Asking for a friend



Specific, gentle questions specifically for teenagers

Specific, gentle questions specifically for teenagers


We recently referred you to “The Hardest Fight to Have With Your Teen”
in which New York Times reporter Jessica Grose offers some very helpful insight and tips for parents wanting to better understand their teens’ unique stresses with the pandemic.

Everyone needs help, especially those wanting to help. Needless to say, there is no precedent for the current situation, and research is ongoing in real time. Grose’s article even offers examples of research conducted in May contrasting with research conducted more recently. It can make your head spin and make you worried you’ll ask the wrong question.

READ MORE: Mental health tips for COVID-era teens

With “What Do You Want Your Parents to Know About What It's Like to Be a Teenager During the Pandemic?” NYT writer Jeremy Engle, takes it one step further and actually offers concise, well-thought-out-questions specifically crafted to ask of teens. Engle, a man with more than 20 years as a classroom humanities and documentary-making teacher, professional developer and curriculum designer working with students and teachers across the country, requests teens read Grose’s article, and then asks them the following questions: 

  • What should parents and the other adults in your life know about what it is like to be a teenager during the coronavirus pandemic? What unique challenges do young people face? What do you wish adults understood about what you’re going through now?

  • How is your relationship with your parents or guardians during this crisis? What conflicts and friction, if any, have you had? For instance, do you ever argue over socializing or safety protocols? What things have your parents and other adults in your life gotten right about your needs and challenges?

  • Lisa Damour, a clinical psychologist and the author of The New York Times’s Adolescence column, says that “pandemic conditions are at cross currents with normal adolescent development.” What do you think she means by that statement? Do you agree that “this is a particularly difficult time to be young”?

  • What is your reaction to the surveys of teenagers cited in the article? Which findings resonate with your own experiences during the pandemic? Do you think that your own mental health and social life are significantly worse than they were pre-pandemic?

  • What do you think of the article’s advice for parents? Do you think that having them say to their teens “Let me try to articulate it from your perspective” would be effective? What recommendations would you give to parents and other adults?

  • If you were a parent of teenagers, how would you approach parenting in a pandemic? What kinds of rules and expectations would you have about socializing and social distancing? What would you do to meet their needs as adolescents.
We hope you’ll do the same. Good luck.



Other articles by HVP News Reporters


  • Weeklong FAIR Film Festival 2022

    The Foundation Against Intolerance & Racism (FAIR) Hosts a Film Screening Plus Q&A

    The Foundation Against Intolerance & Racism (FAIR) will kick off the FAIR Film Festival 2022 with an in-person screening of the documentary film I Am A Victor plus a selection of short films on Sunday, June 12 at 1:00pm EDT at Caveat on the lower east side in Manhattan. read more »
  • Keep kids learning during summer

    3 Fun, Easy Ways

    With school out, summertime brings long, carefree days of play and fun. With a little thought and a few supplies, summer is a perfect opportunity to revitalize their innate love of learning that may be a bit squashed after a year of academic pressures, tests and schedules. read more »
  • Take steps to support literacy

    8 ways to inspire children to read

    Reading is a foundation for learning, yet a vast gap exists in access to books for low-income neighborhoods. read more »
  • Sweeten up summer with a frozen, fruity snack

    Try these easy to make ice pops

    Heading to the freezer for a fruity ice pop can transport you from your own backyard to a tropical island, and the experience can be even more rewarding when the tasty treat is homemade. read more »
  • Clean. Drain. Dry. Every Time!

    Help keep invasive species out of our waters

    One of the most effective ways we can all help stop the spread of aquatic invasive species is by following proper procedures for cleaning, draining, and drying watercraft and equipment every time you leave the water. read more »
  • It pays to give

    5 ideas for investing in the world around you

    In a world fraught with social, political and environmental strife, a mindset that involves a more community-driven approach can make a meaningful difference. Each person’s contributions to improve the earth can send a ripple effect that ultimately transforms communities and the people who live within them. read more »
  • Special gifts to make dad smile

    6 great ideas for the man in your life

    Father’s Day brings a special opportunity each year to celebrate the dad in your life, whether it’s spent lighting a grill in the backyard, heading to the golf course or simply relaxing at home. read more »
  • Grocery store savings hacks

    7 tips to help you slash your bill

    As people continue to eat more meals at home, shoppers everywhere are feeling the pinch of increasing prices on nearly every item at the grocery store. read more »
  • Build friendship skills for back-to-school success

    Focus on your kids' social skills

    When thinking about back-to-school season, most people naturally think of academics. However, it’s just as important to focus on social and emotional skills. read more »
  • Protecting children in a digital age

    8 tips to help keep your kids safe online

    Keeping a watchful eye on your kids requires an increasing level of tech savvy many parents find intimidating. Not only are your kids vulnerable to bad actors online, but your family’s personal information could be at risk, as well. read more »