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How to Survive the Flu Season With Your Teenager

Mar 2, 2008
Well, the flu season is definitely here. In our house alone, we have experienced viruses and the flu back to back. Ugh! As a parent, it can become overwhelming trying to finagle your day job, household responsibilities, and caring for sick family members. Here are some tips to keep your sanity during the flu season with your teenager.

1. Seek medical attention

If your teenager is exhibiting symptoms, then seek medical attention. Only a medical professional can diagnose, and treat influenza from other infections, diseases, and viruses. Your physician can also tell you what to expect for duration of symptoms and what symptoms are common in your locality. In addition, early detection may prevent more severe symptoms for your teenager. Your teenager may not want to see a physician. However, when it comes to health and safety issues parental authority overrides adolescent desires.

2. Recognize that it may not be your teenager talking

Remember what it felt like the last time you had the flu or got sick? It is frustrating when your body is working physically against your desire not to be sick. So it can be with your teenager. If your teenager is more moody than normal, try not to take it personally. However, being sick is not an excuse for disrespect. If your teenager becomes disrespectful to you, then remind him/her of the need for respecting one another, even during illnesses.

3. Hang in there for the long haul

The flu can last for what seems like forever. Some may experience their symptoms for a longer period than others. Longer symptoms can lead to more frustration for both you and your teenager. Extend some grace and empathy to yourself and your teenager.

4. Attention or Isolation

Teenagers are comforted indifferent ways. Some teenagers prefer more attention when they are sick. They find comfort when others take care of them, and help them out. Others prefer to just be left alone and suffer in their misery. They can become annoyed if you bother them when they are sick. Find out which way your teenager receives comfort. Don't take it personal if your preference is more attention, and your teenager's is isolation.

5. Take Care of Yourself

Influenza can be very contagious. Do what you can to protect yourself. Wash your hands, eat well, get plenty of rest, and follow all medical advice. If you do end up getting the flu, do what you can to take care of yourself as well. Parents will often forgo their own health to take care of their children. However, you cannot help your children if you do not first take care of yourself.

6. Keep a sense of humor

Try to find the humor in the situation. Even the flu can have humorous moments. Were there any funny moments that happened today? Did you come across laughable moment with your teenager? Often the difference between a bad incident and a funny situation is a person's perspective. Give yourself permission to laugh at your mistake, and not take yourself too seriously.

7. Avoid becoming stir crazy

Being cooped up on the house can make anyone go stir crazy, especially if it has been for a long period of time. There are only so many books you can read, movies you can watch, music you can listen to. Do what you are able to get a change of scenery and perspective. Get out if you can even if it is for a few minutes. Sit outside. Call some friends. Tackle your to do list that you have been wanting to accomplish.

8. Use this time to reconnect with your teenager.

Life is busy, and often parents wish they had more time with their children. One benefit of the flu is that you will have time together, especially if you are both home together. Use this time to catch up with what is going on in their world. Perhaps watch a movie together, or just spend some time talking in between naps.

9. Keep a healthy perspective

Remember that the flu does not last forever. Having the flu is inconvenient, but it will come to an end. You will get through this, and survive it. Keep your perspective if you start to feel overwhelmed.
About the Author
Parenting teenagers can be challenging at times. I invite you to log onto http://www.parentingyourteenager.com/ wehre you will find more information on how parents and teens can become friends when they feel like enemies.
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