Are you and your kids just fed up with distance learning? Well, let's talk about the day on Tips
on Teens. My name is Kent Toussaint. I'm a licensed marriage and family therapist, and I help
kids, teens, and families live happier lives. I lead two organizations, the Group Private
Practice Teen Therapy Center, and the nonprofit 501c3 organization, Child and Teen Counseling,
both here in Woodland Hills, California. Every Wednesday at noon, I jump on Facebook Live to
answer your parenting questions. Let's jump into today's question. I am so tired of COVID,
and my kids are even worse. One is in middle school, and the other is in high school, and I am so
worried that they will just stop doing their work altogether. It was so hard to keep them on track
this past semester. I hate that the schools are putting so many unreasonable expectations
on our kids. My kids seem so depressed, and they are dreading going back to school next week.
Winter break was so needed, and I saw them both spark up without
all the tension from school. How do I make them go back to distance learning without it sucking
their very souls out of them? Thank you for your question. I think you just spoke for millions
of parents all across the city, and kids, too. There's a lot you can do. First of all, let's just
all acknowledge that quarantine stinks. This whole COVID thing stinks, and we're stuck in
it, and there's no way to really get out of it until somehow we all get out of it. Hopefully by the
summer or the fall. Fingers crossed, but we'll see. Most of us have no control of that whatsoever
except maintaining our own personal safety. But for your kids, yeah, it's tough because school's
already kind of boring, but now it's the distance learning. It's over Zoom. You're not there
with your friends. You can't do your softball practice. You can't go to theater rehearsals.
You can't do drumline. All the fun social things that makes algebra class bearable are gone,
and now you're just stuck with online school, and
if you've got little kids, it's even harder to get them to engage sometimes with the online school
system, and it's tough, and they're bored, and there are a few things. Number one I recommend
is if your kids are really struggling, connect with your teachers, collaborate with them,
school counselors, the principals, the dean, whoever that is, to help make sure your kid is
getting the support they need from the school. That may not be enough. Second thing you wanna
do is, since they can't get a lot of that connection with their friends and their peers except
over online, which just isn't the same, you need to find a way to inspire that connection at home.
Like you said, during winter break, your kid's sparked up. So there's something going on about
winter break. Now, I know there's no homework, which is great, but what can we transfer from
winter break to school? Now, one of the things is, make sure your kids aren't doing school all
day long. Make sure they're not plugged into their screen
from eight in the morning till 10 at night. Even if some of that is video games, and social media,
and FaceTiming, they've gotta find time to unplug. We are, as a human species, we are not designed
to sit in a chair and be on a screen for eight, 10, 12 hours a day. It's not good for us. We need to
get out and do stuff. So find ways to get your kids doing stuff with you that's fun, where they
feel enjoyed by you. And that's the real key, because if they feel that you enjoy being with them,
it's easier for them to enjoy that process, give it a chance, and feel more connected to you.
That way, they feel more safe, they feel like they can tackle new obstacles, they feel that their
self -worth is validated by you, because a big part of a kid's identity and self -worth is from
their parents. And it's not about you telling them good job and way to go and pat them on the head,
it's that they feel appreciated and enjoyed by you. So whether you're baking cookies together,
or you're going on walks
together, or you're riding bikes together, or you're playing board games together, whether
you're, I don't know, whatever it is you're doing, make sure that your kids feel enjoyed by you.
So that's a big part of it, because if they have that, it may help them get through that five, six,
seven, eight hours a day or whatever they need to do with school, and you help them get through
that. Again, if it's too much school, too much screen time, anyone's gonna get depressed, anyone.
If your kid is playing video games for 10 hours a day, they're gonna get depressed. Most of you
notice that when your kids are doing video games or on social media, just on their phone in their
bed all day long, when they get off, grumpy, they're irritable, because we're not designed,
that's not healthy for us. We need to move, we need face -to -face interactions, we need to have
creative stimulation, and social media and video games don't provide that. They provide stimulation,
but it's not creative stimulation.
It's not the same, you know, playing a video game of basketball is not the same as going outside
and shooting hoops and playing basketball. There's a difference, and I would say that physical
activity is much more important than this one. If your kids are still struggling, and they might,
get support, get them into therapy. There's lots of opportunities for therapy, especially
with online learning or online therapy. I know it's not always the ideal, but if your kid can
do online therapy, great. If not, therapists are an exempt service. We are allowed to see clients
in our office. I'd say half our client base is online, half is in the office. We wear masks, we
wipe down touchables, we're able to keep distance. So you're able to do therapy in a safe way
if you feel it's appropriate for you and your kid. I'm just, because some people call in and say,
you know what, my kidney's therapy, but I don't want to schedule one more Zoom. I just want to
be face -to -face, and that's totally okay. There's
plenty of therapy options throughout the town. For LA, California, the nation, wherever you're
watching, there are options, especially, you know, with the online thing, anyone in the state
can work with you, you know, as long as they're in the same state. So make sure you're getting
the support you need so when your kid does go back to school, they're not dragging all this baggage
with them. They've dealt with it. They're ready to hit the ground running and have fun and engage
back in middle school, back in high school, back in elementary school, whatever, or back in
college, wherever that may be. Get your kid's support, and if money is tight, there are plenty
of nonprofit agencies that can support you. We run a nonprofit, Child and Teen Counseling.
We work with families with pricing, so don't let money be the obstacle. Make sure you get your
kid's help. Again, my name is Kent Toussaint. I'm a licensed marriage and family therapist.
I lead Teen Therapy Center and the nonprofit, Child and
Teen Counseling. We love your parenting questions. Keep them coming. We do it every Wednesday
at noon. If you'd like to email us, our email is tipsonteens at teentherapycenter .com, or you
can just direct messages right here on Facebook or Instagram. We love your comments. Keep them
coming, and we will see you next Wednesday at noon on Tips on Teens. Thanks, guys, and happy new
Are you and your kids experiencing extreme burnout from distance learning? What can you do to support them as school resumes again after winter break?
“I am so tired of COVID! And my kids are even worse. One is in middle school and the other is in high school and I am so worried that they will just stop doing their work altogether. It was so hard to keep them on track this past semester. I hate that the schools are putting so many unreasonable expectations on our kids. My kids seem so depressed and they are dreading going back to school next week. Winter break was so needed and I saw them both spark up without all the tension from school. How do I make them go back to distance learning without it sucking their very souls out of them?”
Tips On Teens is a vlog that our Clinical Director, Kent Toussaint, hosts every Wednesday at 12:00pm on Facebook Live. He will be answering parenting questions submitted to us by you to our email at TipsOnTeens@TeenTherapyCenter.com. Send us any questions you might have about parenting kids and teens and Kent will be answering them every week!
Head on over to our Facebook page every Wednesday at 12:00pm to watch LIVE! Check out our page here – https://www.facebook.com/TeenTherapyCenter/
If you have more questions or would like more information, please contact our Clinical Director, Kent Toussaint at 818.697.8555.