10 Facts About Adolescence (How to Help Parents Survive the At-Home Quarantine) - Ministry to Parents (2022)

10 Facts About Adolescence (How to Help Parents Survive the At-Home Quarantine) - Ministry to Parents (1)

Teenagers are being asked by the government to socially distance themselves from friends, meaning they are trapped at home with parents and siblings. Can you see the eye rolls? How many parents are quoting the proverbial? If you keep rolling your eyes, they’ll get stuck.

This pandemic has brought about new challenges to all, so for the parents quarantined with adolescents, this post is for you. 🙂 Here are 10 facts about adolescence to help parents survive the at-home quarantine. Because let’s be honest, a small part of us LOVES having our teenagers home.

10 Facts About Adolescence (How to Help Parents Survive the At-Home Quarantine)

1. They are literally missing parts of their brain.

No, Seriously. We aren’t talking zombie-movie either.

Adolescents have a part of the brain, the frontal lobe, that doesn’t fly at max capacity until around 25. It’s the part that helps people make logical, good decisions. Think go-cart without a fully developed brake. 😮

So when they make the [what-in-the-world-were-you-thinking] decision to write on furniture with a Sharpie or post THAT post, breath, set appropriate boundaries, and remember their brain is in a full-blown developmental phase.

2. Phenomenal Cosmic Powers! Itty Bitty Living Space!

If only the Genie from Aladdin understood the power of the amygdala.

The drama around teenagers is thick, and the majority of it stems from a small, almond-shaped part of the brain called the amygdala. Where the logical part of the brain is running on minimum capacity, the emotional part of the brain is at the max.

This developmental stage is why they change emotions like a runway model for Fashion Week in New York City. And if you are trapped, I mean, collectively gathering as a family to social distance yourselves, this situation can be quite combustible.

When the going gets GOING, calmly communicate, you will step away with an intent to return. By giving yourself space to cool off, you give them time too. Conversations aren’t productive when both parties operate like they are a 16-shot firework on the 4th of July.

3. Sleeping Beauty has nothing on these teenagers.

So misunderstood, they are.

Teenagers need sleep, like serious sleep. If they go to bed at 9 and sleep until 9, they’re not lazy; they are growing. Sleep is as healthy as those squash noodles you try to pass off as spaghetti.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends 8 to 10 hours of sleep for adolescence. So hey, this quarantine thing is the perfect time to let them get the developmentally appropriate sleep they need.

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4. They have more opinions than a politician in election season.

The time will soon arrive for the baby bird to leave the nest, and one of the ways life prepares them is to develop their ideas, judgments, and conclusions.

Sure they once clung to your every word, but now they must figure out for themselves what they think about education, faith, global warming, and the Star Wars Trilogy.

Give them a little breathing room and see what beauty may emerge. Ask for opinions on school cancellations, social distancing, NBA 2K’s celebrity games, and Charli D’Amelio.

5. Teenagers rotate interests, relationships, and styles faster than Mystique in X-Men.

Adolescents have one foot in adulthood and one foot in childhood. For them, it is like playing the ball game of life with one foot in a high heel and the other one in a cleat. Just plain awkward for almost a decade. Ugh.

Their brain is growing. [The fancy word is neuroplasticity meaning their brain is under construction.] So teenagers are way more open and willing to try new things, which is pretty remarkable when you see positive possibilities.

So when they bounce from their favorite food being chicken nuggets to sushi wrapped in an organic, grass-fed [pretty sure that isn’t a thing] seaweed, just roll with it. Get it?

Within a few months, they might be vegan, keto, vegetarian, or carnivore. Who knows?!?

6. Friends are EVERYTHING!!!

Think about the top teen novels and movies. Does the protagonist usually save the world with their family? Nope. Keep that storyline for the kids’ edition, The Incredibles. When it comes to teenagers, they save the world with their friends!

Friends are a big deal to the teenager, which is developmentally appropriate. They need to start making the transition into adulthood [remember the high heel and cleat?], and investing in friendships is how they go about accomplishing that task.

Depending upon their personality type, they may have 1-2 sincere, close friends, or 15 besties. Either way, the quarantine has rocked their “friend” world. Sure they are digital natives and live so much of their life online, but they still get in plenty of social interaction with school and extra-curricular activities.

Offer empathy and encourage them to keep connecting online, especially during the quarantine. It is healthy for the soul.

7. Living with a teenager is like living with a bomb dog. They find what you hide.

Adolescents seem to have a sixth sense. Based on the fact their brain is under construction, they use this superpower to survive the ever-so-infamous social pecking order at school, but they also use this at home to learn the lay of the land.

As teenagers gather data at a rapid speed to understand how the world works, they also watch how parents live their lives. In other words, they can spot a fake quicker than Anna Wintour, so keep it real [developmentally appropriate, of course] about life. They can be way more graceful than you think.

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8. Find a happy place! Find a happy place!

