My Parents are Driving Me Nuts!
Mom and Dad, I hate to break it to you, but if you’re feeling frustrated with your children right now,
chances are they are frustrated with you too. Working at home and homeschooling have created some
new challenges in the home right now, especially without the opportunity for engaging in your usual
social outlets. I have seen many articles geared toward the parents’ mental health and strategies for
getting through this difficult period of social isolation. While taking care of ourselves is extremely
important, we also need to be intentional about supporting our children in coping with this change.
Children and teenagers alike can benefit from more structured support when adjusting to change. And
remember, not everything will work for everyone. Make sure to check in with your child about what
they liked, what they didn’t like, and if they have suggestions on activities and coping skills they would
like to try.
1. Stick to a routine
Take advantage of being able to sleep in and take more breaks throughout the day! Work with
your child or teen to develop a daily routine that includes time for their school work, play, and
free time. Healthy eating and getting plenty of sleep should be emphasized in the schedule. For
older children, allow them more freedom in writing the schedule.
2. Make time for play
Turn off the TV and the devices, and play! This means intentionally getting outside during the
day to kick a ball, ride a bike, do some art, or play a board game. Be creative!
3. Engage in structured family activities
Spending a lot of time in close quarters can make us all tense. Take time out of the day as a
family to interact in a fun way, and leave the worries out of it! The only rule for this time is that
no one talks about chores, work that still needs to be completed, or something someone “did
4. Take time for yourself
Encourage your child to have time to do something of their choice for a period each day, where
he/she is uninterrupted, and as independent as possible.
5. Start a new hobby
Choose time doing something new or learning something new- cooking, crafts, reading, puzzles,
6. Staying connected with friends
Helping maintain our childrens’ connections and friendships is more important than ever. Help
your child/teen use social media to stay connected with friends through postings or group chats.
Utilize platforms like Google Hangouts or Zoom to schedule virtual meetups and virtual lunches.
Katie Penree, MSW, LCSW
Mental Health Therapist