We're several weeks into the coronavirus pandemic. Even though we know the number of positive cases within our country continually increases and we're confined to our homes, there are still some teenagers who are not convinced this is a serious situation. As parents, you might be wondering how you should deal with a teen who isn't believing what's happening around them.
Let me explain what's possibly happening. There's a psychological theory, cognitive dissonance, where you're stressed when you have clashing beliefs. You believe one thing and even with evidence or proof, you won't change your mind. You'll justify or defend your initial position. And this what's going on for some teens. The initial information about the coronavirus is that it primarily impacts older people and those with pre-existing medical conditions. Your teen might not buy into the seriousness of the coronavirus because they're young and healthy. Any cases of the coronavirus that they see on the news, they might explain it away with something like, "that person was older" or "that person had asthma already" or "if it was that bad then the neighbors wouldn't be hanging out with their friends outside."
As a parent, if you've already explained the seriousness of the situation and have been consistent in your message and your teen is staying home then I say handle the situation lightly. Many times teens just want to vent. So even if they say, "I'm out of here come my May 1st." You can smile or ignore their comment. Or, you can answer back in a light manner. You know it's difficult to get anyone to change their mind. As long as your teens stay home and are respectful in how they answer you then let it go.
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