An Aussie mum has revealed how she has had to resort to extreme measures to keep her teenage kids in check amid the coronavirus outbreak.

Queensland-based media personality Tamara Wrigley has an "open and friendly" relationship with her two children. She says they're "good kids" she says and generally "do what they're told".

READ MORE:
Covid 19 coronavirus: Keeping kids entertained during lockdown
Covid-19 coronavirus: How to survive working from home with kids
Covid-19 coronavirus: Government will fund home-based childcare for essential workers
Covid-19 coronavirus: Kids cough at shop worker in deliberate attack

But keeping her son under control during a pandemic has proven more challenging than expected and the normally laidback mum has had to lay down the law by confiscating his car.

Advertisement

The family lives on the Sunshine Coast and as of last week, Ashton, 17, has been home from university where he was living until coronavirus struck.

"He opted to come home and keep doing his studies online, but from the moment he walked through the door I don't think he grasped the concept of what was happening in the world," Wrigley told news.com.au.

Ms Wrigley's son came home from university due to the lockdown. Photo / news.com
Ms Wrigley's son came home from university due to the lockdown. Photo / news.com

"The first day home, a Saturday, he said 'Mum, I am going to a birthday party tonight'. I told him no, that he wasn't going anywhere."

Wrigley said he had cold symptoms when he came home from uni but didn't require testing for the virus as he didn't have a fever. He was, however, told by doctors to self-isolate.

"He didn't seem to understand the severity of what was going on. And it was incredible to us he wanted to go to a birthday party with his mates. So we had to put the brakes on," she said.

"Then the next day, he told us he was off to visit a friend in Noosa. At that point, I took his car keys."

Wrigley said the move wasn't met with too much resistance as she told her son she wanted to use his car to get to work rather than use her own.

"I told him that I wanted to use the car because I have had to step away from my media work to work in my real estate office," she said.

Advertisement

"So I sort of 'grounded him' that way."

Wrigley said there was a problem among teenagers like her son and daughter, saying they don't have a grip on the seriousness of the situation.

"They think they are invincible, and this doesn't apply to them. I don't know that it has actually sunk in that they can't leave the home and they can't socialise," she said.

Despite the challenges of wrangling her son, Wrigley said her kids are adapting to their "new normal" and doing well in terms of maintaining some kind of routine.

"Ashton is sticking to his routine at college, but I'm not there during the day so I have to trust he is telling me the truth," she said.

"He is a big gamer but this is how he communicates with his friends. I'm not really worried about that."

Wrigley's daughter Mikayla is also home from school and has time on her hands as end-of-term exams were scrapped and she is on a week's break.

However, the dedicated cricketer, who plays for the Sunshine Coast Scorchers, spends her time in the backyard "hitting cricket balls".

The family's strategy for coping with uncertain and changing times means being willing to sit down and openly discuss what is happening.

"A couple of nights ago, we sat down with both of them to say that things had gotten really serious. But I don't know whether they understand what could happen," Wrigley said.

This Aussie mum has taken a hard line with her kids to keep them safe in isolation. Photo / news.com
This Aussie mum has taken a hard line with her kids to keep them safe in isolation. Photo / news.com

"Unfortunately, it might take them seeing something drastic happening closer to home for them to really get to grips with what is happening around the world."

Wrigley said she and her children have a "friendship relationship, rather than parent and child", which means honest communication is valued above all else.

"As a parent, it doesn't pay to be dictatorial. We have to listen to what the child wants at this stage. It is important to let them have a voice, let them express how they are feelings," she said.

"I try planting seeds with my children, ideas they can go away and think about. And when they come back, they can ask for what they want with this in mind.

"It is all about communication, letting them know what can happen. And put some strategies in place for how you plan to go moving forward."

Covid19.govt.nz: The Government's official Covid-19 advisory website