Are you curious what girls think about living through a pandemic?
Over the last two months, I’ve had a lot of contact with teen girls, as I have the privilege to help them work through the challenges that have come with the loneliness, disappointment and changes from living through a pandemic. Through our work together, I ask many questions in order to dive deep into their minds. This is how they share their deepest struggles, wants, wishes and hopes for the future. As the parent of a teen girl, I thought you might be interested to know what I’ve learned from these girls as we move through the experience so that you can gain insight into what is happening in your own girl’s mind.
What do you miss the most? These sweet girls mostly miss the basics. And quite possibly what they took for granted pre-COVID-19. Going out with friends, connections with their teachers, going to school (even the ones who despise school), seeing grandparents, hugs, getting together with friends in person, their activities and sports, not going to work, prom and freedom.
What has been the biggest challenges for you? No surprise here – not seeing their friends. For them, online contact is just not the same as seeing their friends in person. I think I speak for us all that after two months of only online contact – we are over it. Even girls who have been able to take a run or go for a bike ride while socially distancing from friends feel that this isn’t the same either. They want to be able to touch their friends too. They want to abandon all restrictions to laugh wildly and be close like they used to. Now that the weather is getting nicer here in the Northeast some of the girls shared that they are having picnics in their backyard or meeting to watch the sunset in their town, while on socially distanced blankets, of course.
Along with asking how their family is making them crazy right now (not knocking before coming into their room and being upset with them being in their room too much, were the biggies), I also asked why they’re thankful for their family. This is what they shared: They are thankful that they have a parent to talk to, laughing with their family and doing fun activities. All of this to say, they may not seem happy to spend time with you when you pull them away from something else, but continue asking! The stars will align and they will at some point be in the right mood to join in the fun!
What do you want to work on during this time? Many girls have learned that being creative helps them at home right now. Other activities they wanted to do included reading more, cleaning out their closet, not taking things or people for granted, preparing for college, staying motivated and being more accepting of other people.
What is the silver lining for you during this time? I’ve been so impressed with how girls considered and answered this question. They too, seemed surprised by what they discovered through this question. Most of their answers focused around the gift of time. They’ve appreciated time to process relationships that never felt quite right to then make a decision about how to move forward. They finally had time to relax, be creative, spend time with family and get back to old hobbies that they dropped when life got hectic. And I’ve also heard girls share that a silver lining is growing closer to their family and opening up more with their parents.
I mean, come on’, these girls are amazing! Asked the right questions and they were able to dig into themselves and be honest about how they really feel and what they really want. Showing up to do their own work, even when they’re not feeling motivated to lift their head from their pillow. My goal continues to be lifting their spirits, encouraging them to reflect on their feelings and experiences and giving them a safe place to do it.