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This period, where schools have stopped and we have been requested to abide to social distancing measures, can be particularly difficult for you if you are in your teens. You may find yourself missing your friends, while still trying to find ways to spend time with them. You may also be missing doing the things you usually enjoy doing if these are activities that took place outside the house or in groups. These changes and struggles may, for some, cause tension in their relationship with parents, who are potentially also trying to cope with a number of changes themselves. I am writing this blog with some tips for those of you who are experiencing tension in their relationship with their parents because their parents are insisting that they spend less time in their room.

  1. Understand why it is important for you to stay in your room

A good first step is to think about why you are choosing to spend your days in your room. This is very likely serving a function for you, or potentially more than one. For instance, your room might be a way for you to have a sense of personal space. Or perhaps, your room is the most convenient space to speak to your friends. Or maybe it is easier for you to entertain yourself and keep busy while you are in your room.

2. Understand why it is important for your parents that you spend time out of your room

The next step is to have a clearer understanding of your parents’ argument. Thus, think about why your family is insisting that you get out of your room. Question whether this is their way of communicating with you that they miss you, whether they are concerned about you, or perhaps they have different expectations of how you should be managing your time.

3. Prepare yourself to discuss

Do you think that it would help you progress in overcoming this tension if you explained your reasons to your parents? Would it help if you also asked your parents about their reasons? If so, try to prepare yourself for this conversation mentally and emotionally so that you make sure that you can put across your points clearly, and that you make space to listen and understand.

4. Negotiate

Once you understand why your family is insisting that you get out of your room and your family understands why you need to be in your room, discuss together if there are any alternative and creative ways for your needs and those of your parents to be satisfied. For example, if being in your room makes it easier for you to stay in touch with your friends in privacy, but at the same time your family is wondering whether you are ok, you could perhaps make time to every so often pop out of your room to let your family that you are okay.

Rebecca Cassar is a Family Therapist practicing the Systemic Approach. She specializes in offering therapy to families, couples and individuals who are experiencing distress in their relationships. She can be contacted on rebecca@willingness.com.mt or call us on 79291817.