It’s been over two months since lockdown to curb the spread of the coronavirus in South Africa. With families all being home all the time, its understandable that there are rough patches, but those locked down with their teenagers have been having unique challenges, like too much TikTok, too much Facebook, etc.
Here’s how you can cope with being quarantined with a teenager and concentrate on liking each other instead:
With the new Covid-19 reality, you and your teenager’s world has changed almost overnight. In an article for the New York Times, psychologist and the author of Untangled: Guiding Teenage Girls Through the Seven Transitions Into Adulthood says: “Though we can’t replace what’s been lost, adults should not underestimate the power of offering outright empathy to disheartened adolescents.
In addition to experiencing anxiety about Covid-19, teenagers also have every right to be sad, angry, and intensely frustrated about what has become of their year. Adults should not hesitate to say: “I hate that you have lost so much so fast and I am sorry it has happened. You’ll get through this, but that doesn’t make it any less miserable right now.”
Have a boundary-setting conversation
Have a conversation where you set out expectations, they share what they would like and both of you come to a common understanding of what the routine is during these unprecedented times. New realities call for new ways of doing things. So if they’re allowed to have a boyfriend or girlfriend, be clear about what’s allowed in terms of seeing that partner during the lockdown.
Get technology to help you
If your teenager is allowed to be on social media platforms like Instagram and Facebook, get apps on your phone that will help you monitor their time spent on them. That way you only step in when the information you see on the time-tracking apps indicates a problem.
Give them responsibility
Unlike younger children, counter their times of boredom by assigning some of the household chores to them – but remember to allow give them space to be alone – everyone needs this to cope with the reality of living in a pandemic.