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Parenting Strategies for Adolescents Staying at Home

April 8, 2020

-Establish consistent routines for sleep and make these routines visual. While kids not in school obviously have more flexibility, setting some hard deadlines for when to go to bed allowing for 8-9 hours of sleep. Inconsistency in any capacity can become very disruptive to our ability to focus, plan, and organize, leading o decreased productivity and increased irritability.

-Have a limit for screen time. This could be a hard number, say three hours a day, or scatter the time; two hours on followed by two hours off. Make the expectations clear and visual!

-Practice using a planner to outline what to accomplish for the day and set times for each task:

  • -Schoolwork completion (many schools will still provide work, or you can develop your own).
  • -Reading.
  • -In-home exercise. (find a YouTube video)
  • -There are many good options for documentaries (watch together or ask for a brief paper or review).
  • -Kids at home can help with cooking and other household chores, etc. Again, make visual.
  • -Go for walks.
  • -Playing board or card games.
  • -Meditation.

-Provide parameters for how you wish to see a day go with your expectations, and encourage the kids to come up with their plan as to how this process can work best for them. If they come up with an option that looks good, great. If not, develop your own

-If you run into resistance, do not be surprised or discouraged. Here are a couple of things to remember:

  • -You hold the keys to access the activities the kids want. Compliance should not be a fight. The alternative argument is that the kids have either unfettered access to screens (the effects of this are well known) or that the kids will discipline themselves on their own, and internally. We know this will not happen.
  • -Make your expectations visual and ask that any that are unreasonable being identified for discussion. Ask that any complaints be supported by empirical evidence (that which has been proven by research) as opposed to anecdotal (what someone believes to be true). Explain that you are happy to have the conversation when they are ready with no screen times in the meantime.
  • -If you meet “incompetence”, something like “I don’t know”, no problem. This is a great time to practice problem-solving skills, and there is plenty of time. Any problems that are identified are the responsibility of the objecting party to solve. If they cannot, then they can go with your plan. Remember, you hold access to the screens, and for once, time is not as much of a problem. If they wish to resist and be bored, that is a choice. Any work that is not completed in the interim; chapters not read, school work not completed, choirs left undone, simply need to be done before resuming the current day’s schedule.


About the Author: Tom Denczek, LMSW has been working with children and families for over twenty years in a variety of capacities. He’s currently a licensed therapist practicing at the BRAINS Adult & Adolescent Clinic in Grand Rapids, MI. Tom specializes in behavioral and learning difficulties, autism spectrum disorders, depression, anxiety, and substance abuse. As a father of three, Tom understands the present-day challenges of raising children and actively works within his practice to educate parents and children to better understand the unique obstacles that are preventing them from achieving more productive patterns of communication and interaction.