This fall, the change in seasons brings with it more than the usual back to school challenges and scents of pumpkin spice. As states and school systems struggle to open safely and establish a new sustainable normal, most young people are being asked to wear masks in public. The simple act of getting your child to comply with mask-wearing may be particularly challenging with teens. As the fallout from the COVID-19 epidemic grows, many families struggle with teens showing defiance toward parents.
Here are some tips to help you encourage your teen to wear their mask:
Making The Mask Part of Your Teen’s Identity
We know that teens value their independence and are growing into their own individual identities. If you can help your teen make their mask part of their identity, this could go a long way toward encouraging compliance. With the wide range of masks now available, your teen should be able to find masks that fit in with their personal identity and sense of style.
You can also help improve your teen’s likelihood to wear their mask by including them in shopping for their mask. Encourage your teen to find masks that appeal to them. You will find material on choosing, wearing, and cleaning masks on the CDC website and many other sites on the internet. If your teen enjoys researching, encourage them to find out what mask they would like so that they are more inclined to wearing it in public.
Focusing On The Choices Your Teen Has
As teens grow, they begin to chafe against control and over-regulation. If your teen is required to wear a mask to attend school and participate in social life, they may perceive this as added layers of control. To combat this perception, focus on the choices that your teen can make in regards to their masks. Allowing your teen to choose what mask to buy, and which mask to wear on a given day, allows them an element of control.
<>h2>Focus on Mask Wearing as a Part of Adult Responsibilities
There is nothing teens hate more than feeling like they are being treated like a child. Teens may naturally see the mandates requiring them to wear masks as limiting their independence. Help your child to see mask-wearing as part of being an adult.
To encourage this perception, talk to your teen like an adult. Share information and research regarding the necessity of wearing a mask with your teen. Most teens are technologically savvy and can locate resources for themselves, but by sharing valid information with your teen, you are teaching them not only that you see them as old enough to engage in adult thought, but you are teaching them how to identify good information.
Get Your Teen to Wear Their Mask by Leading by Example
Teens not only listen to what parents and other important figures in their lives say, but they also attend to what they do. If you want to get your teen to wear a mask, one of the simplest things you can do is model that behavior. If you refuse to wear a mask, your teen will likely see your insistence on wearing a mask as hypocritical. Although they may wear a mask around you, if they believe that you really don’t believe in wearing a mask, they are likely to take their mask off when you aren’t around.
If your Teen’s defiance goes beyond wearing a mask, or you see signs of anxiety, depression, or anger in your teen’s behavior, reach out to a professional and get help with your troubled teen.