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Camille is lying on her bed, curled in a ball. She is quietly whimpering. As her mother walks by in the hallway, she hears her daughter crying and knocks gently on the bedroom door. “Can I come in, sweetie?” Camille offers a weak yes. “What’s going on?” her mother asks, dumbfounded. “I don’t feel good. I’m isolated. I feel like I’m going round in circles. I can’t concentrate at school. I feel like every day is the same. I can’t do sports with my friends or even see them. It’s hard. I feel like I have a permanent knot in my stomach.” Sad, Camille’s mother looks at her teen, takes her in her arms and says gently, “I understand, honey. This is a hard time for you. I know how much you need to be active and socialize. I’m here for you. It won’t always be this way. I have an idea: any time you feel this way, you and I will take the time to talk about it.” Camille wipes her tears with the back of her hand and offers a tentative smile. “Thanks, Mom!”
SEL and emotional skills
SEL (social and emotional learning) is based on the development of social and emotional skills. It is an integral part of education and human development (CASEL, 2021). Through this approach, young people develop knowledge, skills, and positive attitudes daily in their interpersonal relationships. In Camille’s case, we can see that positive interactions were developed with her mother. Camille and her mother jointly developed social skills during their talk, such as problem solving, effective communication, interpersonal skills, empathy, emotional regulation, and stress management (Lamboy, 2014).
Emotions and the pandemic
This pandemic has had a dramatic impact on the mental health of children and teens. During this turbulent time, young people need to be able to normalize their emotions and show resilience. The Ordre des psychologues du Québec echoes this idea and has made recommendations for teens: don’t pretend everything is okay and that the situation isn’t as bad as all that. Your friends and your parents are there to listen and to help you: you may be strong, but together, we are stronger (OPQ, 2021). In our discussion, Camille’s mother took the time to listen, to offer support, and to hold space for her daughter’s emotions. Camille and her mother were able to communicate effectively, so it’s a safe bet that both feel good about having taken this step toward resilience!
For more information
Lamboy, B. & Guillemont, J. (2014). Développer les compétences psychosociales des enfants et des parents : pourquoi et comment ?. Devenir, 4(4), 307-325. https://doi.org/10.3917/dev.144.0307
Ordre des psychologues du Québec, 2021, Conseil aux ados Covid 19, Repéré à https://www.ordrepsy.qc.ca/conseils-aux-ados-covid-19