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teenagers and the pandemic

Source: Anna Frank / Getty

Figuring out what to do with our schooling systems might be one of the tougher dilemmas America has faced during the COVID-19 pandemic. The campus environment is ripe with the opportunity for the spread of the virus. You’ve seen it happen in previous cold and flu seasons. One person got sick and then suddenly, everybody got sick. Many schools just don’t have the space to keep kids distanced. And many kids don’t have the discipline to follow the rules surrounding social distancing. All of this has caused many parents to decide to keep their kids home.

For teens, this can be a particularly difficult time. Remember when you were a kid and you just wanted to be around your peers all the time? If you have a teen, know that this is probably their greatest nightmare. Teenagers act out quite a bit when there isn’t a pandemic, so these new restrictions on their lives might lead to some even greater outbursts. We spoke with Demetrius Cofield, a licensed mental health clinician and the event chair at Black Clinician Network, about handling teens who are acting out during the pandemic (more than usual).

Demetrius Cofield

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A stronger pull towards risky behaviors

“Teenage years are already an emotional period of development which often includes rebelling against parents and rules, egocentric thinking and behaviors, and risky behaviors when it comes to sex, drugs, and illegal activities. When you add the additional stress associated with the pandemic,  the likelihood and severity of these things can be even worse,” says Cofield.

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