We are starting to see an increase in Covid restrictions again and the cracks are showing. Parents are telling us that they are not ok and many are concerned about the mental health of their children, both young ones and teenagers. We are in a period of collective mourning with many of us grieving our loss of certainty, of social interaction, of familiar habits and routines. We want our old lives back and we want it now.
It is helpful to understand that grief is a process which will see us going through a number of stages. Unfortunately, it is not linear so we can’t tick the box once we have moved through a stage, and there are certainly no timelines to it. This said, we can gain a sense of relief if we understand what is happening, explain it to our children and give ourselves permission to fully experience our feelings.
The Kublor-Ross Grief Cycle includes five different stages:- DENIAL (this virus won’t affect us); ANGER (how dare it ruin our lives like this); SADNESS (I am really missing my friends); BARGAINING (if we accept three weeks isolation then it will be fine?), ACCEPTANCE (it’s happening). Scott Berinato, who worked with Elisabeth Kublor-Ross when she developed this model, has added a sixth stage, MEANING, which we like because it builds optimism. What is the meaning in this experience? Perhaps it is the big wake up call we needed to realise how quickly the atmosphere improves when we reduce air traffic. Perhaps it is the realisation that relationships are so much more important than possessions and that it is possible to maintain those relationships despite social distancing. Perhaps it is the opportunity we have to help our children develop those all important soft skills. Finding our meaning and helping our children to find theirs will increase feelings of optimism and build our resilience.
It is helpful to understand that our children may well be spinning through the grief cycle and feeling all of these big emotions but they might not have the awareness or maturity to process them. They need help from us in the form of an empathic, listening ear and reassurance. See if you can work out where they are and talk to them about it. Explain how in times of huge change and stress it takes time for us to adapt but we can help ourselves by talking about our experience, focusing on the things we can control, looking for the positives, keeping life in balance, establishing some form of structure to our days, exercising and sleeping well and if all else fails hang on to the certainty that this will pass and perhaps our new norm will be something to celebrate.
More resources are available on The Wellbeing Hub.
To support your child through adolescence and help your family during this very challenging time, you may like to know that we are delivering monthly parenting webinars and resources.
Keep up to date on our latest insights, guidance and tips
Prospective memory develops during childhood and adolescence through to our mid-twenties, but during the teenage years other factors come into play which make it less reliable in certain circumstances. Teenagers need to become increasingly independent in preparation for leaving home and prospective memory plays an important role in helping them achieve this goal. Alicia explains the relationship between prospective memory, alcohol and decision making, and shares tips on how to prevent lapses of prospective memory.
We are delighted to share this blog written by Katrina Judge from Young Climate Warriors on how to counter eco-anxiety and support your child/ren. This resource is also available in The Wellbeing Hub for parents, pupils and staff.
To mark Mental Health Awareness Week 2022, we thought we’d share this blog written by Clare Nicholas on negative thought patterns. Clare shares her advice on how to manage negative thought patterns, practise self-care, and notice your positive attributes. This is a great one to share with your child/pupils.
It is hard living with ME/CFS, patients feel really unwell and miss out on day-to-day life because they simply don’t have the energy to participate. People with ME/CFS often have to make major lifestyle changes to manage their illness, and all of this can make them more susceptible to developing mental health issues, such as depression. Alicia discusses what ME/CFS is, and gives practical tips for parents with children with ME/CFS.
The past two years have taken their toll on the wellbeing of so many people and the last thing we all needed was more uncertainty and drama, but here we are, Russia has invaded Ukraine, and none of us knows how this war will play out. Amongst children and young people anxiety levels are high, and many are feeling frightened as they grapple, perhaps for the first time, with the possibility of war in Europe, and nuclear threat. We share our top tips on how to support young people through these uncertain times.
This week is Eating Disorder Awareness Week and with an estimated 1.25 million people living with an eating disorder in the UK it is helpful to know what we can do in terms of prevention and support. We discuss what an eating disorder is, how to spot the signs, and how to prevent your child from suffering with an eating disorder.
January will have been a busy time for those sitting mocks in preparation for the summer. Some will have been reassured when they received their results, while others may have felt disappointed. As parents it can be difficult to know how best to help. So, what can we do? Lizzie Mitchell, an experienced tutor and university lecturer, shares her top tips and advice for parents.
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is a mental health problem which affects two in every one hundred people. It is a complex disorder which can be difficult to understand for both the sufferer and their family and friends. You often hear people joking about being a bit OCD when you see their immaculate laundry cupboard or categorised book collection, but those who suffer from OCD know it is absolutely no joke. So what is it?
As our children enter adolescence, they will start to reject things which seem childish to them, and that may include our gestures of affection. As parents we generally accept their rejection of childhood toys and interests but struggle when we are in the firing line. It is a sad day when a previously affectionate child pulls away from a hug or shuts down your expressions of love. For parents, the loss of intimacy can feel devastating, but what we sometimes fail to appreciate is that even though they are the ones doing the rejecting, they will experience a sense of loss too. In celebration of National Hugging Day, we discuss the importance of hugs for the self-esteem and wellbeing of young people.
The past twenty months have taken their toll on the wellbeing of so many people and the last thing we all needed was more uncertainty and drama, but here we are, Omicron is with us, and life has become unpredictable once more. We share our tips on how to support your children and cope with the uncertainty of life with the new Omicron variant.
Alicia went onto the Emma-Jane Show’s podcast to discuss all things teens and mental health. This is a very open and honest conversation about recovery, resilience and Alicia’s journey to where she is today.
Following the horrific death of George Floyd and the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement, we have been asked for advice on how to talk to children and teenagers about racism.
With young people online more than ever, those who would seek to influence, radicalise or groom them via social media and gaming will be busy. Find out how to support your child and help them stay safe.
We are working with some wonderful therapists across the country and some are offering two free, half hour emergency sessions to teenagers who might be particularly struggling.