(WSYR-TV) — Social distancing is challenging for adults, but for teenagers it is even harder.
We heard from local pediatricians about parents calling them concerned that their children could’ve been exposed to coronavirus over the Memorial Day Weekend.
Some have asked questions like the following:
“My daughter who is very responsible asked if she could hang out at a friend’s pool with two other teens. She promised to stay six feet apart, but I saw an Instagram photo of them hugging. What do I do next time?”
We checked with a child psychologist who said there are two factors that make sending teens out on their own a risky decision and not just because of coronavirus.
The first is the human need to be close to each other. That is why, under normal conditions, teens are always huddling and leaning on each other. This platonic touching is known to boost mood and reduce stress.
The second reason is something called hot cognition. It is all about when the teenager makes the decision. Studies have shown that teens can reason like adults when they’re thinking about a situation. But, when they’re with their peers and wanting social acceptance, their good judgement can be readily outmatched by their urge to go with the social flow, even if that flow involves behavior that is wrong.
If your child asks about going to the pool with friends again, a local therapist said that you should not expect it to be a fun conversation. But, there are ways you can compromise.
You could invite a couple of friends to your house or a park where you can keep an eye on them.
We could be in for a long haul with coronavirus, so parents will need to come up with creative solutions when possible and providing support and compassion for the challenger we’re facing.