Social distancing and self-isolation bring challenges for everyone. But teens face a particularly hard time, especially for those who are just experiencing their independence and self-reliance for the first time, and now they’re cooped up at home.
The euphoria over cancelled exams will have dwindled now, and they’re suddenly cut off from their friends. They will have missed their prom, the summer term, the sporting events, the performances, the parties, the gatherings, the end-of-exams fun, the flirtations.
And to top it all, now they have to spend all their time with their parent and annoying siblings. It’s just not fair! So how can you help?
If you want to avoid diving each other utterly mad, then you will need to introduce some routine. Talk to your teens about how we need to arrange our days, and what they need to do, such as learning, exercise, time for friends, and some downtime. Work together to make all that possible.
Get them to help with the practical things – the chores and cooking, keeping an eye on younger siblings, cleaning surfaces. Create an atmosphere of ‘all in it together’ which will help them take responsibility.
Do encourage them to be social, and be prepared to relax any rules on screen-time. They need to be able to keep in touch with their friends.
Realise that, like yourself, there will be times when they just want to to get away and a bit of private time, so try to make that possible for them, perhaps making sure young siblings leave them in peace too. Talk to them about the virus – which should help them get perspective, and will also help them behave responsibly, even though they feel frustrated.
Dealing with anxiety
Of course, teens are going to be sad about all the things they will miss, and you need to acknowledge their losses to show them that you know that these are not trivial matters and that it’s horrible to have to make do without them.
If you have concerns about mental health in teens, then get in touch today.