It's been a rough year for teens.
The pandemic has interfered with their education, kept them away from friends and relatives, and restricted where they can go and what they can do.
For bushfire-affected communities, this was a double blow after a devasting summer.
But parents can help:
- Keep a routine, with a mix of schoolwork, exercise, relaxing and connecting with loved ones.
- Use technology sensibly - keep devices out of bedrooms (especially at night), limit exposure to stressful news items, and use tech to catch up and enjoy fun activities, rather than 'scrolling'.
- Do things together, like going for a walk, cooking or kicking a footy.
- Point out the things they are doing well and the progress they've made.
- Remind your teens of how your family has gotten through tough times in the past.
- Confirm that it's OK to feel bad about the things they've lost this year, like parties, school formals or travel.
- Point out any 'silver linings' from 2020 - for example, spending more time with family or learning new tech skills.
- If they're worried about the future, talk through the steps they can take if things don't go perfectly, and help them draw up alternate plans.