Let’s face it, you and your teen are struggling with this “stay at home” thing. They don’t seem to understand the importance of “social distancing.” You wonder if they think they’re invincible. The arguments are getting old. In fact, they’ve asked to see their friends so many times that you’re thinking of giving in and letting them do it, just once.
It’s difficult to raise a teenager, but the recent coronavirus outbreak presents some unique challenges. One of those is finding a balance of helping your teen socialize, but doing so in a safe way while practicing social distancing.
Socializing is Important for Teens
Part of that self-discovery happens from socializing with peers. The truth is, peer relationships are incredibly important to teens. It’s a chance to practice how they interact with others, discover that they’re not alone in the ways they see the world and learn about the views of others. Peer relationships give teens a chance to practice important relationship skills. These skills will pave the way for how they interact in with others in the future.
Teens May Feel Especially Distressed by “Social Distancing”
It’s also important to know that to a teenager, every interaction with a peer feels critical. How often has your teen told you that they were having an important conversation via Snapchat/Instagram/text message with a friend? I’m guessing pretty much every time they’ve been talking with a friend, right? Every interaction they have is important to them.
So, suddenly losing that chance to connect because of the pandemic may feel scary, isolating, and lonely. Of course, they can practice interacting with you. But, let’s face it, the teen has been forced to interact with you and the rest of their family more in the last few weeks than they’re used to. Furthermore, you’re at a different stage of life than they are. So, your teen is convinced you don’t understand what it’s like to be a teenager. In reality, you don’t understand what they’re going through since you never went through a period of being confined to your house for weeks on end.
So, it’s Important Teens Remain Connected
It’s very important that everyone, even your teen, practices social distancing in order to flatten the curve. I know it’s tough, but right now is not the time to cave and let them hang out with their friends. But, I encourage you to find ways to help your teen see this as a time of physical distancing, but social connectedness.
Help your child find ways to connect socially with their peers right now. Of course, it looks a little different when you can’t physically be in the same place. But, you can show them that you understand their need to talk to other adolescents right now. Give them (reasonable) privacy to talk to their friends. Help them brainstorm ways to still enjoy their friends’ company. Simply voicing that you are okay with them spending a little extra time on technology can make a big impact.
Ways Teens Can Socialize During the Coronavirus Outbreak
Here are some out of the norm ways your teenager might be able to remain connected to their friends during this period of time where we are practicing social distancing:
Watch a Movie Together
Movies and TV shows have long been a way to bring people together. Whether it’s going to the movie theater for a first date or scary movie nights at a friend’s house, most people can recall watching movies with their buddies in high school. That’s still possible, it just looks a little different right now.
First up, teens can each choose a favorite movie (or TV show) to watch together. Then, they can call each other to discuss what they watched. It’s a fun way to share something they like with another person.
Another option is to use Netflix Party to watch the same movie at the same time. If your teen and their friend both have a Netflix account (or a household one they can use), Netflix Party can be a great way to watch a movie with a friend.
Bake Cookies, Paint Nails, Shoot Hoops, or Work on Homework Together
Perhaps your son misses playing basketball with a group of friends at the park. Or, your daughter is used to working on homework with other students after school. Some of those same activities are still possible to do on Facetime, Zoom, or any other video chat platform. They just engage in the same activity while on a video call. For instance, they might set a computer or phone up on a chair at the right angle so they can shoot hoops while their friend does and keep track of who gets more shots in the basket. Or, two teens can each be in their own respective kitchen making spaghetti and chatting throughout the process. These are ways they can still have a shared experience and make new memories even while they’re physically separated.
Learn Something New Together
Learning something new with someone can be a bonding experience. And let’s face it, learning something new is often more fun if you have someone else along for the journey. When teens get bored, it may help to try something they’ve never done before.
Examples of new activities may include both teens getting a new video game and competing to see who can move through levels faster. Or, two teens getting crafty and trying to learn to knit or watching painting tutorials together while both try to paint.
Online Therapy: Extra Support for Stressed Teens During the Coronavirus
If you are worried that all of this newness and weirdness in the world is taking its toll on your teenager, it may be time to consider getting them some extra support. Wellview Counseling therapists are based in Atlanta but can offer online therapy sessions to teens anywhere in the state of Georgia. We’ve been offering counseling for teenagers online since well before the Coronavirus pandemic hit so we know how to relate to and help stressed-out teenagers.
Check Out Our Other Blogs on Mental Health During the Coronavirus Pandemic:
- COVID-19 Helping Kids Cope with Stress
- Coronavirus: A Shared Trauma
Begin Online Therapy for Teens in Georgia:
We know that life is hard for everyone right now. Especially for our children who aren’t used to living like this. If your teen is struggling to cope with the changes this quarantine has brought, consider online counseling. To begin telehealth in Georgia with Wellview Counseling, please follow these steps:
- Reach out to our Atlanta area counseling clinic to schedule an appointment,
- Meet with one of their knowledgeable teen therapists,
- Give your teen the gift of therapy and help them cope with the Coronavirus pandemic and the changes they’re experiencing.
Other Services offered at Wellview Counseling:
Wellview counseling, a Rosewell GA mental health clinic offers a variety of therapy services to help you or your loved one find healing and growth. Their counseling services include PTSD and trauma treatment, play therapy, child counseling, individual counseling, social skills groups for kids, therapy for postpartum anxiety and depression, trauma and PTSD treatment, chronic illness counseling, family therapy, and positive discipline parent education opportunities. Currently, to practice social distancing, we are offering all our services online. Contact our Rosewell, GA mental health clinic to learn more about the many ways the counselors at Wellview Counseling can help you, your child, or your teen during online therapy.