The coronavirus pandemic can provide lessons of grit, resilience, growth to our teens

Connecticut Families

(WTNH) — The coronavirus pandemic and the social-distancing measures that go along with it could teach valuable lessons to our children. News 8’s Sarah Cody spoke with a psychologist about the idea.

Alicia Farrell, a cognitive psychologist in Old Saybrook, recently wrote a blog post titled “Right Here, Right Now.” She believes the coronavirus pandemic could help us get back to the basics and really discover what matters most.

“Teens have been struggling for a long time, I’ve seen it in my practice. It’s been disturbing, actually, how easy life has become and how difficult it’s been for teens in particular,” she says. “Most of the noise in their lives, like social media and expectations in our culture, is really not important. What’s most important is all of us, each other.”

She says, normally parents need to make an effort to allow their children to sort out their troubles themselves. But, now, we are in a collective crisis, on a scale we haven’t seen in years.

“It’s a wonderful opportunity to model and help our children find their grit and resilience and realize that as difficult as this is for all of us that we’re going to be OK and figure things out,” she says. “Stress and anxiety is a normal part of life, adversity is a normal part of life, suffering is a normal part of life…what they’ll discover over the course of this is that they’re strong and capable and that they’re flexible and they can be OK, even when things are really difficult.”

Instead of delivering information, ask questions, draw teens out. Try not to judge. They need to feel heard and understood.

“We’re all trapped in the house! I imagine families are having dinner together which is a wonderful thing. They have time to do so and that’s a wonderful time to connect with teens,” says Farrell. “Even as bad as it is around the world right now, we can persevere we can be strong.”

Farrell says a great way to ease anxiety in ourselves – and our kids – is to live in the here and now. Focus on what’s really important in this moment.


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