The pandemic was difficult for everyone. As parents of grown children, some of us couldn't see our kids or grandkids--no hugs, no in-person visits. Infants and toddlers had no "village" to support them or playdates to socialize them. School-age kids--well, the school year was a disaster for many of them. Our grown kids, especially the twenty-somethings, also suffered. Whether they moved back home with us or toughed it out with a roommate or spouse, the isolation of the shut-down disrupted their friendships and romantic relationships as well as their work life. Many of them lost what one clinical social worker calls "the rhythm of living."
Here's what some recent findings show:
--43.6 percent of adults 18 to 29 self-reported that they experienced symptoms of an anxiety or depressive disorder in the previous seven days between May 26 and June 7, according to the Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention’s Household Pulse Survey
--34 percent of those 18 to 23 said their mental health has worsened compared with before the pandemic, according to the 2020 Stress in America survey by the American Psychological Association. That number is higher than any other generation.
All of which suggests we may want to offer our adult kids a little extra measure of compassion. This NYTimes article sets out some effective strategies for helping our kids find help if they're struggling.
Avoid lecturing. It comes across as criticism and may shut down the lines of communication. "Start by asking questions that help parents understand how the young adult is hurting, with language like: “How’s your mood these days? You’re doing so much.”
Don't try to solve their problems. Instead, let them know you've heard what they've said. For instance, they might say they get yelled at by their supervisor. Tell them you're sorry they're experiencing that. That might open the door to suggesting they get help, but if it doesn't, let them know you would be happy to partner with them in thinking about possible solutions.
Normalize the situation. Tell your child that many people struggle with their mental health and that it often helps to talk to someone about how they’re feeling. “Let them know that you will be with them every step of the way” and help them get to a better place."