It has been 21 days of being quarantined because of COVID-19, but who’s counting? You are because you have been stuck in the house with a teenager who perpetually asks you questions like they did when they were 2 years old.
Can I go to my friend’s house?
Can my friend come over here?
Can I go to Chick-Fil-A?
How long are we going to be sheltered in place?
What does shelter in place even mean?
You may feel at your wit’s end. How do I give them a reality check without overwhelming them? How do I enforce consequences when what I would take away has already been taken away?
Give them information
You may feel overwhelmed with all the COVID-19 information from the news, social media, etc. But our children might not hear the latest statistics from local, state and national officials. All they know is that we have to “social distance” or “shelter in place.” Define social distancing. Discuss the “shelter in place” rules of your city and state. Explain what COVID-19 is. How is it spread? Why is social distancing and self-quarantining used to prevent its spread?
Understand their frustration
This has been a rapid change into what has become our new normal. Three months ago, teenagers were hanging out or working at the mall, restaurants, movies, and going to sporting events. Now, the expectation is to be home with your parents and siblings 24/7.
Just for a minute, travel down memory lane. Think about yourself as a teenager. Remember all the stuff you did, who you were friends with, and how you hung out. Now imagine, overnight, you were stuck at home with your parents and siblings for weeks at a time. No school, no friends just the people you are related to.
Open your Eyes.
That’s your teen’s reality now.
Remember that you are the parent
It is our job to lead and teach our teens. No matter the circumstances in life. It’s a teen’s job to explore boundaries and limits that parents set. When we know what to expect, we can better handle the whys and it’s not fair statements from our teens. Recognizing that to some teen brains, COVID-19 won’t or can’t happen to them. We, as parents, have to impress upon them the fact that the Coronavirus doesn’t discriminate. It attacks all types of people. You might have to say, “Because my job is to keep you safe, even from yourself, we as a family are going to follow the mandates set by our local and state leaders.”
Practical Tips to Dealing with a Quaranteenager:
- Make and keep a daily routine (sleep, exercise, etc.)
- Eat healthy (variety of foods)
- Protect time for them to socialize (Hangouts, Zoom, HouseParty, other social apps.)
- Create family fun (Game Nights, Movie Nights)
I have heard it over and over in the last few weeks that we are living in a new normal. That may be the case, but there are still things that hold true. As parents, we are to teach our teens; set healthy limits for them; even protect them from danger (THEMSELVES). Parenting a “quaranteenager” may not be easy. In reality, are any teenagers easy?