.
I believe it is our relationships that hold the key to a brighter future. Not only those within families, but also peers, the wider community or other trusted adults such as teachers.
If you feel your child may be suffering from low mood and needs more help than you can provide please seek professional help.
Thankyou for reading.