Dear Parents and Guardians of Madison High School Students,
August is upon us and the end of summer is in sight. As we look forward to the fall, there will be an array of emotions that you and your adolescents may experience. There is the excitement of a new school year and a new beginning, and the anticipation of good things to come. There also may be feelings of increased stress, anxiety, worry and sadness due to the social and academic pressures that schools presents...and another year of unknowns caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.
At the beginning of every school year there are students who come into school excited and ready to hit the ground running, students who have difficulty walking through the doors, students who struggle to get up in the morning, and many students who fall in-between. Covid-19 has had a significant impact on the mental health of our country and has been particularly difficult for adolescents. Many students have struggled emotionally at some point over the last year and a half, regardless of their academic accomplishments, athletic achievements or social competence.
Here are some tips for talking with your teen over the next few weeks:
- Keep the lines of communication as open. Asking about your teen’s day, their emotions, and their well-being can go a long way. Even if your teen seems annoyed or gives short or no answers, they are noticing that you care. Don’t push too hard, but don’t give up. Give them the space they need.
- When they do open up, validate their feelings, make sure they know you are listening and not judging.
- Talk with them about strategies that help them to express and manage their feeling. This could be spending time with particular friends, listening to music, reading, playing sport, drawing, cooking, writing, or even watching Netflix.
- Help them to problem solve changes that could be made, at home, school, or other settings that may decrease the pressure they are experiencing.
- Encourage a daily routine to help them feel more in control and help the day have some predictability.
Please know that it is never to early to reach out for support! Many adolescents feel more comfortable talking with adults who are not in authority, parents or guardians. If you have questions before school begins, are looking for parental resources, or are interested in learning more about counseling options for your child, feel free to contact me by calling MYFS at (203) 245-5645.
Erin Corbett, LCSW
School-Based Clinician DHHS, Madison Youth and Family Services