I currently have a houseful of teens. Parents of teens are discovering the unique challenges isolation presents for this age group. So far, I’m surviving the outrageous amounts of teen hormones, constant snacking, sleeping until all hours and occasional eye roll. But in order to do so, there are a few reminders I have to give myself regularly:
They’re kind of sad and that’s fair
I have a kid in Grade Eight whose school play, graduation trip and graduation ceremony got cancelled. I’ve got another kid in her last year of high school. No prom for her. My University kids were sent home and are missing going to lectures and hanging out with their friends. Sure, the teens are healthy and we are grateful for that, but we need to honour the loss they are feeling. They are missing out on important events.
They need to have a schedule and they need to stick to it
I find the teens are happier and feel more accomplished when they set some goals and accomplish them. Have them make their own schedule – they will be more invested in something they create. Be sure to encourage some physical activity as well.
They're dealing with love in the time of COVID
If you have a teen with a budding romance, try to empathize with them. Remember the thrill that first time you met someone who made your heart skip a beat? Remember how you wanted to be together AT ALL TIMES? Your teen is missing that person so hard right now. Don’t minimize their feelings. You may see it as puppy love, but to them, this is the real deal and a very significant relationship.
I need to get involved in THEIR activities
So maybe creating Tik Toks and learning the latest video game is not really your jam. It doesn’t have to be. But by participating in something that is important to them, sends a big message of love.
Parents need to unite
Our teens think we are the only mean parents out there who are insisting on sticking to the physical distancing rules. Let’s all commit to doing a VERY GOOD job of sticking to the rules so that we can all be the meanest parents in the world together. Parents of teens everywhere must be consistent.
This is a very tricky time for all parents. No one is getting off easy here, including parents of teens. If you’re dealing with a grumpy door-slamming kid who is saying AWFUL things to you, just remember to stick to the golden rule of parenting teens: DO NOT TAKE ANYTHING THEY SAY PERSONALLY. And keep your eye on the prize – you will get them out of your house eventually!