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Managing the lockdown with adolescent children.

Monday, April 13th, 2020

Managing the lockdown with adolescent children.

Lets not sugar coat the situation. Aside from all the traumatic medical issues that are going on being locked down with adolescent children presents enormous challenges to say the very least. A combination of no school, no friends to socialise with and now being joined at the hip with mum and dad is not a recipe for creative family living in my experience.  Some writers speak of using the time to practice being a better person or learn a new language. All of these are laudable activities in themselves but I do wonder whether they have ever come across an adolescent. The major challenges facing most parents are how to get them up before midday and how to stop them being on their screens later into the night. With no structure or routine in their lives they are more likely to crash and burn than to practice mindfulness in their bedroom. 

So how might we tackle this period of isolation ? The first thing to do is be realistic and not to set the bar too high.  If you can get through this period without too many soul destroying meltdowns  then you have done a good job, period. Anything else is a bonus. 

There are two critical things to bear in mind though, the need for structure and some productivity. By all means let them have chaotic days mooching about doing nothing but they need a structure around them. Structure acts as a kind of container for being ‘adolescent’.  Without it they soon descend into chaos and acrimony. They may protest but they need it. They also need to do something productive most days, however small. This helps create a feeling of wellbeing.

Here are some ideas to consider in no particular order.  

Take some exercise

Speak to friends and family online

Get some good books and try to encourage a period of reading

Allow computer games but keep it in check.

Do some cooking.

If they play a musical instrument then keep the practice going.

Art, if they are interested.

Walking the dog.

Here are some of the things that are not worth bothering about. 

The state of their room.

How long they talk to their friends.

Good luck, see you on the other side !!