Written by Adele Ballantyne

Adele has an MA in Relationship Therapy in 2011 and is a member of the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP). She has experience in helping a wide variety of individuals, couples and families. Her consultancy work with organisations includes contracts with hospitals and NHS Trust departments.

For parents having teenagers around can be challenging at the best of times.

Due to the pandemic we are, all of us, floating around in uncharted waters not really knowing whether what we are doing is right for us as parents or our children.

Let me just say this, there is no right or wrong. 

We are writing new chapters to our life that were unforeseen and more importantly, we’ve had no time to practice or prepare for. It is important to remember that we are all unique as individuals and families and how we cope with this situation will be different for each family.

And so what can we do to ease this time of forced change for us and for our teens?

We are all fearful as parents to a greater or lesser extent, we don’t know how long this will last. It is the same for our teenagers.

We are writing new chapters to our life that were unforeseen and more importantly, we’ve had no time to practice or prepare for.

They are already facing huge unknowns, exams-cancelled, school-cancelled, going out-cancelled. Plus they have all the physical and psychological changes going on all the time. 

No wonder they’re moody.

So, some top tips for parents to help their teens;

  1. Safety– we are all a bit scared, reassure your teens that this is scary for everyone but we are trying hard with the measures in place to keep everyone safe. Offer an ‘open door’ policy so that they can come and talk to you if they are feeling worried or anxious.
  1. Boundaries – Normal rules and boundaries may need attention as the way we live has temporarily changed. Try to set some clear boundaries/rules whilst we are in ‘lockdown’. It might be worthwhile having a family meeting so everyone can contribute, it will make it fairer for everyone.
  1. Space – It is really important that we can all ask for, and be allowed some space. Remember we’re not used to being together this much. Even if we live in a small home, try to make a room available so we can have some time away. You can give it a name if you like, e.g. ‘Big Brother Room’. Make some rules too so that everyone can take turns to use it.
  1. Communication- listen to each other and try to be kind. We all struggle from time to time and tempers get frayed. Make sure that you ask for what you need and that your teens can too. You may not be able to give them what they ask for but it is vital to validate their request and feelings before you give the reasons why they can’t have/do what they want.
  1. Structure – at the moment it might feel like we have no control of our lives. One of the best ways to make that feel different is to create some kind of structure to our day. Plan for the next day and include study time, exercise, fresh air (even if its through an open window), jobs around the house(you are all living together and so everyone could help- make it fair), friends time.
  1. Time with friends – we are lucky to be living with advanced tech, so make use of it. your teen can organise a time to watch a movie with friends via zoom/FaceTime/house party. Do some karaoke or take it in turns to organise a fitness session. Or just chill and chat with a supply of cake/sweets/pizza/snacks.
  1. Time with family – organise a games night where you can come together and have some fun.
  1. Remind – your teens that what is happening at the moment is ‘just for now’ it will come to and end and life will return. 

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