Confinement for teenagers during COVID-19 creates a double challenge for parents: dealing with their natural defiance stage and making sure they apply social distancing as a way to stop the spread of the disease.
While small children have a willingness to be comforted and loved at all times, teenagers and young adults do not feel the same way.
Below is a comprehensive list of the most common concerns for parenting teenagers and young adults during the COVID-19 pandemic:
Start a conversation with your teen or young adult about the COVID-19 outbreak.
The first challenge for teens and young adults is to make a halt in their social interactions with their friends and classmates.
Parents have the responsibility of sitting down with their teens and talk to them in a straightforward, warm way.
Although COVID-19 is less severe on teens and young children and the majority are asymptomatic carriers. They pose a risk to infect other family members that are more vulnerable, like their grandparents.
Ask probing questions to see what they have seen or heard about the disease.
Ask them which media sources they are being exposed to and advise to minimize watching the news coverage, as they may feel frightened about what is happening.
After probing, share facts from reliable sources to create a sense of awareness and they can understand what’s going on.
Seek help from a third party
If they are hesitant to listen to you, engage others, they might be more likely to listen to — like their health care provider, or another family member they trust.
Before asking for support, understand and acknowledge their frustration over not seeing friends and validate their feelings.
Remember that, just like you on your “good old days,” their friends are significant, mainly because bonding with peers is one of the essential developmental tasks of adolescents. Humans are social by nature.
Reassure that they are safe and sound at home and that this a unique, temporary event.
Adolescents and young adults need a sense of hope while they mentally manage to counter COVID-19.
Show yourself as an optimistic parent that is making the most out of this situation by spending quality and meaningful time with them. If they feel that you are making your best effort to protect them, they are more likely to listen and calm down.
Create empathy and apply the mirror effect
Anxiety and stress are not limited to parents: teenagers and young adults have their mental struggles for coping with COVID-19.
If you feel they are anxious or stressed about the situation, create empathy, and apply the mirror effect so they can see they are not alone.
“Psychologists have long recognized that anxiety is a normal and healthy function that alerts us to threats and helps us take measures to protect ourselves,” says expert adolescent psychologist, best-selling author and monthly New York Times columnist, Dr. Lisa Damour,
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention of the United States (CDC), stress during an infectious disease outbreak can include: fear and worry about your health and the health of your loved ones; changes in sleep or eating patterns; difficulty sleeping or concentrating; worsening of mental health conditions; increased use of alcohol, tobacco, or other drugs.
If you become aware of any of these key points, speak to your teenager or young adult immediately and contact your health care provider or a professional counselor.
Set up a routine with your teen
Most schools are closed, and this entices parents to set up a contingency routine while the “new normal” is still around.
You may feel pressure as to how to help your teenager son or daughter with remote learning. Contact your school authorities to set up a home planning for homeschooling your kids.
Set up a routine with your teen and a creative and meaningful schedule they can enjoy, like playing music, baking, watching a fun movie, or maybe playing a board game.
Make sure you develop a realistic yet dynamic schedule that includes breaks, socializing with others using a videoconferencing tool – for example, and a rewarding entertainment afterward.
Remember that you are his/her role model, and if you are not in control of your anxiety and stress – at least in front of them – they would not have a reason to feel at ease.
Minimize your mental struggles by creating your home routine, exercising, eating well, and staying connected with other family members and friends.
Contact a professional counselor if you are concerned that your teenager or young adult son or daughter is experiencing symptoms of a mental health condition such as anxiety, depression, or suicidal thoughts.
To get the latest official information on COVID-19:
A portal for public information that is curated by the COVID-19 Task Force at the White House, working in conjunction with CDC, HHS, and other agency stakeholders.
The Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) landing page on CDC.gov is the latest public health and safety information from CDC and for the overarching medical and health provider community on COVID-19.
The site contains consumer and medical information on how the virus spreads, symptoms, prevention and treatment, stigma, cases, and what to do if you are sick, along with frequently asked questions.
USA.gov catalog of all U.S. government activities related to COVID-19.
An interagency website, organized by the White House Coronavirus Task Force, for definitive information on the public’s most frequently asked questions.
The site currently features content from the Department of Health and Human Services, the Department of Homeland Security, FEMA, the Department of the Treasury and the Small Business Administration.