Our teenagers are living through an incredible situation that no one could have predicted. Yet, they are growing up in the now and have to figure out a way to cope with it all. Teens aren’t always equipped to figure this out, but the following tips can help you as a parent.
Stay Calm and Keep Your Peace
Let’s be frank, what is going on in the world is scary. It’s okay to admit you are anxious, and don’t what will happen next, but find ways to center yourself. The reality is anxiety and negative feelings are contagious and spread like wildfire. You could be making your teen more anxious than he or she already is. Try your best to find moments of peace, get your faith squared away and your support structure shored up. When you do it will allow those feelings to keep everyone in your home a little happier. Anxiety doesn’t help anyone, and too much of it could lead to health issues like depression, among other things.
Another thing you can do to help your teenager navigate this pandemic is to stay informed. The more informed you are, the less likely you’ll feel nervous and the more tools you will have in your arsenal. This also enables you to give good advice to your teen. The CDC and other medical professionals are doing their best to help families like yours stay safe. You can’t offer sound advice if you aren’t informed.
Ask to Find Out
You should find out what your teenager knows about the pandemic. Just because your kid sits on the couch with you to watch the news doesn’t mean he or she understands what’s happening. On top of that, your child is probably talking to friends about the pandemic. There’s no telling what kind of misinformation your teen might be exposed to or how they have processed that information. The simplest way is to ask your teenager what he or she knows so that you can properly address their concerns and navigate life with your teen.
Acknowledge Their Concerns
Your teens have concerns just like you. Maybe they aren’t concerned about the same thing you are, but that doesn’t mean concerns don’t need to be heard. If your teen is worried about their friends, the classes they aren’t attending, or about some party they won’t be a part of, that’s okay. These things are causing distress to your teen and learning to handle distress and situations out of your control is a part of becoming a high-functioning adult that in engaged in their community. Think with love first. Do your best to relate and be compassionate. Remember that you are the adult and parent in their life. If your teenager thinks you at least attempt to understand him or her, then your kid should feel a little better about this situation.
Your teenager must know you are available. Be as open as you can and as honest as you can during this time, and answer the questions you can answer. Be honest about the answers you don’t have, but go ahead and try to find out those answers. The last thing you want to do is give out misinformation as that could be the difference between getting sick or not. Some parents might close themselves off because they feel intimidated, uncertain and don’t want to be “that parent”. Maybe they think the issue is too big for them to handle. Closing yourself off to your teenager could alienate your child and create a situation that swiftly spins out of control, making things harder for everyone.
Empower Through Action
Talk is valuable, but you need to back your words up with action. If the teenager in your home notices that you aren’t taking action, he or she might not, either. If the CDC or your local county is telling you to wear masks, make sure you wear them. If the CDC is telling you to stay six feet away from everyone else, then make it a point to do this as much as possible. Do your best to stay inside even if it’s boring or you are sick of being together in the house. You can tell your teenager you’re bored, too, but you are doing this for everyone else and the other people that you love. Practicing what you preach is an excellent way to help your teenager navigate this world.
You must be vigilant and aware. Teenagers are naturally social, and being away from all their friends could be quite detrimental to their health. Please pay attention to your teen and his or her behavior. Hopefully, this is just a precaution, but it’s essential to recognize the emotional turmoil the pandemic is causing. This could lead some teens to make bad decisions. For example, teen substance abuse is a possibility. Just pay attention to your teen, learn the signs like mood swings, strange behavior, fatigue, poor performance at school, and general disengagement from things your teen enjoys typically. These are just some things you can do to help your teen navigate the pandemic. If you want some additional help, you can talk to a school counselor or a teen psychologist to help you out.