Six Ways To Help Your Teen Cope During The Pandemic


If you think being a parent to a teen is a challenge, try being a parent to a teen during COVID-19. Strict quarantine measures to curb the spread of the highly contagious disease have made teenagers even more restless, irritable, and prone to retreating into their private world.

But what looks like typical teen behavior could also be a subtle call for help. Has your teen been eating and sleeping too much—or not at all? Has this behavior been going on since the lockdown or months before?

Parents who attended “Addressing the Impact of the Pandemic on Adolescent Behavior,” a webinar hosted recently by premier healthcare facility Centre Medicale Internationale (CMI), were empowered by the points raised by Dr. Ruby Punongbayan, practicing pediatrician at CMI and a fellow of the International Pediatric Society and Philippine Ambulatory Pediatric Association.

Admittedly, even medical experts were caught flat-footed. “March 2020 was a very traumatic time for all of us as we were ushered into a new era of combating this unknown virus,” she
said. “The international scientific and medical community didn’t know how to deal with it. It was so new to us and it greatly affected all aspects of our lives.”

As scientists work overtime to create a vaccine against COVID-19, parents can help anxious teens navigate life in the new normal with these sound suggestions from Dr. Punongbayan:

Choose your words. “Stop feeling sorry for yourself ” or “Snap out of it!” will only make your teen withdraw or feel guilty. Try reassuring alternatives like “You’re not alone,” “I’ll be here and so will you,” “You are important,” and “I care.”

Monitor and limit internet use. Teens can stay online forever if they could, so it’s up to parents to set the rules. Make sure they’re getting news from reliable sources, prohibit the use of
gadgets during mealtime, and check the privacy settings on their social media accounts

Encourage conversation. Initiate spirited discussions over mealtime. Ask your teens’ opinions about the ongoing pandemic or a trending topic. By allowing them to speak freely and with no judgment, you not only develop their trust, you also get access to their frustrations and fears on a scary and confusing time.

Be productive. Get your teens to help make cloth masks to donate or sell for charity or prepare meals to give to frontliners. Getting them involved gives them a sense of purpose; it’s also a good way to bond as the family.

Move. Activity stimulates circulation and the release of happy hormones. It also relieves tension. Dr. Punongbayan suggests the Superman pose: Cross your arms over your chest, insert your hands in your armpits. Take a deep breath, tense your upper body for three seconds, then release. Repeat for five times.

Be a supportive role model. “Be consistent. Show them that you are adapting to the ongoing changes,” she says. Admittedly, it can be a challenge: parents, after all, are human too.
Still, by coping together, you and your teen can look back at this pandemic as a time of growth and resilience for everybody

CMI wants to let parents and teenagers know that they are not alone and that there are many helpful ways they could do to get through and surpass this emotional distress. CMI wants to ensure that it can provide parents and teen medical support in many ways possible as CMI continues its mission of providing premier patient experiences. In case you want to schedule an appointment with one of  CMI’s pediatricians like Dr. Ruby Punongbayan or any of their adolescent medicine specialists, you may call them at 09279317194 or email

Source: Polo Post | The Official Magazine of the Manila Polo Club | Issue 29 August 2020

For  appointment schedules, click HERE.

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