Making It Work: How to Help Teens Adjust to the New Normal


The recent months have been challenging for most. But some are having a harder time adjusting to the new normal than others. Teenagers, in particular, are at a time in their lives where social distancing and isolation are presenting problems that affect their need for independence. They are likely experiencing the stress and anxiety of being cooped up at home and separated from their friends. Help them cope during these trying times to make it easier on them and your household.

Give Teens Structure

With teens spending all of their time at home, they might find it difficult to adjust to unstructured time. Typically, they have classes, extracurricular activities, social gatherings, and even part-time work. The absence of these can affect how they manage time at home and affect their mood. By giving them structure, you help them develop a schedule that works for them.

  • Coordinate with their international high school to get their class schedule. Use this as a basis in creating a weekday schedule that gives them enough time to study, carry out their household chores, and hang out with friends online.
  • Consider giving them the freedom to create their own weekend schedules. Advise them on how to divide their time to make sure they don’t spend the whole day locked up in their room staring at a screen.

Give Teens Alone Time

teenager using her laptop

Teens seek autonomy during adolescence. They are at a time in their lives when they are trying to gain a better sense of self. This, along with physical and emotional changes, makes them prone to anxiety and mood swings. By giving them alone time, you provide them with the space to come to terms with these needs and wants.

  • Give your teens space by being respectful of their bedroom. Make sure to knock and ask for permission before entering, even if the door is already open. This shows them that you care about their privacy.
  • Don’t mistake their time at home as an excuse to force them into having family time. Rather than demanding them to join activities, ask them first if they are available. By giving them a choice, you can be sure that they want to be there when they do join.

Give Teens Emotional Support

The recent changes have taken several things from teens. These include sporting events, academic competitions, parties and dances, and even graduation. It is likely teens are grieving the loss of these; they might even feel frustrated and lash out. By giving them the emotional support they need, you can help them cope better with the situation.

  • Empathize with their situation and give them space to deal with their emotions. Make yourself available when they are ready to talk about it.
  • Try to be more understanding of their frustration and the anger that can come from it. Be more discerning on how to approach them, especially when it’s to talk to them about something they might not want to hear.

Families all over the world are adjusting to the new normal. Part of keeping the peace at home is giving everyone the time and space to adapt while providing them with the tools and resources to do so.

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