Here’s the top line: parenting a teen in this post-quarantine moment can feel like a hopeless exercise in frustration.
We can't decide if Covid is driving our kids to self-medicate or keeping them away from drugs. The CDC reports that teen emergency room visits for mental health complaints have increased by 34 percent during the year of isolation. And according to The Daily, parents are hiding in closets and bathrooms just to have a moment of privacy and decompression.
Meanwhile, if you’re like me, you’re cohabitating with a sullen adolescent whose idea of high school is to lie in bed in front of a teacher on Zoom, his camera off, playing video games or Snap Chatting friends rather than paying attention in class, much less participating. And now that summer is here, unstructured days and social media-binge nights mean…what, exactly, in terms of a properly maturing teenager? Am I consigned to a future of anger directed at my Cruella-esque request to walk the dog or load the dishwasher? I'm at the end of my rope—and I'm not sure how to tie a knot and hang on.
After months and months and…months of working from home next to my teenager, I felt hopeless and frankly, perplexed at how I ended up here. I tried to be grateful for our health and stability, but instead it just felt like one giant pain in the neck. And besides, I was frightened—at a time when teens are biologically set to mature independently from their parents, how was our current situation going to set him up for a successful adulthood? And finally, I felt like there had to be something wrong with me, since I couldn’t seem to intuit what to do to support my child.