Hmmm…whose Darla from Finding Nemo?!? Parents or teenagers? 😉

This generation is the first group of adolescents to grow up entirely in the digital age. Inundated with social media, they see lives presented through a rose-colored filter. [Disney anyone? Is it really the most magical place on earth with two hour waits and being run over by stressed-out stroller dads?]

Our teenagers live in a society laced with seemingly perfect, Insta-ready peers.

Their generation may not be drafted to war with guns, but research has yet to be completed on how social media and the digital age is affecting their minds. They, too, fight a war…it’s just a war of the mind.

So check in on their socials, on them. Ask questions and pay [casual] attention as they scroll. Then pray. Ask questions, then pray some more.

9. The “H” word every teenage parent fears: Hacked. Ok, well, second: Hormones.

Puberty ushers in testosterone and estrogen, like a coupon lady on Black Friday, and, at the same time, their bodies prepare for… I’ll let you fill in the blank on that one.

Those hormones are healthy, God-given, and developmentally appropriate, so no place for shame. But while they are transforming quicker than Optimus Prime, the hormones affect their moods and emotions.

It’s like Baby Jack-Jack has a grown man’s body and can talk. So while you are in tight quarters with this kaleidoscope of a human being, offer yourself some grace and your teenager. Define appropriate guidelines and be consistent. This season too, shall pass.

10. Knowing is Half the Battle.

Who knew G.I. Joe was spouting such wisdom in the ’80s?

Teenagers have a brain that is evolving like a chia-pet, which means they got a whole lot going inside that body of theirs. While you may reminisce about the days of Dora and Diego, your son or daughter may be wondering what is happening to me!?! [My guess is you might be too.]

When the time is right [and timing is everything with teenagers], drop a spoonful of adolescence education their way, but just a spoonful. A bite of dark chocolate a day can be healthy for your heart, but a candy bar a day, well, you get it.

If your teenager understands even a fraction of what is going on in their brain, it can create opportunities for empathy, confidence, and hope.

You’ve Got This

I don’t know what lies ahead, and all we have is today, so I hope this piece helps you connect to your teenager at this moment. I hope these 10 facts about adolescence help you, my fellow parents, not just survive but thrive during the quarantine.

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These adolescents are already in a different season of life, but now it is coupled with a front-row seat to living history- the COVID-19 Pandemic of 2020. They need a consistent, unconditional, grace-filled, flexible-on-when-to-show-it love.

Who better to offer it than you?

You’ve got this!

Cheering you on,

Elisabeth Lee

P.S. This list is provided from the perspective of my work and research with teenagers for over fifteen years. I am also a mom to a teenager and tween. It’s designed to give encouragement and general advice. It’s not intended to be a comprehensive, professional guide. For those folks, check out:

Insight Into the Teenage Brain: Ted Talk

Why Teenage Brains Are So Hard To Understand

The Outside Influence of Your Middle-School Friends

What Teenage Brains Can Teach Us About Thinking Creatively

The Teen Brain: 7 Things to Know

Understanding Puberty

Elisabeth Lee is the Content Director for Ministry to Parents and has more than twenty-four years of ministry experience, including students, sports, women, and Bible study conferences. She enjoys SEC football, espresso, and artisan papers. Her heart is her husband Jeremy, two sons, and a bearded dragon. You can contact Elisabeth at elisabeth@ministrytoparents.com.

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10 Facts About Adolescence (How to Help Parents Survive the At-Home Quarantine) - Ministry to Parents (2)

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FAQs

How serious is COVID-19 usually for most children? ›

For most children and young people, these illnesses will not be serious, and they will soon recover following rest and plenty of fluids.

Are respiratory symptoms of a COVID-19 or any other infection common in children during the winter months? ›

Respiratory infections are common in children and young people, particularly during the winter months. Symptoms can be caused by several respiratory infections including the common cold, COVID-19 and RSV.

Who are at higher risk of developing serious illness from COVID-19? ›

Older people, and those with underlying medical problems like cardiovascular disease, diabetes, chronic respiratory disease, and cancer are more likely to develop serious illness.

Who might be at higher risk of becoming ill with COVID-19? ›

People who are at higher risk from COVID-19 and other respiratory infections include: Older people. Those who are pregnant. Those who are unvaccinated. People of any age whose immune system means they are at higher risk of serious illness. People of any age with certain long-term conditions.

What is the Ronapreve? ›

Ronapreve is the first neutralising antibody medicine specifically designed to treat COVID-19 to be authorised by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) for use in the UK.

What does it mean that coronaviruses are zoonotic? ›

Coronaviruses are zoonotic, meaning they are transmitted between animals and people. Detailed investigations found that SARS-CoV was transmitted from civet cats to humans and MERS-CoV from dromedary camels to humans. Several known coronaviruses are circulating in animals that have not yet infected humans.

Why is it helpful to focus on the present during the COVID-19 pandemic when you're feeling anxious? ›

Focusing on the present, rather than worrying about the future, can help with difficult emotions and improve our wellbeing.

What should I do I'm having anxiety because of the coronavirus disease pandemic? ›

Concern about the coronavirus outbreak is perfectly normal. However, some people may experience intense anxiety that can affect their daily life. Try to focus on the things you can control, such as your behaviour, who you speak to, and where and how often you get information.

