Stating that the pandemic period we are in brings with it many difficulties for all ages, experts point out that adolescents who have gone through a special period in this process may also experience different problems. According to experts, who pointed out that isolation, which occurs with the decrease in school and peer communication, causes symptoms of loneliness and depression, in this period, young people should be encouraged to make friends and establish social relationships.
Üsküdar University NP Feneryolu Medical Center Child Adolescent Psychiatry Specialist Asst. Assoc. Dr. Neriman Kilit made evaluations about the approach to adolescents during adolescence and pandemic period.
"Adolescence can be regarded as an intermediate stage where a person is neither a child nor an adult, does not yet have his own social responsibilities, but can explore, test and try roles," Assist. Assoc. Dr. Neriman Kilit said, “Adolescence is a period of rapid physical growth, development in mental functions, hormonal and emotional changes and social developments. Adolescence begins between the ages of 10-12 for girls and 12-14 for boys in our country, and generally ends between the ages of 21 and 24, ”he said.
Emotional ups and downs
Noting that adolescents undergo physical changes as they become adults and experience emotional ups and downs, Asst. Assoc. Dr. Neriman Kilit said, "As the physical development of adolescents is faster and their cognitive development is slower, their bodies quickly reach the adult appearance, cognitively they gradually begin to think more about abstract concepts, solve more complex problems and understand other people's perspectives," said Neriman Kilit.
An important period in the search for identity
Noting that he has gone through a difficult process to find the identity of the person during adolescence, Asst. Assoc. Dr. Neriman Kilit made the following evaluations:
“They have a higher moral and ethical sense than they did before, but due to the rapid instability in physical development, adolescents begin to go through a very difficult process of being independent and finding their identity during this period. Identity formation problems, high potential to be impulsive when making decisions, efforts to prove themselves to their peers, and fluctuations in self-confidence increase the likelihood of adolescents committing crimes, resorting to violence, participating in gang activities and using drugs during this period. In terms of mood, they are sometimes happy, sometimes sad, and most zam"They can't explain why they feel this way at the moment," he said.
Friends may not want to share their relationship with their family
“The fact that adolescence is a period of many changes and difficulties does not mean inevitable conflict and tension,” said Assist. Assoc. Dr. Neriman Kilit said, “Although many families zaman zamAlthough they fight with their adolescent children at the moment, this problem is more common in some families. At this stage, the family sees their children getting away from them and does not know what to do. Much more to your teenage friends zamtakes a moment and doesn't seem to like or care about the family. He does not want to tell his family about his private life, experiences and friendships. He does not want to be in his room without permission, he wants to spend time alone in his room, he is more afraid of technological devices, his friends, his peers. zamtakes the moment. In the friend environment, cigarettes, alcohol and even other pleasurable substances may find themselves in events that are thought to require courage but may also be related to crime. He may make an effort to be closer to people he likes and feels sexually attracted to. He may be looking for a new person to be his role model. These can be people such as friends, athletes, pop stars, serial characters. He can choose role models with different characteristics and at different ends. Models can change frequently. The family's anxieties and fears increase. He tries to control his child. The adolescent perceives the demands of the family as pressure, and the family perceives the wishes of the adolescent as rebellion. Conflicts may begin. During adolescence, family, school, social groups and mass media are among the factors that are effective in forming the social identity of the adolescent and gaining prestige in the society.
Friendships should be supported
Stating that families should primarily support their child's friendship and socialization, Assist. Assoc. Dr. Neriman Kilit said, “But of course, in order to prevent him from hiding his friendships from them and to have information about his environment, he should invite his friends kindly, chat with them without prejudice, and again, without judging them, without criticizing or imposing prohibitions, he should express his ideas about his friends and the environment he is in to his child, and in his own friendships. A separate window should be opened for him to see and evaluate the potential problems in the group he or she is trying to be involved in.”
It should be spoken in a calm and relaxing manner.
