As social distancing orders continue and the frustration of homeschooling permeates our homes, I’ve witnessed the effects on several coaching clients. The boredom from not enough stimulation and loss of friend interactions that our teens are having to endure has gotten stale. Our kids are whining more, asking to go out with friends, even if it is only in the neighborhood, and the novelty of the situation is wearing thin.
These kids are mourning all they’ve lost and parents are mourning too.
In listening to the sagas from parents, the thing that keeps surfacing is a sense of depression and worry.
What will the future hold?
Will this ever end?
And my kid’s behaviors are starting to escalate which is driving me crazy!
For some (especially those introverts), parents long for alone time to not have to think about one more emotional outburst from their teens or the issue of attempting to work from home.
So what can we do as we try to keep a sense of civility in our home? How can we see our current circumstances differently such that we don’t get bogged down what feels like loss?
It’s easy to watch more movies on Netflix or scroll through our phones and play games. Our kids seem plugged to their screens without thought to their homework assignments. How do we counter the lack of focus on what we should be doing rather than flittering the time away?
- Let your kids grieve. Grief causes sadness and lack of motivation. Allow your kids space to talk about all they’ve lost or just veg in front of the TV. This is a time to loosen the reigns of structure.
- Acknowledge and validate their feelings. Rather than tell your teens about all the good things about the situation they are currently in, sit with them and agree with what they are feeling. “It is certainly understandable that given _______ you would be feeling ________.”
- Put some energy into your family. As a parent, you have an opportunity to slow down and really focus on your kids. Be creative. What can you inspire to get rid of the boredom? One family I know is building a backyard tree house/deck for hangouts with friends in the future. They are drawing up the plans and learning to use power tools. Another family created a music video to share with friends on-line. Have a 24 hour TV marathon. Eat junk food for an entire day. Have a game day of Twister. Or volunteer to do something extraordinary for the community. Do things that are out of the norm. Remember you have a unique opportunity to create memories.
- Give your kids more opportunity to earn money. With less eating out, less shopping, and no sporting events, teach the kids to do unique things around the house to earn money. Need a deck stained? Need flowers planted? Maybe you are doing spring cleaning projects? All of these are great opportunities to teach and reward.
- Take time to dream with your kids. While the days might become long and monotonous, dreaming about the future can bring energy. While this summer might not include a vacation, maybe the following year can be something to start looking forward to and planning now.
- Continue to listen. Isolation is hard on all of us. We need to talk and we need to have an opportunity to express our feelings. As parents, we need to be in the moment with our kids making sure that they feel heard while not forgetting to share the things we are struggling with as a result of the stay-at-home orders.
- Take care of yourself. Let’s face it, being around teens all day can be overwhelming at times. By giving yourself an hour or two a day to just do what you want can give you energy to be more creative and intentional in your relationships
- Above all else, stay in the Word.
A friend was talking about how anxious she was during this time. As I listened to her story about the disruption to her typical daily routine, it became apparent what was missing. Instead of taking time to read her Bible, journal, and pray as she typically did, she was caught up in the statistics of deaths and the politics resulting from Covid-19. God is the one thing we can’t put on a shelf during this season of life. We need Him to help us run the race of perseverance and endurance and give us the patience to deal with our teens.
God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging.
“Let go…and Let God”,