PANDEMIC CAN BE A LEARNING, GROWTH EXPERIENCE FOR PARENTS OF TEENS

While everyone is social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic, many people are living apart from loved ones in hopes of not spreading the virus to their family members.

A primary developmental need for teenagers is getting social interaction with non-family members. While teenagers are social distancing, they can use the internet to have virtual hangouts with friends to still have social interactions.

“Well, maybe invite your teen into the kitchen and help you prepare a meal,” said UA assistant professor of Human Development, Deborah Casper said. “That would be a nice way to have a really casual [conversation]and allow topics to come up organically without distractions of devices. And it’s OK to ask them, ‘How are you doing, how are you feeling today, are you feeling sad, are you feeling depressed?’ and talk about what their friends are doing, know that they’re connecting on virtual platforms and still remaining engaged with what their teens are doing.”

This time is also good to let teens establish autonomy and let them make their own daily schedules. If you think your child isn’t doing well under quarantine, experts say it’s best to not force a conversation.

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