The den syndrome, the difficulty of finding spaces and time


Those who expected everyone to run out after the lockdown were surprised: teenagers, or at least some of them, have been able to amaze us. And probably not exactly in a positive way.

Experts call it «Lair syndrome», “A didactic definition – explains Maria Silvana Patti, psychologist and psychotherapist -, which however cannot label a more complex phenomenon”. The phenomenon in question is the desire expressed by that part of boys who do not crave the return to sociality after the quarantine: to stay at home. Possible? Yup.

“The human being knows how to adapt to situations – explains Dr. Patti -, they are transition phaseslike this one, the ones that destabilize him most because he is called to put his skills back into play ». Not only that: “There are anxieties that the quarantine has quelled, by limiting exposure to others, and this has influenced especially teenagers.”

If the cases of social withdrawal among young people they were already on the rise before Covid, experts speculate that the situation may worsen after weeks in which many took refuge in the network, beyond the use that has been made of it for the school part. A world, the online one, timeless. And it is precisely time, with its management, that risks putting teenagers in crisis. “We got them used to having a life with programmed spaces and times – continues Patti -, between training, courses and lessons. Spaces that now, due to the health emergency, are not found because they are closed, and times suspended because there are no activities on the agenda to do. Children therefore have to learn to structure their space and their time by themselves“, And not for everyone it is an immediate and natural operation.

How to help them? “The first step may be to encourage contact with small groups of friends, obviously in compliance with the rules for contrasting contagion”. And then, even more important, there is the emotional component. Here the role of parents is fundamental: «Emotions are transmitted, just like the virus – explains the psychologist -: transmitting security, explaining what is happening and fueling their sense of responsibility is crucial. The emotional climate that there is in the family – he concludes – is the key to facing this transition phase “.