How to Talk to Teens About Coronavirus

Fifth in our blog series deals with talking with your teen during this difficult time. Taken from an interview done by Yahoo News with  Dr. Robin Gurwitch, Ph.D  a psychologist and professor at Duke University Medical Center.

If only we had a magic formula of how to speak with teens so they would always listen,” Gurwitch jokes.

Teens are very, very different from younger children in that they have access to information through their friends and social media, but similar in that you can approach them by asking what they already know and meeting them on their level. Additionally, Gurwitch says that “teens are developing a greater sense of independence; therefore, we need to respect that they have their own ideas and opinions.”

This does not mean that we should be letting teenagers engage in unhealthy behaviors, but it does mean having an open and honest conversation about how COVID-19 is affecting all of us. Explain to your teen that teenagers are low-risk for contracting the virus or may not show symptoms, but if they are out and about, the risk of returning home and passing this to loved ones who may not be as fortunate is greater than if they are responsible and follow recommended guidelines.

With a lot of teenagers facing sporting events, school musicals or plays, proms and more being canceled, there is bound to be a lot of disappointment and frustration. Some are facing very real disappointment that they haven’t had to work through before. Being unable to see their friends or go out to socialize is just the icing on top of the cake. Be honest with your teen about why they cannot go out and why it’s important not just for them, but for others, to stay home to stop the spread of the virus.

When your teen is helping out around the house, playing games with the family and using social media to stay in contact with their friends, be sure to let them know how much you appreciate their actions. Perhaps even reward them somehow!

 Let us help at Growing Child Pediatrics if you are having any problems with your child.