Background: Examination of how parents handle and experience life with their adolescent children during the pandemic. Covid-19 disrupted routines and entailed social distance and closures, impacting all families, and particularly confronting adolescents' self-perception and affecting cognitive, health, and mental abilities. As parents themselves experienced new challenges at home and at work, they also faced complex situations with their adolescent children who exhibited more clinical symptoms of anxiety, depression, self-harm, and substance abuse.
Method: Participants were18 parents (16 mothers, 2 fathers) of adolescents (age 13.5-17) who underwent semi-structured in-depth non-directive interviews to gather information about their experience regarding communication with their adolescent children during COVID-19. The interviews were transcribed and analyzed, and themes and categories defined.
Findings: When adolescents withdrew, tended to shut down, or became indifferent, parents reported confusion, helplessness and multiple conflicts in their ongoing efforts to help them. However parents also discovered new qualities in their adolescents during the crisis, such as initiative, ability to help, curiosity, and independent learning, which led them to see their children’s capabilities and strengths.
Conclusions: The COVID-19 crisis challenged parents who were not able to manage the situation with their adolescents.
Recommendations: Social services and school personnel should operate resilience-enhancing programs.
Asnat Dor, Max Stern Academic College of Emek Yezreel, Israel