Is your teen holed up in their room so much that you’re worried they’ll never open the door? Courtney Evenchek, Director of School Psychology Services at A+ Solutions, offers parents some tips on how to navigate this situation with your teens.
Evenchek explains that “it’s certainly okay to have some boundaries in the home that say for a certain amount of time, you need to have your door opened or join us as a family.”
But what if they refuse to come out and have any face to face interaction? “Even after some friendly, loving nudging on your part, that’s when I would be concerned,” says Evenchek.
In this situation, Evencheck suggests that parents try and problem-solve with their teens. Start by acknowledging the circumstances. “Start by saying, ‘I’ve noticed” so you can open up the conversation and your teen won’t feel defensive,” counsels Evenchek. “Tell them ‘I’ve noticed you’ve been spending a lot of time alone in your room. I’m concerned. Let’s talk about it.’”
Once you get your information, you can brainstorm solutions. Dictating the rules doesn’t work well with teens, Evenchek admits, but brainstorming together — and making sure to validate your teen’s ideas — can lead to buy in. Come up with as many ideas as you can and then go through your list and discuss what makes sense and what will work best for both parties.
It’s also important to acknowledge that you’ll try these solutions and then tweak them as necessary. Perhaps you even want to determine a length of time to try them – say a week or two – before revisiting them.
If these strategies don’t work, then it may be necessary to seek outside help. Teachers or counselors may be able to provide the support that your teen and you need to navigate the problem.