Summer 2020: Our teen's best summer? Yes!

I know, you probably read that title and thought, “Is she crazy?!”

After all, in the last 3 months we have experienced a viral pandemic, job losses, schools closing, distance learning, and shortages of everything from toilet paper to cleaning products.

Taking it a step further, our kids have had to live in a way they’ve never experienced before. Teens lost out on typical high school experiences like spring sports, time with friends, prom, and graduation. Some lost their part-time jobs, while others started one during the pandemic, which meant less than perfect working conditions.

Adding to their stress, typical summer activities such as going to the pool or hanging out at the state fair or concerts have all been put on hold for the time being.

There is an increasingly loud outcry from parents, “What will our kids do all summer?!”

Well, as a parenting and stepfamily coach I always approach such a question as more of a problem to be solved. That is the approach we all need to take because this summer will look nothing like any previous summer we have had.

So, my original premise that this could be a teen’s best summer ever despite the cancellations and pandemic may sound crazy, but it could happen!

How could there be any positive in this mess?

We get creative in helping our kids change their perspective. First, parents, we need to change ours.

My dad, who is 90 and seen so much in his lifetime, uses the phrase, “It is what it is. We need to make the best each day we’ve got.” He should know, he’s been through many health struggles and yet he still sets a goal and gets it done each day. If he can do this at 90, then why can’t our kids and teens?!

The first step is to acknowledge the fact that it is going to be different. We can sit around and complain about it, or decide to find opportunities for growth.

Secondly, think about the Mr. Rogers quote. When he was little his mom told him, “When you’re scared, look for the helpers.” I’m going to play on that a bit and say, become a helper.

Nothing battles boredom like getting busy!

Ask your kids/teens: 1. What is one problem in the world, or in our community, you’d like to solve? What are the first steps you can take to be a problem-solver for that issue? When we empower our kids to be problem-solvers at an early age, they become creative, independent thinkers for a lifetime. Kids think "out of the box" and why not let them? If we encourage them to first identify a