Adolescents and Quarantine: What's It Like for Them?

27 May, 2020
Socializing and relating to others is central for teenagers. Therefore, when it comes to adolescents and quarantine, the situation can be especially challenging. So, what can we do to help them cope with this situation better?

Adolescents and quarantine. What’s confinement like for our youth and how do they cope when they’re in a stage where they need independence? As the weeks go by, alarms continue to go off regarding coronavirus. And being forced to stay at home 24 hours a day is affecting relationships among family members.

Being in quarantine with adolescent children can be complicated. Small conflicts that you had in the past may turn into uphill battles. Adolescents find themselves with no other choice than to live side by side with their parents in the middle of their vital search for independence. Therefore, teens are among the groups that will suffer the most during this period of enclosure.

Adolescents and quarantine: How to help them understand that this is a temporary situation?

All of us are going through a difficult time and nobody’s happy about what’s going on. But, as adults, we’re more prepared to accept the situation and deal with it better than our adolescent children. Teens need to get out because their bodies demand it. They’re going through a stage where they need to connect with their friends, but right now they can’t even leave the house.

We have to make it clear to them that confinement isn’t just some whim of ours. Rather, it’s a difficult situation and we all need to stay at home in order to see it through as soon as possible.

Adolescents and Quarantine: What's It Like for Them?

In these modern times, we’re used to living a life where immediacy is the order of the day. Our adolescent children have grown up in a world where they get what they want in the here and now. But due to the current pandemic, we must all wait and be patient. And this is difficult, especially for teens.

Adolescents and quarantine: How can we help them cope as best as possible?

During these weeks of confinement, there will no doubt be moments of tension with our teens. But we need to try our best from keeping these issues from lasting over time.

  • Adolescents, in their states of anger and frustration, can say a lot of things. But it’s important for us not to take these things personally. Remember, it’s a consequence of their feelings of powerlessness and anger about not being able to go out.
  • Confrontations will be inevitable during this time of isolation. It’s not about offering rational explanations – that won’t help them stop feeling the way they feel. Rather, it’s about controlling their impulsiveness. It’s about handling their need to be with their friends and have opportunities to disconnect with their peers.
  • There will be moments for spending time as a family. But you also need to allow your adolescent children to have time to themselves in the privacy of their own rooms.
  • It’s best not to insist on arguing about things that, in the end, won’t get you anywhere. Don’t get stuck in power struggles – know how to let up when necessary in order to keep the peace.
  • Now’s a time when your teens need you to listen to them and pay attention to them. Don’t rush things and, of course, give them the time they need.

Tips for making quarantine easier for adolescents

Put yourself in their shoes

Now more than ever, we need to try to understand what kids are going through. Adolescence is a stage of insecurity and change. Their priorities at this time are based on social aspects, which makes the current situation even more complicated.

Adolescents and Quarantine: What's It Like for Them?

Talk to teenagers about quarantine

We need to keep in mind that teenagers aren’t at the same level as adults when it comes to maturity. Therefore, it can be harder for them to comprehend and endure. Be sure to explain to them that by staying at home, they’re saving their own lives and those of others. And we need them to help out around the house because we can’t do everything ourselves.

Explain that this isn’t a vacation; establish a daily routine

Being in quarantine doesn’t mean waking up every day and going straight to the couch, smartphone in hand. Talk to your teens about the importance of maintaining a daily routine during this time period. 

We’re not saying they have to get up early, but they should wake up at a reasonable hour. They can use the morning hours to get their schoolwork out of the way. Then, they can have the rest of the afternoon to do whatever they want.

Give them time to socialize with their cell phones, without going overboard

There needs to be time for everything. This means allowing them to talk or chat with their friends on the phone or play online games. Just make it clear that they can do this for a reasonable amount of time… not all day. Establish a time limit or a certain time of day, and then leave it up to them to manage their phone use.

Adolescents and quarantine… these are two concepts that just don’t mix. But, if you put the above suggestions into practice, the situation will definitely be more bearable. Remember to avoid unnecessary conflicts, work together, be patient, and stay home. We wish you the best!