The pandemic has brought families together, compelling them to discover the bitter joys of bonding overtime
While working from home, parents also have to work on the tempers flaring between their teenage children. Many have even joked on social media about ‘needing quarantine from each other’.
For many through the lockdown, catty comments and tough conversations have taken the ease out of what should have been a relaxed family time over good game and meals. Dr Renuka David, of Radiant Medical Services, tells about the numerous queries she’s been receiving from parents regarding the stress of managing their kids. “The lockdown has had its effects on teenagers. You can’t have a continuous holiday and keep them limited to their gadgets,” Dr Renuka points out, cautioning, “Moreover, spending a lot of time by slanting on the sofa or in any unnatural posture will lead to physical problems and angst. In the long run, it will all lead to mental pressures. Teenage kids are usually very active with shifting hormonal patterns. Restricting them from going out or doing their normal activities outside will result in mood swings and aggression.”
But the doctor also states that a hostile atmosphere emerging out of egos and flared tempers must be checked on both sides. “Parents must set a pattern at home to engage the kids,” adds Dr Renuka.
“Free time isn’t enough for the mind to relax. The human mind needs to be productive and engaged. Games, conversations that make them think and exploring their creative side are all a must.”
Then there are broom wars raging as kids who aren’t used to domestic chores are suddenly being tasked with sweeping and mopping their rooms. Siblings have major fights over whose duty it is for the day!
The experts weigh in
Another person sharing a word of advice is Sherin Bosco, a trained psychologist who is well known for her immensely impactful work with troubled teens and children.
“Most teenagers are desperate to break free. Getting adjusted to being in the same room for more than the usual time will make them desperate. Their energy levels are high. It is good to avoid the blame game when a problem arises. Avoid taking sides and blame nobody. Parents have to find ways to keep warring kids engaged,” she says.
Dr Mini Rao, a psychologist and mother of two teenage boys, tells us how her friends complain about their kids getting angry when asked to take time off from their gadgets. “The kids don’t seem to think of it as a serious lockdown period and continue to lead a normal life.
That’s why there are bitter fights among parents and their kids,” explains Dr Mini. “Many violate the norms and sneak out. It’s important for parents not to come down too harsh on young kids who’re already feeling locked up and restricted. Family activity is essential. At their age, kids are very active, and it’s important to set up a routine that can engage them both physically and mentally.”
Kiiran Valentine, a young streetwear designer, thinks the uncertainty of lockdown as well as the future is one of the reasons leading to a lot of anxiety among everyone. “When you’re stuck in confined spaces with your family for an extended period, without knowing when the situation will relent, it can lead to frustration,” adds Kiiran. “Teenagers value privacy, space and freedom. Arguments are bound to happen, but they’re not a reflection of animosity between teens and parents but a mere outpouring of anxiety.”
A way out
Social influencer and parent, Esha Nichani, staunchly affirms that there is always another side of the story. “My son seems to be happy because I think I have managed to actually keep him engaged. His online classes, for starters, have been a good engagement for him. Then, I take out time to play with him and prepare his favourite food. At least until now, I have figured a couple of ways to keep him cool-headed,” she says.
The restricted movement and stringent quarantine norms have put parents and teenagers in a tight spot, with parents often looking for an exit from their teens’ mood swings or them wanting them to get out of their hair or their teens’ mood swings. But until certainty is back to becoming a way of life, both parties will simply have to find a way to keep the calm as they ride these storms.