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 their previous situation, but due to the rapid imbalance in physical development, adolescents begin to go through a very difficult process of becoming independent and finding their identity during this period. Identity formation problems, high potential to be impulsive while making decisions, the ups and downs of their self-confidence efforts to prove themselves against their peers increase the likelihood of adolescents committing crimes, resorting to violence, participating in gang activities and using drugs during this period. "They are sometimes happy and sometimes sad in terms of emotions and often cannot explain why they feel this way," he said.
Friends may not want to share their relationship with their family
"Being a period of adolescence with many changes and difficulties does not mean an inevitable conflict and tension," Assist. Assoc. Dr. Neriman Kilit said, “Although many families quarrel with their adolescent children from time to time, this problem is more common in some families. At this stage, the family sees that their children are moving away from them and they don't know what to do. Adolescents spend much more time with their friends and seem to dislike or care about the family. He does not want to tell the family about his private life, his experiences, his friendships. He does not want to enter his room without permission, wants to spend time alone in his room, spends more time on technological devices, friends and peers. In the environment of friends, smoking, alcohol and even other pleasurable substances may find themselves in events that are thought to require courage but may also be related to crime. She can make an effort to be closer with those she likes and feels sexual attraction to. She may seek out a new person who will be a role model for herself. These can be friends, athletes, pop stars, TV series characters. You can choose role models with different features from each other and located at different ends. The people he modeled on can change frequently. The family's anxiety and fear increase. He tries to control his child. The adolescent perceives the family's wishes as pressure, and the family perceives the adolescent's requests as rebellion. Conflicts can begin. During adolescence, family, school, social groups and mass media are among the factors that are effective in creating the social identity of the adolescent and gaining respect in the society ”.
Friendships should be supported
Stating that families should support their children's friendship and socialization, Assist. Assoc. Dr. Neriman Kilit said, “But of course, in order to prevent him from hiding his friendships from themselves and to have information about his environment, he should kindly call his friends and talk to them without prejudice. sohbet and again, without judging and criticizing or imposing prohibitions, he should express his opinions about his friends and the environment he is in, and try to open a separate window for him to see and evaluate potential problems in his friendships or the group he is trying to join.
It should be spoken in a calm and relaxing manner.
Stating that when the child comes to his parents with a problem or a mistake he has done, Assist stated that they should rest in a calm and comforting manner. Assoc. Dr. Neriman Kilit said, “One should not be interrupted and shouted at or start a direct trial. It should be solution oriented. As a parent, it should be discussed with the child whether we have any deficiencies or 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. The only way for this is that the child trusts us unconditionally, knows that we will listen to the end no matter what he tells, and believes that we will stand by him without judgment in a solution-oriented manner. "Every adolescent can make mistakes, the important thing is to be able to take precautions on time."
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 home stay, curfew restrictions, social restrictions and quarantine practices, which have to be made to prevent the spread of the disease, have significant impairments in the lives of many people from all walks of life, including adolescents. reminding that the cause was Asst. Assoc. Dr. Neriman Kilit said, “Decreasing school and peer interaction, students who are not used to distance education try to adapt to this system in a short time, not being able to adapt to lessons by getting out of the holiday atmosphere, increasing sense of isolation and loneliness, decrease in outdoor activities, increased home time, sleep, eating Disruption of daily routines, increased exposure of the child to screen and social media, increasing economic difficulties, loss of parents' job, domestic conflict and violence, in the adolescent age group, post-traumatic stress disorder, especially depression and anxiety disorders, eating disorders "It led to mental problems such as or increased the severity of the problems that already existed before the pandemic," he said.
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 to these, parents reported that children and adolescents spend longer hours in front of the screen, move less and spend longer hours asleep. Face-to-face communication and social interaction diminishing with the pandemic; "The internet is used more intensively for socializing and leisure activities, and the increasing screen time and problematic internet use in the pandemic are really important problems in 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 negativities, Asst noted that a daily routine should be created that will regulate adolescents' bedtime and waking hours as if they were attending school. Assoc. Dr. Neriman Kilit said, “In order to communicate regularly with peers and family members, to cope more easily with the uncertainty and stress caused by the pandemic, this process is pushed to be seen as an opportunity to realize their artistic activities and hobbies, to evaluate their future and to make plans, and to focus on personal development in this process. It is involved in scientific studies that it increases their well-being. During this process, parents have a lot of work to do. Setting common reading hours, adding activities such as puzzles, home games to life, making artistic and sports interests and activities that can be learned on the internet together, relaxing with the child every day. sohbet"It is the precautions that can make things easier with the efforts of the parents, and to support the distance communication with other members of the family and peers, to watch movies together, to go for a walk together at the allowed hours, to watch movies and TV series."