July 10, 2020

UW Health offers tips on talking with teens about COVID-19

Madison, Wis. — UW Health pediatric and adolescent health experts believe that as communities create, implement and adjust restrictions during the COVID-19 pandemic, children and teens may need extra support from their parents as they react to and work through the unique changes and challenges of life during a pandemic.

“Teens may react to changes in a variety of ways. It is important for parents to support their child’s emotions without judgement,” said Dr. Amy Stockhausen, a UW Health pediatrician, adolescent medicine expert and associate professor of pediatrics at the UW School of Medicine and Public Health. “Parents can use this as an opportunity to help their child build empathy and resilience.”

She also notes:

  • Some teens are excited to start seeing their friends in person again. Some are eager for school and school sports to resume. Some are excited to get back to working at their job. Others find the thought of in-person social and educational environments stressful and anxiety-provoking, and the thought of retuning to that environment is very uncomfortable.

  • Talk with your teen about the emotions they are experiencing without judgement and help them know that whatever they are feeling is valid and understandable, even if it is different than how you as a parent are feeling.

  • Help your teen to understand that everyone views this unusual situation differently. Some people will be happy when restrictions relax, and some will not be. Some will wish to remain physically separated in public, and some will not. Some will choose to wear masks in public, and some will not. All these reactions are understandable, and shaming people who feel differently than you is not a productive solution.

This is a difficult time for all, physically, mentally and socially. It is important to have patience with each other and ourselves when feeling frustrated with the current situation

Video: Dr. Amy Stockhausen Offers Tips for Talking to Teens

UW Health Offers Tips on Talking With Teens About COVID-19