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Parenting teens during the pandemic

"Establishing and enforcing limits can be challenging for parents and teens – especially when their friends have parents with different rules," says Dr. Beurkens

Parenting teenagers can be a challenge under normal circumstances, and the pandemic hasn't made it any easier. 13 ON YOUR SIDE spoke with holistic child psychologist, Dr. Nicole Beurkens, about how to navigate enforcing social distancing guidelines when others don't.

"Establishing and enforcing limits can be challenging for parents and teens – especially when their friends have parents with different rules. This is an issue for many families during the pandemic, even as things begin to open back up. Parents may be struggling to determine what the rules should be for their kids around social distancing, and how to help them understand when other parents are making difference choices," said Dr. Beurkens.

"Here is a process parents can use to support themselves and their teens during this time:

Listen – Start by listening to your teen’s feelings and arguments, even if you don’t agree.

Empathize – Acknowledge their feelings and empathize with them. Don’t dismiss their emotions or try to get them to feel better about it.

Educate – Explain to them why you have decided on whatever rules you’ve set. Show them where you are getting information, talk with them about your concerns, and emphasize that health and safety is the goal.

Problem Solve – Help them think through possible solutions to address their concerns. If they are upset about not being able to attend a large gathering, for example, talk through some other options that they can participate in.

Stand firm – Stick to your decisions about what you believe is appropriate, even if your teen disagrees or is distressed. This provides a positive model of not allowing others to influence you on issues that matter, which is what we want our teens to do in their own lives."

For other insights from Dr. Beurkens, visit her website.

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