Our son is home from college where, of course, he was used to being around people his own age all the time, so how do we get him to understand socializing and social distancing etiquette? Yesterday he went over to a friend’s house while he was out walking the dog. My husband pretty much blew a gasket when he found out. Were they passing joints? Were there girls there? Any kissing? Vaping? How many of their other friends were there? Why doesn’t he get it that he can’t just go to someone’s house and hang out? We understand that it was the house of someone he grew up with and they’re both home indefinitely from their respective colleges, but come on – we’re in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic!
We’re so annoyed we can’t think straight. Can you, please, send guidelines for our quite brilliant college student who appears to live in la-la land, or as the kids call it, it’s a corona-cation.
–Kathleen, Middletown, RI
Thank you for sharing your concern about the boundaries of socializing and social distancing! Yikes, that’s definitely a tall order question. From the freedom of college to being trapped at home again, these kids are living a nightmare. A loss of innocents.
Suddenly they have absolutely no control over their lives. It’s easy to see how difficult it must be for them, those who don’t remember 9/11 and watching people jump out of windows on the morning news, which many thought would change everything we knew to be sacred–but it didn’t.
As punishment, and he’s too old for a time out, ask him to listen to The Daily, the New York Times Podcast app on his phone, daily. You listen to it on yours and then discuss what you both heard. Or make it a daily family ritual while he’s having his breakfast by putting it on speakerphone–whatever it takes. Your whole family will learn some of the facts, for instance, that viruses get viruses.
In our state, legally (as of today) there should not be gatherings of more than five people, and we’re to keep those gatherings with the same five people. At the moment, when only 50% are staying home. everyone needs to be compliant.
As you know, with every additional social and physical contact your son has, the risk of having an encounter with an infected person goes up. Suggest the following:
- He minimizes the number of people he interacts with physically.
- He sticks with one friend who limits their other social contacts, too.
- If that friend feels sick, he stays away.
- As long as his friend is well, social contact by going for a bike ride or hike is fine, but they should keep six feet apart.
- That means NOT sharing finger food, liquids, bodily fluids, or joints, cigarettes, e-cigs or vaps.
As soon as possible, get the baseline temperature reading of every family member. That way when someone seems under the weather, that person’s temperature can be monitored closely. That said, what you should know is:
- The significance of adult and children’s temperatures differ.
- Plus, we all have our own normal temperature baseline, based on weight, gender and activity level; it’s helpful to find out what everyone’s is, so it’s precisely monitored.
- Normal can be anywhere between 97.7-99.5 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Fever is likely to be between 99.5 or 100.9 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Hyperpyrexia would be dangerous at 104.0 or 105.8 degree Fahrenheit.
- Baseline temperatures vary based on age, sex, physical activity and health, and whether it is taken in the mouth or armpit, which can be lower.
- To find a person’s normal, take the temperature every day at the same time for at least three days, sticking to either mouth or armpit.
- Know the facts, but don’t overdo it, too much information can aggravate stress.
- Put the coronavirus pandemic in perspective.
- Refrain from blaming and shaming.
- Ask for help, now is the time to turn toward one another.
- Encourage him to partake in social distancing in a positive way by calling his friends to actually talk about what’s happening in the world around them.
- Discuss the difference between social and physical distancing, if, in fact, there is a difference. What does he think?
- Advice to avoid the coronavirus through social distancing can increase the risk of physical and emotional harm from inadequate social contact.
- But without physical distancing the virus spreads like falling dominos.
- Prepare him for when, not if, the coronavirus strikes.
- He should know where to find your estate will and your living will; in the event he has to make choices for you.
- Having a down-to-earth conversation with your son can be both heartrending and heartwarming.
- Honoring your wishes when you are unable to do so is one of the most loving and bravest things an adult child can do for a parent..
- Scientist call our longing for human touch “skin hunger.”
- Physical touch triggers the orbit of frontal cortex in the brain, according to Daniel Keltner, professor of psychology at University of California, Berkley.
- Regular touch reduces levels of stress hormones, says Tiffany Field, director of the Touch Research Institute, the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine.
- Hugging stimulates the thymus gland regulating the body’s white blood cell production, which helps fight infection, according to research at the University of North Carolina.
- Women who are frequently hugged have lower blood pressure, than those who are not according to research at UNC.
- People who received regular hugs had fewer flu symptoms than participants who were hugged less frequently in a study at Carnegie Mellon University.
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