My Teen Is Lonely, how Can I help?

What can you do if your teen is lonely? It starts with recognizing the signs

Feeling Lonely

This past year has been challenging for many people. Almost overnight, our world completely changed. All of these changes have significantly increased feelings of anxiety, depression, and feeling lonely . As adults, it is hard sometimes to remember that this has not just been hard on us but also hard on our children. 

Some signs that could indicate that your teen is struggling include sadness, self-isolation, worry, racing thoughts, increased or decreased sleep, low concentration, changes in appetite, and no or little enjoyment for activities that they have previously enjoyed.

These feelings and behaviors may not be evident to a parent as some can resemble normal teen behavior. Here are some things that you may notice if your teen is struggling.

  1. A change in hygiene habits.
  2. Staying in bed for long periods.
  3. Increased mood dysregulation (outbursts)
  4. Expressing that they feel on edge or appearing restless
  5. Grades go down, school work is not handed in on time

How To Help

Start a conversation – Try to ask your teen how they are doing and feeling. Let them know that you are there for them, and they can talk to you about it. Help them realize that their feelings are normal. You can do this by telling them about how you have been feeling. Make sure that you are focused on their responses and actively listen when they are talking to you.

Engage in activities with your teen – Plan a fun activity!. Make dinner together, bake, do arts and crafts, take a walk, watch a movie. It is even better if you let them choose the activity. Another idea could be to put together a gift basket for one of their friends or someone in need. Giving back to others helps create purpose and releases endorphins!

Find safe activities for them to engage in – As restrictions are lifted, activities are slowly starting to re-emerge. See if an activity may interest your teen, like an art class, dance class, youth group, drama club, or volunteering. In-person activity and interaction can be a great way to decrease loneliness.

Encourage a new hobby – Many options can be done from home. Does your teen enjoy creating things (online art class), do they play an instrument (music classes online)? There are so many classes and information that you can find on almost any topic for free online.

Find a professional – If you have tried a number of these ideas and your teen continues to display signs of loneliness, depression, and anxiety, it may be time to seek a professional who can help. Many of these professionals are currently offering online services. Sometimes having someone new to talk to can be helpful for teens.