How Are the Youngsters Coping with the COVID Viral Summer?

By: Sheila Kun RN, BSN, MS, CPN, FCCP
Salesian Cooperator

The research data from China on depression and anxiety of youth from 12-18 are still very vivid in my minds; 30 to 40% of the participants reported depression and anxiety. Hence I was seeking answers from you regarding the solutions to these emotional issues. Since I have yet heard from my Salesian Families, I resorted to ask someone who is not a Salesian, but raised by Salesians, my son –Aden. Here is what he wrote to me. (Aden has two sons Aaron and Brandon, both just turned 14 and 10 in August.)

Aaron was able to maintain a school routine with on-line learning.  They started classes on March 17th with classes from 8am to 1pm. So, he really did not suffer and withdraws from his normal school routine since he had homework, classes and google/zoom meetings.  In fact, he was still doing homework the night he technically graduated in late May.

I think the transition is also easier with a sibling to engage and play with.  He has been playing videogames (Minecraft) and swimming with his younger brother.  In fact, both kids remark they like quarantine.  I think it also helps that both parents are at home and there is no stress from a health or economic perspective at home.

Since Aaron has access to wifi/internet, he can communicate with his friends via social media (they text via Instagram) and also play on-line video games on their Xbox where there is a live chat function.

Brandon, though not a teen, is doing better with social interaction.  He’s at the 3rd week of his summer camp at school.  He is not fond of zoom meetings and this week there was programming for our Berkeley camp, Lair of the Golden Bear.  Last night there was Disco Bingo where you have bingo cards with participants in disco attire and music.  He quickly disengaged.  Not the same in his estimation.  His feedback about school camp was he thought it was not going to be fun, but he is having a great time hanging out with his friends.  Due to the new orders, the camp changed their hours from 9am – 4pm to 8am – 1pm with all activities being outdoors.  Brandon will not have a normal basketball practice with his teammates, but Susan and I have decided to hire his coach for personal training to continue his skills development.  Again, an option when you have resources.

Picture1Everyone is adjusting but this time has allowed the boys to explore new things.  Brandon is an avid gardener and this week we will be learning how to ride bikes.  Aaron is completing more tasks for Boy Scouts and will have completed two merit badges towards his Eagle in a week and also helping out a lot more around the house as a result of participating in the Family Life merit badge program.

Overall, the boys are doing well.  I feel like the pandemic or any difficult situation does not necessarily “build” character.  It reveals what you are made of.  I think the kids are grateful for being at home given all the creature comforts: wifi, media, yummy meals and a pool.

Aden is right; the boys are fortunate with resources and parents to support them at home. I cannot help to think of families who are struggling with income, and health issues. I would love to hear what your stories are.

Your homework assignment from the Care Ministry this week: report innovative strategies when working with families in need.

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