Supporting Adolescents When Everyone is Staying at Home

With everyone stuck at home, we might now find ourselves more involved in the daily activities of our adolescents. At times, our teens welcome that involvement and at times, they rebel.

We're about three weeks into the stay at home order and the “vacation” mentality is wearing off. The reality of continuous time together has set in. What might have started as fun, light hearted time together, might now be more tension filled. The cornerstone of Adolescence is independence and peer identification. It’s a time that your “young adult” will push boundaries, teeter on the seesaw of family values and peer group values, and test the space of adult transition. It’s a time that your adolescent will test who they are and who they want to be, with the nice safety net that family/home gives them. In this unprecedented time, we don’t have a lot of knowledge on how this will ultimately affect us all. The stress your adolescent is experiencing is threefold.

  • They have the pressure of school and how to balance what the future of college looks like with no blueprint of what this time will do to apps and acceptances.

  • They have a lack of peer connection. Even with virtual connection, it isn’t the same as chatting in class, at lunch, after school activities, and the like.

  • They have a decrease of independence and the experiences of boundary pushing. There are not many options available right now to push outside of expectations because of safety concerns. Even something as mundane as coming home 15 minutes after curfew is not an option now.

So, what can we do to support our teens?

It’s important to give your adolescents some time alone, unscheduled. It's okay if they want to flop in front of the TV, video games, lock themselves in their rooms, buck up against the daily schedule from time to time.

As parents, we need to be mindful of their need to develop in ways that give them opportunities to fail, and to see some decisions don’t work out well for them. Without failure and obstacles, they can’t know the values you hold as a family are what makes each individual (and the family unit) thrive and succeed.

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