As the closures continue, there is a demographic everyone seems to have forgotten about: Teens
The age group people are torn about most. As parents, this is the age that seems to strike fear into even the most level headed moms and dads. As a teen mom, I say keep your wits about you. Teens smell fear which is why having a discussion with them during this turbulent time is so important. Even though your teen son or daughter may tower over you in height or even if you seem to have the most adult conversations, and your teen may seem like they are becoming a grown-up overnight but I need you to remember they are still kids.
They are scared and they are vulnerable!
They need to be reminded that you are still in charge of their health and well being
My best advice is to sit down and have a conversation.
Take the phones, turn off the television and other distractions. Next, ask them what they know, what they have heard and then cover the facts. Make sure you present the facts clearly and as concisely as you can. Remind them that knowledge is power, and the reason healthy people take these precautions is to protect vulnerable people. These include the elderly, very young, pregnant, and immunocompromised.
I keep hearing people say well what about the proms and graduations. It is sad and unfortunate. I’m hoping that we will see some turn around in the coming weeks. I personally don’t want my daughter to miss her 1st prom or to miss my nephew’s graduation. I want to see my girls take the stage and dance at their recital in May.
Reassure them that they will still receive those diplomas. The one advantage they do have is that they are the only generation who has always had the ability to communicate without having to physically be near a person. They have been practicing social distancing since almost birth. Skype, Zoom, and Messenger are now more important than ever.
Remember teens feed off our anxiety so do yourself and your family a favor and tune out a bit.
Choose a specific time to check the headlines during the day. Try to limit it and keep the TV off. The news does not need to be on all the time. Practice some mindfulness exercises or try some yoga. We have a hard enough time processing this, but it’s even harder for our kids. However, do not downplay the seriousness of this. Don’t falsely reassure them that everything is going to be OK. They need to hear that they are responsible for helping keep people healthy by doing their part.
Help your teen get focused on staying healthy: proper hygiene methods, getting enough sleep and eating healthily. Also, watch for changes in behavior in your child: signs of anxiety, loss of sleep, appetite changes and if they are suddenly very irritated or aggressive. If you see these changes in your teen please call your doctor.
Another way to help your teen cope is to encourage them to look for ways to support others during this time. Teens do better when they are actively involved. Let them babysit, grocery shop, or run errands for elderly neighbors.
This is the time to teach our kids
In this life, there are going to be many things that happen that are beyond our control. You always have choices, you can choose happiness over fear, kindness over cruelty there is always a choice. This is our chance to teach them what it truly means to be socially responsible.