Reconnecting while social distancing
I’m a mom of two teenage daughters.
At a time in their lives when they should be embracing their independence away from me … my kids are home with me.
It breaks my heart to see them missing out on school trips, plays, sport events, and prom. And without the ability to get caught up in the school day where their friends offer reassurance, encouragement, and stability, they’re struggling.
In fact, all of us are struggling.
If you’re a parent of teens, I get it. Suddenly, I’m simultaneously acting as a co-teacher, playing the makeshift doctor or dentist on occasion, being a loving partner and parent, and holding down a job where I’m suddenly transitioning to managing teams virtually.
Some days I run out of energy.
To help me navigate, I listened to a recent New York Times podcast and gathered a little bit of advice from psychologist, Lisa Damour who chatted about connecting with teens during this lockdown.
- Empathize. Teens often get through the slog of high school because of the “fun stuff” like proms, games, and activities. Losing it is a big deal. Try to be kind as to how deeply frustrating this experience is for your teens.
- Perspective. The reality is, most people living today have never experienced a pandemic of this magnitude. Help your teens see that, although this pandemic will be a defining moment, it most likely won’t change their life trajectory. They will be part of a unique cohort that lived through this and, yes, they will get to the other side.
Thankfully, technology is helping my kids maintain some normalcy. Not only does it help them connect with their friends but my oldest is continuing with her counseling and the structured learning she needs, and my youngest is still taking piano lessons, virtually, with her instructor.
I saw a cartoon a few weeks back that compared life before the pandemic—everyone was on their phones, ignoring one another—to life now, where everyone wants to be outside and spend time with family and friends.
This microscopic virus is reminding me of the importance of having a community and those in it. Most of all, it reminds me to take a step back and appreciate the simple things. The neighbor’s kids are playing catch, my daughters are riding bikes and rollerblading, and we’re spending time looking at the wonder of nature this spring.
Perhaps most important, this virus is teaching me that it’s time to regroup and reset. It’s taught me that I can adapt and make changes to improve my tomorrow, and I find that I’m thriving on the simplicity of human interaction.
So, to all the moms and dads of teens out there, stop, listen—it’ll be ok.
Stay connected, stay safe.