Teens and Caregiving

For hundreds of young people, caregiving is a daily fact of life. In the middle of going to school, holding down part-time jobs, juggling pieces of social life with sports and school activities, many teens find themselves the primary or at least a major part-time caregiver to an elderly relative or parent.
Teens have myriad pressures on them in normal family settings. When caregiving becomes a part of real life it can often affect the teen’s physical and psychological well-being:

  • Aggressive behavior
  • Depression
  • Isolation from friends
  • Academic difficulties
  • Feelings of guilt or shame
  • Self-neglect
  • Loss of sleep and appetite

There are many teens who take on caregiving and become responsible providers, but all caregivers of all ages need as much support and aid as possible. Teen caregivers may need extra help, such as:

  • Time off to allow healthy social interaction with peers
  • Enough time alone to focus on school work
  • Support to feel that they are not completely responsible for the care needed
  • Recognition and validation that what they are doing is beyond the ordinary and is noble