COVID News U Can Use: “Teens Aren’t Acting Up, They’re Trying to Grow Up”

“Teens tend to respond to significant unwanted restrictions in one of two ways: with devastation or defiance. Eyes brighten with wetness; tear-stained faces swell; anger reigns — until, that is, desire to see anyone or do anything fades away as depression sets in.

This has been the reliable trajectory over the last year for conscientious teens around the country whose parents have thrown their authority behind enforcing states’ shelter-in-place orders or federal guidelines about limiting social interactions outside their households

But what parents and other authority figures need to understand is that teens are responding to a stymied developmental imperative. Adolescents don’t just prefer to spend time with their peers; they do so as part of their need to pull away from their parents to test their values, practice problem-solving and log the thousands of interactions that are essential to maturation. The social skills they develop during these years and the connections they build also breed emotional resilience.

And yet teens’ worlds have contracted more severely than those of most adults and children, and left many of them with no sanctioned way to socialize (**INSERT: YOUR YOUTH GROUP HERE).

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