DEAR HARRIETTE: Now that we are living in this new reality of social distancing, I am already having a serious challenge with my teenage son. He is accustomed to being able to hang out with his friends as long as he comes home by his curfew. School is out for the foreseeable future, and he does not understand why in the world he has to stay at home and cannot hang with his friends. His argument is that the government says people shouldn’t get together in large crowds. If he is going to be with a couple of kids, he argues, what’s the big deal?
Honestly, I don’t even know what the rule will be by the time this letter gets to you. We could actually be quarantined by law. Whatever the case, I feel like I cannot allow my son to go out with his friends until we have some real sense that the danger is over. No official has a sense of how long that will be, although recent reports said it could be as far away as the fall. How do I control my teenage son for all this time? -- Teen Frenzy
DEAR TEEN FRENZY: New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio was on the news recently (as of this writing) saying that it may be impossible for parents to control their teens for the foreseeable future. He spoke of the nature of teens wanting to be together and the reality of trying to curb this virus being a convergence of opposing forces.
That said, medical professionals and civic leaders are urging all of us, including teens, to keep our distance from each other for weeks, if not months.
Government officials are saying that they will take action against anyone, including young people, who gather in groups larger than 10. As far as hanging out with a couple of friends, unless your son is able to get to his friends without being in others’ company and you are sure that the friend has been in limited company, exposure is still questionable.
How do you control this? Remind your son that this self-isolation is not forever. If he does his part, more people will remain healthy, even though it’s hard to do.