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How to improve my teen's resilience and mental health during lockdown

(6 Posts)
Orangesandbananas Mon 27-Apr-20 15:09:10

My DS13 has always struggled a bit with resilience - melting down when the slightest thing goes wrong for him.

He'd improved a lot over the last year, maturing, enjoying secondary school, friends and hobbies, the meltdowns had become almost non-existent.

Now with lockdown he's regressed. The slightest thing is setting him off. He melts down at such small things, and remains angry for hours or a whole day.

He's then too angry to do any school work and it affects the rest of the family (he shouts at us all).

I'm more concerned about his mental health than the school work but don't really know where to start to help him.

Anyone got any ideas on how to improve resilience and help teens to cope with these strange times?

OP’s posts: |
Notcontent Mon 27-Apr-20 15:36:26

What works for my anxious teen is routine. Get up, have breakfast, wash and get dressed. Be sitting at desk for start of school day. Do all work set by school. After “school” finishes, do extra curricular stuff - music practice, art or whatever your DS would usually do. Also - exercise. We do indoor workouts and running outside every day - without fail.

Frost1nMay Mon 27-Apr-20 15:49:49

Planning the work and chunking it up, and taking a piece of work as a "draft" when starting off. We also have a homeschool charter which wemade ages ago which is a list of characteristics that we all need to approach work successfully. We do try and refer to this as we go through the day.

DS is a bit like this. We get a piece of school work, talk it through, I question him aboiut it and then he will make some ittle bullet notes based on that discussion. We will recap on the ojcetive and expectations, then he can get to work. He has a pen that rubs out and we encourage the use of the plan, dictionary and other bits he might need. If he is really struggling, we say ok lets get up and chnage the scene- do some keepie ups in the garden, have a little walk, have a snack or a glass of water. Sometimes he rings a mate and they talk about it.

After the work jhas been completed, we do a check and polish- and this is exprssed at the start, so he knows that I will have something for him to add or improve on.

Praise lots. and specifically.

DS was getting into some hellish moods about school work and we had done lots of softly softly stuff which was fine to a point, and then we did have to remind him that school wont have angry sustained outbursts and while we are certainly more patient than school, we wont be treated like crap! It is working.

Stressful for everyone though.

Orangesandbananas Mon 27-Apr-20 15:58:39

Thanks both.

Notcontent - Interesting to hear how much exercise you're doing. We've been going out running every other day but I don't think it's enough.

Frost1nMay - Good point re school not having angry sustained outbursts and not being treated like crap. Glad all your techniques are working. I like the sound of your homework charter and your breaking off if things are difficult.

He is very downhearted about working from home as he enjoys school and says he's good at school but not good at doing homework.

I'm not sure what to say to him when things go wrong for him and stick in his head for the day - e.g. today he was expecting a parcel and for some reason the delivery guy didn't actually knock and said we weren't home. This has made him so unbelievably angry with the world, with everyone in the house, he can't move past it.

If anyone has any tips on how to help teens move past things like this it would be great to hear about them.

OP’s posts: |
Beechview Mon 27-Apr-20 16:08:02

Is he feeling powerless?
I would help him rationalise it and ask him why he thinks that might have happened? Does he have an idea?
Is being angry useful in this situation?
Now what is the solution for this?
If it happens again, what would his best reaction be?

Find a way of rationalising his thoughts and give him back a sense of control along with acceptance.

There also might be a way to react physically for him if he feels angry that will change him. For example, if he clenches his fists, then ask him to open them when he realises he’s done it. If he frowns, ask him to raise his eyebrows.
It can work.

Orangesandbananas Mon 27-Apr-20 22:47:04

Thanks Beechview, I'll try that approach.

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