These are stressful times indeed. As parents, we are overwhelmed with sheltering our entire families in place as well as myriad other stressful circumstances (groceries, bills, jobs and so much more). Likewise, our teens are feeling a lot of stress and need our help adjusting to this “new normal” that is certainly anything but.
I know most adults have tons of questions, so I have to think that teens have just as many – if not more. That’s why it’s so important to talk to them and ask them what they’ve heard and what other questions they have. This situation is changing daily, so we all need to be flexible and try to stay as calm as we can, for ourselves and for our families.
Check out these tips for talking to your teens about Coronavirus:
- Be honest with them. This is a scary and unprecedented time. However, it is important to temper this reality with as much calmness as you can muster. It may not always seem like it but your teen is watching your response as they try to process their own feelings.
- Try to establish a routine. This does not mean we need to set an alarm at 6:30 a.m. and force our teens to the kitchen table for on line learning. Instead, be routine with family dinners, a game night, or having an on-line chat with friends and family (especially with those who may be sheltering in place alone). We should also be routine with our regular expectations of their chores and family responsibilities. (But be flexible!)
- Encourage your teen to get outside and move their bodies. Exercise is always a good idea but, especially in this time of social distancing, it is especially beneficial in helping with any stress or anxiety they may be feeling. If your teen is not able to exercise (or unwilling) even getting them to sit outside in the sunshine can help alleviate stress.
- Be a bit more patient and compassionate. As adults, most of us are scared. Our teens are too. They are also dealing with the stress of cancelled school and the unknown outcome of grades, graduations, school dances and more. Giving them an extra hug, allowing a more phone time to connect with friends, or letting them sleep in are just a few suggestions.
- Get help if it’s needed. You or your teen may be having difficulty adjusting to the stress caused by the pandemic. Through this crisis, Centerstone remains fully operational and continuing to serve our clients and communities. As always, the health and well-being of our clients, staff and community stakeholders is our main priority. We have implemented system-wide strategies that reduce the risk of exposure while preparing us to respond effectively in the event the current threat level escalates. To reduce the risk of COVID-19 exposure at this time, almost all appointments are being conducted via telephone or telehealth (video).
Beth Hail is the regional vice president of Centerstone.