Teacher, United Kingdom
I’d never normally use this kind of language, or speak this way to parents. But we are in extraordinary times. There are reports of groups of teenagers hanging around together and ignoring the lockdown.
You need to step up to the plate, and tell your kids they cannot go out! You are the adult. Take responsibility. Sit them down and speak to them bluntly; if you need to frighten them, then frighten them. That statement is hard for me to make and is counter-intuitive but desperate times call for desperate measures. Do what you need to do to make them understand. This is way too serious to shrug your shoulders and put down to ‘teenage years’. We know how stroppy and bombastic they can be but you are the parent. Start calling the shots; use kidology – it still works with teenagers!
Ask them, if a mad man was on the street with a gun, would they go outside? Take no notice if they answer yes, they would still go out. Their answer doesn’t matter and it’s not worth arguing about. The fact that you have planted that seed will give them food for thought. They will still strop about being confined, they won’t want to lose face, but they will more than likely comply. (Obviously do not say anything about the mad man in front of younger kids though!)
If your teenager insists on going out and you have tried your very very best then phone the police. It won’t be easy to report your own child but needs must and you have to do what you have to do. Look; your child may end up angry with you and hate you for what you have done but you have to do whatever is necessary to protect them, you and others. They will understand, when a little time has passed, that you acted out of love and the need to be a responsible citizen at this difficult time.
While they are confined, let them play on their iPads. Everyone is going to be a little on edge but again, I ask you to remember that you are the grown up. You can control your behaviour more easily than your teen. Be kind, ask if they will teach you how to play a game. Ask them if they could help you do something so they feel included, but don’t press them if they don’t want to.
Ask them if they can play with a younger sibling because they are a bit worried about everything and could do with a big brother or sister to help them.
Think of daft games to play, ask them to do some exercises with younger members of the family. Remember, much of the time your stroppy teen is really a confused little kid inside. Be patient, be patient, be patient. One last thing, when asking teens to do something, reframe your request: “Can you come and eat your tea before it gets cold? Thank you!” Teachers know that if you ask and say “thank you” instead of “please” there is an expectation that they will conform and guess what… they usually do.
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