The Coronavirus crisis is changing everyone’s life. But for many teens, the changes can be especially difficult to manage. Here are 5 tips for those challenging conversations.
They’re at the age when they’re the most social and want their independence. Instead, teens are being told they have to be away from friends and stay home with their families while Coronavirus rages.
Here are some tips for you to help the teens in your life stay safe and happy during the Coronavirus crisis.
It’s OK for Teens to be Sad
Let them be sad, angry, frustrated, disappointed about all the things they’re missing out on during the Coronavirus crisis. These teens have worked for a long time to get to where they are, and you shouldn’t dismiss their feelings and emotions.
One thing you can say is, “I’m sorry this Coronavirus crisis is happening right now. I know you’ve worked so hard and have lost so much, so fast. I know you’ll get through this, but that doesn’t make things less disappointing right now.”
It’s also OK for Teens to be Happy
On the flip side, many teens might be feeling happy by the fact that there are some things they don’t have to do during the Coronavirus crisis. There might have been some commitments they didn’t want to keep or some people (classmates, teachers, coaches) they didn’t want to see. In that case, the Coronavirus crisis might actually bring some relief.
Of course, some young people might then feel conflicted by feeling relief, so be compassionate. Try something like, “It’s OK to feel good now, too. There’s no right or wrong way to feel—just feel how you feel, and we’ll get through this Coronavirus crisis together.”
Social Butterflies Need to Fly
Many teens might also be feeling frustrated by the lack of social contact. This is especially true if they’re hearing that some of their friends’ parents might not be as strict as you’re being during the Coronavirus crisis.
If something like that is occurring, tell your teen something like, “I know that other parents are not being as strict about social distancing. But we won’t be doing that because we are following what so many Coronavirus experts have recommended.”
Let them blame you while you keep an eye on social distancing recommendations. Then, see if there are some ways to help them see their friends while staying safe.
Also, if you had rules or time limits set up with social media, now might be a time to consider relaxing those a bit—within reason.
Give Teens Their Space
Many teens value their privacy and alone time. But this Coronavirus crisis might not allow that to occur as easily. Try to give them their space and don’t be offended if they just want to stay in their room or have some alone time.
Make sure they know you enjoy their company, but also understand if they want to have some quiet time.
Include Teens in Conversations
We are all working to figure out how this “new normal” will affect our own lives, careers, communities, and relationships. To do this, we’re going to need to find some creative solutions, and teens can be very creative. Involve them in the decision-making process as well as some difficult conversations about Coronavirus.
For example, instead of coming up with a daily schedule for everyone to follow, include them in the planning. They can offer some suggestions and have some say in how things occur during the Coronavirus lockdown. You might be surprised by some of their ideas!