Being the parent of a teen is never easy during normal times. It is even more challenging during the time of Covid.
When we moved to our new home a couple of years ago, one of our worries was our teens would not acclimate to the school and town. And in some ways, our worries were founded. They seemed to not want to adjust in terms of making connections, even as part of the band.
Other than school and band practice, they essentially would come home, go to their rooms, and be on their cell phones until it was time to turn the phones in at night. They never asked to go to a friend’s house, nor have anyone over.
We wanted them to have friends, put down some roots, make connections. One, because it is good to have friends to hang out with, and two, selfishly, it they were going out and doing things with friends, we would have a little alone time, a rare commodity for a parent.
Then, Covid hit. It was then a little nice they didn’t have friends they wanted to go do things with, or to have over. We didn’t have to worry about exposure to Covid, other than the time they had at school for face-to-face instruction.
Then, almost out of the blue, our teens started to develop a social network and began dating. A new challenge emerged of how to balance them having friends, and not bringing Covid into the house. When to say yes, you may go do something with your friends or have a friend over, and when to say no, the plans don’t sound as safe as we’d like, and/or, sounds like too many people in one place.
Since we had waited patiently, urging them to have friends, it is hard, frustrating, and a little sad, we have to say no more often that we probably would have in normal times. But, we don’t live in normal times. I can’t imagine what a teen must be thinking right now. Can’t hang out with friends. Have to wear a mask everywhere, A friend may be gone for two weeks due to having a close contact with someone who is Covid positive. One day you have class at school, then a decision is made meaning you have to switch gears to online learning, sometimes overnight. Plus your parents, in your opinion, are being overly cautious about Covid, because all the science says if you get it, it won’t be too bad because of your age. Teens don’t often think of the unexpected consequences should they bring it home by accident, how it will affect parents, siblings, or grandparents.
This evening as I thought on all of this, because we had to say no to one of our teens seeing a friend who now lives in Illinois, and was in town for the holidays. I was frustrated because it would have been nice to have them be out for a bit. Curious that the friend’s parent wasn’t concerned about Covid since our numbers are high here. But mostly mad. Mad that Covid is still an issue, that our government and leaders chose to ignore the pandemic, or have issued executive orders with no teeth to the mandates.
As I’m sure is the case with many, I’m so over this pandemic! It just hit me a little harder this evening than usual. Let’s hope people’s behavior changes who still aren’t wearing masks, are throwing parties, and ignoring social distancing.
Let’s hope too the vaccines being released are safe and work as expected.