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Helping Teens Cope During Shelter In Place

As the nationwide coronavirus or COVID-19 epidemic continues, more and more states, cities, and towns are issuing ‘stay at home’ or ‘shelter in place’ orders. While many of us have a broad understanding of what this entails, there is some confusion about what the difference between the two is, what families can and can’t go do, and what the consequences are. Parents need to make sure they are properly informed. But we need to go further and make sure children and especially adolescents, are informed as well. Being confined to one’s home isn’t just a challenge for teens; it’s a challenge for adults as well. During this time, your parenting may be put to the test. Therefore, it’s important to not only find ways to cope and stay engaged but also learn to be alone together. Destinations for Teens understands this wants to make sure you have the resources you need.

What Shelter In Place Means

When there is a sudden or severe emergency, sometimes the best reaction is to stay in one place. The idea is to let the danger pass by while you remain secure. However, when people hear the command to shelter in place, they may worry. Typically, this directive is given when there is an immediate emergency like a tornado or active shooter. Thus, hearing we now need to shelter in place can be anxiety-inducing. But it’s necessary to remember this directive is being issued for the safety of everyone. The vast majority of states and local governments have issued either stay at home or shelter in place orders due to COVID-19. To stem the tide of the virus spread, we all need to stay indoors whenever possible. However, there are exceptions. You can still be outside in your yard or even go for a walk. We all have to keep in mind when we do so that we stay at least six feet away from anyone not in our household. Going to the grocery store for necessities for your household and pets is still allowed, as is going to the doctor or any healthcare facility. Also, you still visit other family members that need care.

Ways to Help Teens Cope

Social distancing can be difficult for adolescents. Their lives tend to revolve around their friends and social group. Not being allowed to be with their friends can have an isolating effect on teens. They may feel like they’re being unnecessarily punished. Thus, it’s vital for parents with teens to make it clear to them staying at home is something we all must do for everyone’s benefit. It’s a teachable moment. By staying home and obeying shelter in place directives, you’re saving the lives of others. But still, we all can begin to feel cooped up. Therefore, keep in mind the following ways to help teens cope during shelter in place: 

  • Solidarity: Make it clear to your teen that it’s going to be hard. It’s going to be hard for everyone, whether it looks like it or not. It’s okay to feel stress or anxiety. What matters is talking about it. Whether it takes the form of social media posting or messaging, face to face conversations with family, or expressing oneself through projects, making your emotions known matters. We’re all in this together.
  • Responsibility: Teens revolt at the notion of being treated like a child. So, now’s the time to start expecting more of them. It doesn’t have to be a lot, but letting your teen plan a meal, make it, be in charge of some household chore or responsibility will give them a sense of control. At the same time, they’ll be occupied.
  • Independence: Often, parents think they need to be constantly involved or present in a teen’s life. However, giving adolescents space shows you respect and trust them. Also, it reduces the amount of pushback parents may receive when it comes time to check in on schoolwork or chores. Don’t smoother your teen.

Destinations for Teens

As health experts identify and treat more cases of COVID-19, we all need to come together to make sure the virus doesn’t spread unnecessarily. The shelter in place directive is one of the best ways to keep everyone safe and give healthcare professionals the space they need to treat those who already have the illness. This is how we get the virus under control. At Destinations for Teens, we understand the challenges adults face in caring for adolescents. Teens have unique reactions to every situation, and parenting can be difficult during this time. However, even when directed to shelter in place, be proactive. For example, Destinations for Teens now provides online and virtual programming for our intensive outpatient program where individuals can continue access to therapies such as:

So reach out to us today at 877.466.0620 to learn more about how you can support your teen through this difficult time.