How do I stay active in and around the home during the COVID-19 pandemic? ›

Try and reduce long periods of time spent sitting, whether for work, studying, watching TV, reading, or using social media or playing games using screens. Reduce sitting for long periods by taking short 3-5 minute breaks every 20-30 minutes.

How long should I exercise for during quarantine? ›

Physical activity and relaxation techniques can be valuable tools to help you remain calm and continue to protect your health during this time. WHO recommends 150 minutes of moderate-intensity or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity physical activity per week, or a combination of both.

Is AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine recommended for children? ›

COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca is not recommended for children aged below 18 years. No data are currently available on the use of COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca in children and adolescents younger than 18 years of age.

Are there any side effects from the COVID-19 vaccines? ›

Like all medicines, the COVID-19 vaccines can cause side effects, but not everyone gets them. Most side effects are mild and should not last longer than a week, such as: a sore arm from the injection.

Can I get COVID-19 from my pet? ›

COVID-19 in the UK is spread between humans. There is limited evidence that some animals, including pets, can become infected with SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19) following close contact with infected humans.

Are smokers more likely to develop severe disease with COVID-19? ›

Tobacco smoking is a known risk factor for many respiratory infections and increases the severity of respiratory diseases. A review of studies by public health experts convened by WHO on 29 April 2020 found that smokers are more likely to develop severe disease with COVID-19, compared to non-smokers.

Are smokers at higher risk of developing severe respiratory disease from COVID-19? ›

The evidence clearly shows COVID-19 virus attacks the respiratory system, which explains why smokers are at greater risk. A small but highly impactful survey from China finds that smokers with COVID-19 are 14 times more likely to develop severe disease.

Does smoking increase the risk of serious COVID-19 disease? ›

COVID-19 is a disease caused by a respiratory virus, SARS-CoV-2. People who smoke generally have an increased risk of contracting respiratory infection and of more severe symptoms once infected

How serious is COVID-19 usually for most children? ›

For most children and young people, these illnesses will not be serious, and they will soon recover following rest and plenty of fluids.

Can I develop immunity to COVID-19 after testing positive for PCR? ›

If you have previously tested positive for COVID-19, you will probably have developed some immunity to the disease. However, it cannot be guaranteed that everyone will develop immunity, or how long it will last. It is possible for PCR tests to remain positive for some time after COVID-19 infection.

What is the new COVID-19 vaccine booster called? ›

The bivalent vaccines, which we will also refer to as “updated boosters,” contain two messenger RNA (mRNA) components of SARS-CoV-2 virus, one of the original strain of SARS-CoV-2 and the other one in common between the BA.4 and BA.5 lineages of the omicron variant of SARS-CoV-2.

What is COVID-19 genomic sequencing? ›

Genomic sequencing is laboratory analysis that identifies a virus's genetic make-up, allowing new variants or mutations in existing variants to be detected.

Can you take ibuprofen if you have the coronavirus disease? ›

Patients can take paracetamol or ibuprofen when self-medicating for symptoms of COVID-19, such as fever and headache, and should follow NHS advice if they have any questions or if symptoms get worse.

What is the origin of COVID-19? ›

Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is a novel severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus. It was first isolated from three people with pneumonia connected to the cluster of acute respiratory illness cases in Wuhan. All structural features of the novel SARS-CoV-2 virus particle occur in related coronaviruses in nature.

How do I stay active in and around the home during the COVID-19 pandemic? ›

Try and reduce long periods of time spent sitting, whether for work, studying, watching TV, reading, or using social media or playing games using screens. Reduce sitting for long periods by taking short 3-5 minute breaks every 20-30 minutes.

How should you maintain social distancing to prevent the spread of COVID-19 at home with possible infection? ›

Spend as little time as possible in shared spaces such as kitchens, bathrooms and sitting areas. Avoid using shared spaces such as kitchens and other living areas while others are present and take your meals back to your room to eat. Observe strict social distancing.

What are some precautions for meeting friends and family indoors during the COVID-19 pandemic? ›

Open windows and doors, or take other action to let in plenty of fresh air. Bringing fresh air into a room and removing older stale air that may contain virus particles reduces the chance of spreading COVID-19. The more fresh air that is brought inside, the quicker any airborne virus will be removed from the room.

How long should I exercise for during quarantine? ›

Physical activity and relaxation techniques can be valuable tools to help you remain calm and continue to protect your health during this time. WHO recommends 150 minutes of moderate-intensity or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity physical activity per week, or a combination of both.

What nutrition guidance should I follow during the coronavirus disease outbreak? ›

Proper nutrition and hydration are vital. People who eat a well-balanced diet tend to be healthier with stronger immune systems and lower risk of chronic illnesses and infectious diseases. So you should eat a variety of fresh and unprocessed foods every day to get the vitamins, minerals, dietary fibre, protein and antioxidants your body needs. Drink enough water.

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