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Teenagers And Quarantine: NYC Therapist Shares Five “Survival” Tips

Nov 02, 2023
Teen Therapy NyC, Teen Anxiety Therapist, Therapist Teen Depression

Teenagers And Quarantine: NYC Therapist Shares Five “Survival” Tips

If you were a teenager (again), how would you handle being stuck with your parents and possibly siblings each day for weeks?

Probably not very well.

There may be temper tantrums, slamming of the doors, shouting matches, or the opposite — long silences and lack of communication.

Just a few months ago nobody could imagine that such a situation would actually occur. But as we are finding out, it can and it has.

It is difficult for everyone, teens included.

Teenagers hate being separated from their friends and their usual activities for so long. When faced with challenges and stressful situations (as the lockdown / quarantine undoubtedly is), they want to interact with their peer group because nobody else “gets” them.

Some of the quarantine-related struggles that many adolescents are going through are the same as their parents’. But because teens may not have yet developed emotional resistance and other skills to help them overcome frustration— the ability to “rationalize,” for instance — they are more likely to exhibit angry reactions.

Any parent knows that adolescents don’t like being told what to do or feel “overprotected.” They want to make their own decisions and resent any parental (or, in this case, societal) interference in their lives.

So what is a parent to do?

Show understanding

Your first reflex when dealing with an out-of-control teenager may be to tell them to stop it and start behaving themselves.

But even if you are a bundle of nerves – after all, this situation is not easy for you either — try to approach the teen with as much patience and kindness as you can muster. 

Tell them you  empathize with their frustration, but they are old enough to understand that sometimes life throws us curveballs and we must deal with them the best we can.

Explain the seriousness of the health crisis

Perhaps your teen doesn’t realize the severity of the Covid-19 pandemic or thinks young people can’t be contaminated. 

Now is a good time to watch news reports and do some independent research on the gravity of the virus for people of all ages.

It is far better for them to come to this conclusion themselves than being told by others.

Discuss strategies for living in a conflict-free manner

All members of the family are stressed and ready to lash out at each other. As strong as this urge is, take a deep breath, get together, and find ways to —as the saying goes — make peace, not war.

Ask your teens what would make this period more tolerable for them —with the exception of going out and seeing their friends, of course. Are there some activities you can do together, while also giving each other some space from time to time?

Look forward

Plan some fun activities when it’s safe to resume normal life. Ask your adolescent for a list of things they would like to do — maybe something they had been wanting to do before but never got a chance to?

Having something to look forward to might make the present situation easier to handle.

Last but not least: encourage virtual contact with friends

Just because teens can’t go out with their friends, they can communicate with them often on FaceTime, Zoom, and other video chat programs.  

This contact is probably what is going to keep them — and you —sane, so make sure to enable their social interactions with technology.