By Nadine Briggs and Donna Shea
Today’s youth are dealing with a tremendous amount of frustration and even fear during the pandemic. Their lives are completely different now in so many ways. Many kids and teens who have social challenges strive for a high level of control and when have we ever been in less control than we are right now? This is a recipe for a whole lot of upset and it has become very apparent that kids need an outlet for those feelings.
We coach kids to avoid touchy topics of conversation but even so, it is clear that children and teens are very in tune with global events. In our social programs, we work with many highly intelligent kids and teens who can have very strong opinions. They don’t always have a safe place to talk about these very strong opinions and feelings.
Last week, the kids really needed to vent. They were incredibly frustrated by the pandemic and people who don’t follow distancing guidelines. When considering how severely their lives have been impacted by distancing guidelines, it’s certainly understandable that they feel angry. They are not able to socialize and have a normal life because of guidelines they are forced to follow yet they see adults being held to a different standard. Some of them know and care about people who don’t wear masks and have caught the virus. They find themselves caught between concern and a righteousness. Our groups allow the venting and even the ranting. We are a safe place for those feelings and opinions. They need someone and someplace to let it out so vent on, clear out some of the angst and anger. There is a cathartic cleansing that can come with giving voice to these huge feelings. Having others listen, even if they might disagree can be a valuable outlet. There is most definitely value in venting.