Quarantining parents and teens/young adults together is a recipe for trouble, even in the most loving families. No one likes forced confinement with other family members for an extended period unless you are a dog. A dog lover friend of mine who was single and didn’t have a lot of interest in getting married offered this challenge – “Lock your spouse (or your kids) and your dog in the trunk of a car and ask yourself who would be happy to see you when you opened the lid in an hour?” We aren’t unconditionally loving like our dogs, although we could take a lesson from these furry critters. We don’t take well to being penned in or confined even with people we love. What can we do to survive when hunkered down in the family bunker during the covid-19 pandemic? Here are some ideas.
Parents Need to Act as Leaders
Parents need to act more as team leaders than directive or controlling figures. Have family meetings, get everyone’s input, prepare an agenda of what is working and what isn’t, and facilitate problem-solving. Pandemics trigger blame and foster resentment. Avoid finger-pointing.
Set Aside Quiet Time
Set aside some time that is a quiet time in the house that everyone should honor. Get input as to what time of day and for how long this time out for silence should last.
- Space and privacy are equally as crucial as closeness and time together.
- Get outside (even if it’s just sitting outside). Take daily walks with or without another family member.
- Remind each other:
- Family members are not the enemy; the virus is.
- This, too, shall pass.
We need to work together to protect each other and others by following CDC guidelines.
- Save a life by staying home, wearing masks, washing hands, and observing physical distancing.
Antidepressant and Anti-anxiety Measures
- Talk to others if you feel depressed – family members, friends, or a therapist. Share your story, but be open to listening to the story of others. This is called mutual help. Social media can be lifesaving during these times.
- Exercise is one of the best antidepressants, shown to be as effective as an antidepressant medicine in a Duke University study.
- Be sure to eat well and get enough sleep. Teens and college students need at least eight hours of sleep a night.
- Challenge irrational thinking such as – “I’m sure this is going to kill me, I’m too weak to handle this, I’m helpless to do anything, etc.”
- Invest in ways to be helpful, not just family members but extended family and friends.
A phone call or video chat can make someone’s day and make you feel better.
Journal Your Experience
Start a quarantine journal. However, don’t just use journaling as a dumpster for your negative or fearful thoughts. Try to end each journal entry by giving the advice your best friend would give you. Think of picking up your journal and reading this three years from now. What will you have learned?
Here are some additional posts that address how to cope with the quarantine requirements on families. Please click on these or ask each family member to take one and report on what they learned, liked, and would like to suggest for the family:
- How Families Self Quarantine Without Going Insane
- 7 Ideas For Surviving Quarantine with Your Family
- 36 Indoor Activities for Teens During a Quarantine
- Concerned About Your College Student Being Home Due to Coronavirus?