7 Tips For Parenting Teens Stuck At Home During COVID-19

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7 Tips For Parenting Teens Stuck At Home During COVID-19
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Here's how to parent teens during the coronavirus pandemic.

Well, you're facing yet another week of social distancing and living with the challenge of parenting during a pandemic!

This is a time when we are all likely to have a variety of reactions. Most likely, you're also feeling exhausted — especially if you're trying to parent a teen during the coronavirus quarantine.

You're exhausted with the daily changes you're having to make. The dramatic impact staying home, often with your entire family, is taking a toll on your emotional health.

RELATED: 50 Kindness Quotes For Kids To Use When They Are Quarantined At Home

The reason for this is because you're experiencing collective trauma and anxiety from the fears you have for the world, yourself, your family, as well as grief-related to what you're unsure about for the future.

Most of us have not experienced a struggle like this in our world, especially one without an end date.

This is hard. It’s hard for all of us, and it seems to be impacting people in such a variety of ways that it might be helpful to share how to help teens and the parents of teens get through this.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, it's important to come to a place where you can embrace this new reality and learn to cope with it.

Unfortunately, your teens may struggle with this even more than you do at times. A cooped-up, isolated teen is not a fun person to spend time with.

Here are 7 tips for parenting teens during the coronavirus pandemic to help you get through this.

1. Manage your expectations.

Teens are grappling with a lot right now, just like the rest of us. You need to expect a period of transition for them, rather than instantly being OK with this life and world you find yourself in.

Kids who already experienced depression, anxiety, or other challenges might even struggle more. Piling on ideas of all the things you think they should do right now is unlikely to help.

Please manage your expectations and expect them to need some time to adjust and to grieve, as well.

2. Allow some grace and time to adjust.

I think this is good advice for anyone right now.

Let’s all give ourselves and our loved ones some grace. Allow yourself to not be perfect in how you deal with this.

It would be great if we could all take this pandemic in stride, sure. It be even better if teens would focus on improving themselves or working on the things they still need to do for their futures, of course.

However, all of your adjustments and emotional well-being is more important than any of that right now.

Let’s all try to take a minute to remember that we're in this pandemic for the first time and are truly in this together.

It's going to be hard to do this when you're tired, frustrated, and struggling to be home so much, but it's important to at least try for some grace and compassion.

RELATED: 5 Actionable Steps To Calm Anxiety & Stress During The Coronavirus Pandemic

3. Give them space.

Your teen is likely grieving their life right now, too. They’re sad about all the things they wanted and planned to do and might not be ready to engage more with your family.

Remember, they don't have the same perspective about challenges that you do and likely feel scared that they'll never see their friends again.

You're feeling this way even though you have years of experience handling challenges. They don’t, and are going to struggle; allow them some space to breathe if they need it.

4. Comfort and support.

If your teen is scared and worried, be there with them. I would avoid platitudes and engage them on a deeper level.

Yes, this is scary and uncharted ground. It will most likely change the world.

Focus on what could happen that would be good while acknowledging the fears about the terrible possibilities.

I choose to take care of myself during this time and don’t just stop my life.

It’s all about balance: Learning to balance, when to pause and breathe for self-care, and when to take action and keep going.

This is a perfect time to help your teen learn some of these strategies of grit and resilience.

5. Compassion.

Let’s all work on being compassionate about the things everyone is sad about and grieving the loss of.

It's truly OK to feel disappointed that plans are being impacted and that you can no longer orient around the future being something you're entirely in control of.

No one knows how long the quarantine will force everyone to be home, and that's truly a difficult new reality for most of us.

For your teens, this can feel like forever and is so disappointing that events they have planned for and looked forward to are likely not going to happen (prom, spring breaks, summer trips, plans with friends, etc.).

This is going to be so difficult for them, and it's important that you show them compassion rather than judgment.

Yes, these things might be considered “first world problems,” and I get that people are dying around the world, but it's also OK for teens to be sad that their lives are changing.

We're all are sad about that, so try to hold space for your feelings and your kids’ feelings. This is a tough time for everyone, and judgment is not helpful during difficult moments.

6. Model what you’d like to see.

Try to show them how a person can both be scared and uncertain, feeling those feelings but still continuing to function.

Show them what resilience looks like. Acknowledge your feelings and feel them, but don’t live in them. You can move through them and navigate what life is like now.

Your teens will do better if you model this for them, too.

7. Therapy.

If your teen is struggling, help them continue or start therapy.

Most teens are more receptive to advice from other adults than their parents, so this is a perfect time to enlist a therapist’s help. This way, you can support their coping and help them gain some perspective.

RELATED: How To Help Your Teen Deal With Social Isolation

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Erica Wollerman is a licensed clinical psychologist who has held a passion for helping people since beginning her career in psychology in 2006. If you would like to read more about her work, check out Thrive Therapy Studio.

This article was originally published at Thrive Therapy Studio. Reprinted with permission from the author.

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