At the best of times your teen can be irritable and edgy, now that many of us across the country are on “stay at home” orders from our governors it is not surprising that for some teens we will see an increase in irritable and even angry behavior. Or you might seem the slip into deep sadness. All of these things can be pretty scary for a parent. Of course, if your child is experiencing depression or anxiety it is highly recommended that you seek mental health therapy, many therapists are offering on-line sessions at this time. You can check out Psychology Today for a therapist in your area.
Here are some tips on how to support your teen through quarantine and social isolation.
How to help your teen help themselves
1) First and foremost, encourage your kiddo to go outside and take a walk at least once a day, rain or shine. Getting some fresh air and getting their blood pumping will help them clear their minds and boost their mood.
2) Respect the need for solitude. Your teen needs to spend time digesting all this new information as well as the normal stressors that they experience due to their natural developmental pace. As long as your teen is not at risk of self-harming behavior, a little self-reflection time can be helpful. They need space to figure out who they are becoming, where they fit in the world and what the world is to them. They often do this by listening to music, reading, face-timing friends and journaling. It is true that social media often takes up a large portion of their time so you do need to check in on them to ensure they are not losing themselves in social media, to this end I think it is best to sit down with them regularly and talk about the responsibility of having a screen device and reviewing the rules and guidelines you want your teen to follow. Explain to your teen what dangers are out there, check out the links included after the article to support you in having these conversations with your teen. It is also a good idea to limit online time. However, at this stage in development, it is important that they start to navigate the world on their own to some degree. I am by no means saying to leave them to their own devices but to give them space to explore while a parent or trusted adult is close at hand to monitor their endeavors.
3) Introduce some family time if you haven’t already. Board games, view family videos and pics or try conversation starters. And I will always advocate for creative time together, whether it is rearranging a room and learning about Feng Shui or making a panting together creative time together helps build a deep and lasting connection. So does downtime, watching a movie or making dinner. Share old reciphttps://www.mydomaine.com/feng-shui-home-tipsies or memories of how things were when you were a teen. All these small moments not only build connectivity, but they also build trust.
4) Encourage your teen to connect with friends via meeting platforms like google hangouts or Netflix party. It helps them feel normal for a while and takes the stress off of feeling isolated. Research the platforms to ensure security before you sign up for the program, just to be on the safe side.
5) Another piece of this that is extremely important is to give your teen space to discuss how they feel about what is going on. Ask them open-ended questions about what information they have been exposed to. Help clarify questions with fact-based information from reliable sources like the CDC. Avoid minimizing fears and feelings. It is our instinct as parents to want to make everything better, but in situations like this, we serve our teens better by being honest. Saying things like “I hear you are scared and worried, so am I. We will work together to keep each other safe.” Share your feelings within an age-appropriate way. You don’t need to go on about how you are up at 4am worrying about grandpa or not working, but you can let them know you are worried too.
The fact is we are all in this scary place together, and we need to find a way to maintain our sanity as well as provide a safe place for our children and teens to do the important work of growing up. These tips are aimed at supporting both parents and teens to find a new temporary normal during this health crisis in our country. And with any luck within a few weeks, we can get back to our real normal.
Finding help near you:
Social media support:
Family and friend activities:
Talking to your kids about Coronavirus: