The COVID-19 pandemic has made such a powerful impact on our youth that if you have children at home born between 2001 and 2007, they are now called “quaranteens,” says Dr. Daniel Bober, a local adolescent psychiatrist and addiction medicine physician. “During their teenage years, kids’ bodies are changing, and they are negotiating peer relationships,” says Bober. “And while still in need of their parents’ guidance, they are also seeking independence. This period of maturation can already be challenging, but with COVID-19 it can be even more so.” To help keep your teen safe and engaged during this time of social isolation, Dr. Bober offers suggestions below.
Maintain a routine. Structure can help restore a sense of normalcy and give teens a sense of control and comfort when the world around them is unfamiliar and different. Set up daily activities and a regular bedtime.
Monitor virtual activities. It’s important to know what your kids are exposed to. Explain that what they read or see online may not always be accurate.
Model calmness. Maintain a calm and reassuring manner during your conversations. Kids often model parent behavior.
Keep it simple. Explain that sometimes the world is unpredictable and you are there to protect and guide them. Keep an open line of communication without judgment, so they feel comfortable to speak with you.
Connect with family and friends. Even from a distance, friends and family are a support system, especially when you need to take a break to take care of yourself.
Focus on the positive. Share with your teens how scientists are working to create a vaccine to help with the virus.
Text by Juliana Accioly