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  • Writer's pictureDr. Mojgan Makki

You Asked and We Answered

On July 15, we hosted a webinar where we discussed "How Families Can Come Together in Times of Uncertainty."  If you were unable to join us, please click here to watch a video recording. Throughout the webinar we fielded some great questions from participants. We answered as many as time allowed during the Q&A session, but were not able to address them all. Here are the most universally relevant questions we received, along with our answers. We believe that parents of teenagers and young adults will find them relevant and helpful as they navigate these unprecedented times.

Q. How can parents get their teenagers out of the home when they want to be inside all day?

A. Parents should take a step back and think about how their teen is doing overall. We are living through a unique time where healthy choices for getting out and socializing are limited. Have conversations with your teens and think about their temperaments. Many introverts are doing fine staying home, reading books, and socializing virtually. If your teens are extroverts who usually enjoy hanging out in large groups, talk to them about how they are feeling. If they are unhappy staying home all the time, but concerned about health risks, help them explore opportunities to safely spend time outdoors or with others.

Q. What can we do to motivate young adults who feel their lives are on hold during the pandemic?

A. During this difficult and unique time, parents need to recognize and validate their teens’ and young adults’ feelings. Let them know that it is okay to be disappointed, angry, and anxious. Let them talk about their frustration. Be their emotional coaches by listening to them and helping them think about what they have control over and what is out of their control. Encourage them to focus on what they can control and to start developing strategies to navigate what they can, so they can feel productive and empowered.

Q. How can I get my teenagers to join in activities with me?

A. Parents shouldn’t dictate the terms of family time. To find common ground, first talk to your teens individually to determine their interests and then have a family meeting where you invite your teens to provide input.

Q. How can I ease my teen’s anxiety and help them cope, especially if they can’t go back to school?

A. You can help your teens improve their outlook and establish a positive mindset by making sure they maintain a daily purpose and plan their days with things they can accomplish. Daily stress can be minimized by maintaining a consistent sleep routine, taking a walk or exercising, and eating a healthy variety of foods. You can also encourage them to try meditation and relaxation tools that are available online or through apps like Calm, Headspace, or Kardia Breathing. Finally, make sure they address feelings of loss by talking to them, listening to them, and validating their feelings.

Q. Since everyone is parenting differently during the pandemic, how should I handle my kids going to friends’ houses?

A. It is up to you, as parents, to discuss what precautions you expect your kids to take when they are out and about with others. Remind them that while they are less likely to become seriously ill, they need to think about others in their family, like parents and grandparents. Because of the vast discrepancies in how people are handling safety measures, talk to other parents about what they are doing in their homes and enforce the precautions you expect others to follow if they are in your home.

Q. How can I improve my relationship with my 25 year old who has been diagnosed with an attachment disorder?

A. People with attachment disorders have a hard time with emotional attachment and relationships. As a parent, it would be best to have realistic expectations and enjoy any small victories. Recognize that a five or ten minute phone call is a success. Make sure your young adult doesn’t have any comorbid psychiatric conditions like anxiety or depression, by consulting a mental health professional. And, importantly, make sure you stay healthy and get support from friends and family.

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