Assist. Assoc. Dr. Neriman Kilit said, “One should not be interrupted, yelled at, or go directly to trial. It should be solution oriented. As parents, we should talk to the child about our own shortcomings and mistakes, and a common solution should be sought. It should not be forgotten that no matter what the main purpose is, the child should be prevented from lying, no matter what he has done. The only way to do this is for the child to trust us unconditionally, to know that we will listen to whatever he tells us until the end, and to believe that we will be there for him in a solution-oriented way without judging. Every teenager can make mistakes, the important thing is zamIt is about taking immediate action,” he said.
Asst. Assoc. Dr. Neriman Kilit warned, "Do not forget, do not judge, criticize, compare, directly apply prohibition and punishment method in your adolescent child because he is an individual who has his own feelings, value judgments and criteria."
Declining school and peer communication negatively affect communication
The loss of life and property caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, the prolonged stay at home, curfews, social restrictions and quarantine practices that have to be made to prevent the spread of the disease have caused significant deterioration in the lives of many people from all walks of life, including adolescents, who are an easily affected group. Reminding that he led the way, Assist. Assoc. Dr. Neriman Kilit said, “Decreased school and peer interaction, students who are not accustomed to distance education try to adapt to this system in a short time, they cannot adapt to the lessons by getting out of the holiday atmosphere, increasing sense of isolation and loneliness, decrease in outdoor activities, increasing indoor activities. zamMany factors such as disruption of daily routines such as moment, sleep, eating, the child's increased screen and social media exposure, increasing economic difficulties, loss of parent's job, domestic conflict and violence are common in the adolescent age group, especially depression and anxiety disorders, and post-traumatic. It has caused mental problems such as stress disorder, eating disorders or increased the severity of problems that already existed before the pandemic.
Feelings of loneliness and depression symptoms increased
Asst. Assoc. Dr. Neriman Kilit noted that scientific studies abroad during this period reported that somatic complaints increased, physical activity decreased, loneliness, depression, anxiety symptoms and substance use increased in adolescents during the pandemic period, prolonged screen time and decreased productivity.
Screen usage times increased
He also noted that the symptoms of difficulty in focusing, boredom, irritability, restlessness, nervousness, loneliness, anxiety and anxiety were reported by parents as the most common changes they see in children during the pandemic process. Assoc. Dr. Neriman Kilit said:
“In addition, parents reported that children and adolescents spent longer screen time, less movement, and longer hours of sleep. Decreased face-to-face communication and social interaction with the pandemic; socializing and leisure of the internet zamIt has brought with it more intensive use for instant activities, and increased screen times and problematic internet use in the pandemic are really an important problem during the pandemic period.
Watch out for cyberbullying and game addiction
“These risks include inappropriate sharing of personal information, the ability to communicate with foreign peers, cyber bullying, violence and abuse behavior, the use of banned sites that encourage criminal behavior, illegal activities that occur with easy access to banned substances, and increased game addiction. In adolescents, the presence of a previously treated or ongoing mental illness before the pandemic, the traumas that also existed before the pandemic, the presence of mental illness in the parents, the high levels of material and spiritual stress of the parents during this period increase the risk of developing mental problems during the pandemic process ”.
What should be done during this period?
Regarding these problems, Assist. Assoc. Dr. Neriman Kilit said, “In order to communicate regularly with their peers and family members, to cope with the uncertainty and stress caused by the pandemic more easily, this process is seen as an opportunity to realize their artistic activities and hobbies, evaluate their future, make plans, and focus on personal development in this process. It is included in scientific studies that increase their well-being. In this process, parents have a lot of work to do. Determining common reading hours, adding activities such as puzzles and home games to life, co-creating artistic and sports interests and activities that can be learned on the Internet, relaxing conversations with the child every day and supporting distance communication with other family members and peers, watching movies together, taking a walk together during the allowed hours. Going out, watching movies and TV series are measures that can make things easier with the efforts of parents.”