When is a teen happily isolated– or at least content– and when is it something a parent should be concerned about, particularly during the pandemic?
This week's question comes from Kate in our Facebook group:
When should one worry about a teenager's lack of desire to be with friends? For my 15-year-old it’s always been an issue, but since we moved two years ago, he’s been even more in the “I don’t care” camp than before. Outside of soccer and school, he doesn’t ever see friends, and says he doesn’t want to. All this is only made worse by the pandemic.
Over the last year most of us have had more access to our kids' moment-to-moment existences than we had previously. That means we’re seeing more of things that might have always been there, and are therefore fine– and things that are new to us and actually should spark our concern.
Some introverted children really are more content right now. If an adolescent is not expressing signs of depression and anxiety, than a teenager in his room all the time might be a content hermit, even if that has not been his parent's pandemic experience.
Some sadness is fine too. Sadness makes sense right now. So how can a parent tell the difference between content self-isolation, some sadness about this tough moment, and depression?
NYU child psych Dr. Aleta Angelosante offers this checklist of what to watch for in a teenager's mood:
In this episode, Amy discusses some of the behaviors to watch for, and how to address concerns you might have with your teen. Don't put off the conversation because it might go poorly; it very well may, but your loving concern will be heard.
I’m putting resources in the show notes- reach out to pediatrician- get a telehealth appointment with a professional if necessary, it can work a lot better than you’d think. one thing the pandemic has actually made easier.
Dr. Angelosante further suggests these resources for parents. If you have concerns, don't hesitate to reach out to your child's pediatrician, or to a mental health professional.
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