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Families on Lockdown : 3 Top Tips to Surviving the Lockdown with Teens

Okay, So we're all on #Coronacation. This is clearly having a knock-on effect on pretty much everything in life right now.


I am seeing so many parents worried or at their wits end with their #Quaranteens. And teenagers who are feeling overwhelmed by the world and are struggling to find a new normal that works for them...oh and y’know, doesn't include 24-hours of Netflix and Tiktok.


Unfortunately, I don't have the magic you need to suddenly increase your homes stress tolerance but... these are my top 3 tried and tested tips that can make a world of difference in your home


Breath. You can do this!


I have lost count of what week it is (But it feels like loads) and you have survived this far. You can do this!


Our children learn how to deal with situations from their caregivers (that's you!). It’s never too late to show them a different way. Whether you are the best at self-care or an absolute stress head. Now is the time to practice what you preach, put your oxygen mask on first... or whatever other motivational example you like, that ultimately tells us to look after yourself and you will be able to help your family and friends better.


The book on how to deal with this hasn't been written yet. A good rule of thumb is if you point your focus to things that will make you feel good in the long term, you are likely to walk out of lockdown feeling proud.


This can look like whatever works for you-


  • A bath because you deserve it not because you need it

  • Walk around the house singing "good vibrations" with a conditioning treatment on your hair

  • Delegate the dishes to finish that book/bejewelled level

  • Yoga, weight lifting, handstands (I don't care what exercise you choose as long as it makes you feel good)

  • Attempt whatever has been on your mind but you keep putting off

  • Have a date night or (more realistically) few hours. Just put the parent hat down for 10 minutes!


Bottom line… do one or two things a week that make you feel how you want to feel and don't feel guilty for it! Every time you do this, you're showing your teenager how to balance looking after themselves with the rest of life. That has an endless number of positives for you and them.

Prioritise time together & get to know each other better


We've all been teenagers before, yes, but when we were their age there wasn't a pandemic. Sooo ... I think it’s fair to say they are having a different adolescent experience than we had haha.


What is going on right now is a whole new kettle of fish, for us all. No matter the age bracket, we're all tired, we're all worried and we all wish this wasn't happening.


Everyone is going to be dealing with that in their own way. And what I mean by this is... it might not make sense to other people why they need to learn the 90's classic ‘Livin' La Vida Loca’ in sign language OR make a family of ducks out of cardboard (both 100% actual conversations I have had with teens and their parents this week) but that’s ok.


Give yourself a pat on the back, coz, they're not crying or punching things sooo... take the win and look at you killin' the parenting game!


Try not to put too much pressure on yourself or your teens. Make school priority 2 (3 if you’re feeling rebellious). put into the weekly plan a few hours where you all choose something fun to relax and let off some steam, whatever works for you!


  • Let your teen expose you to the wonders of Tiktok, Fortnight, animal crossing and whatever else has become popular since I started writing this.

  • Each throw 3 fav movies or TV shows in a hat and no buts your all watching it... if your feeling brave discuss afterwards

  • Nerf war!

  • Ideal place to live and why (No we're not moving there it’s just for fun!)

  • Family quiz, hide and seek, monopoly, Jenga (the board game world is your oyster)

  • Whoever can find the maddest facts doesn't do the dishes for a week


... it doesn't matter as long as it makes you all laugh and want to be around each other. We’re all stressed enough, you will feel the benefit of making the space to actually like one another.


If someone has made other plans or doesn't want to join in try not to force them. Think of it as a honey over vinegar situation. Even if it means you’re watching your fav movie on your own. You will feel the benefit and others will see the positive impact this has on you and maybe want to join in next time.


Talk about how your feelings


It's okay to cry while you're cooking the pasta. It's fine to be mad that the neighbours have copied your fence colour (that took 3 weeks to choose, cheers Phil!). It's completely acceptable to laugh your head off at a post on Facebook that was only mildly funny. What I am trying to say is, it’s natural to feel off your game right now, talk it out with your loved ones.


Talking about how we're feeling gets us out of our heads and mingling with loved ones. It allows us

to hear ourselves in a different light, organise our thoughts and most importantly get a cuddle. This is how our teenagers learn to do the same.


We can all learn from each other. My partner, Matt, is the king of water off a ducks back. Getting his input, 9 times out of 10, leaves me calmer, happier & better than that, It stops me snapping at him, him wondering what has he done and us arguing over something completely random.


But better yet, if we're right, Phil has blatantly copied our paint choice and is off the Christmas card list forever... Now we can laugh about it with our family and not stew alone.


All we are seeing on TV right now is how we are "social animals" which is true. But because of our beautifully evolved brains, we overthink what is one of the most natural things for us to do... Communicate!


There are a lot of small ways we can communicate with our families that we are not feeling the best-


  • "I'm okay, I just feel heavy after watching the news"

  • "Shall we watch a movie? I need a distraction"

  • "I think I need some help or something quick and easy for tea tonight; I need a bit of time to relax"

  • "I'm going (inset exercise of choice here) I need to clear my head"

  • "I need a hug"


There are millions more ways you and your family can slip this into a conversation. Let people know your feeling something and how they can help you out right now.


At the end of the day, no family is perfect


So we are all going to feel the pressure while we're locked in together. Let's not make it more painful by focusing on what we can’t do.


How we can’t decorate the living room because we're on a budget or how Sharon in work has managed to paint a mural on her shed and bake 4 cakes this week alone. For all we know Sharon can't sleep because she is anxious right now so stays up and bakes.


One thing we can control is small improvements in our family. Now yes, reading this and walking into the kids' rooms with a plan on how we are all going to “get along better now” will probably scare them a little bit.


But movie night Wednesday or Friday quiz night sound like fun. Questions like, “what are you reading?” or “can you help me go through these photos?” are sneaky enough that they don't feel like a chore and often lead to getting to know each other better.


So What's Next


I hope the above has given you some guidance on how to manage Lockdown a little better with your teenagers.  If you need some extra help navigating difficult moments then get in touch at hello@leneenamayne.co.uk


Thanks for reading & look after yourself.

Lennie


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