Control Conundrum

As the rain began to fall yesterday, we had another storm of sorts. Ahh, teenage life.

It’s always apparent that what makes our teenager miserable isn’t the stuff on Quest. Not exclusively. Not the scuba diving, the yoga, the warm sunshine, the helping Bonnie and her team at Harbour Village. It’s when she compares her life here to her life back home. Which happens every time she’s on her phone. And until recently, she was on her phone a lot. A lot, a lot.

In no way do I want to shame her with this. After all, the experience of being a teenager is not something entirely under their own control. And we have taken her out of her preconceived ‘normal’ life – which, for our older teenager, is the bag she uses to swing at us. And she might have a point. Still, our other, younger teenager loves this life. Riddle me that one.

Maybe these differences won’t matter in the long run. I’m hoping we can love each other enough to get through it. It just gets intense at times. We feel the rug being pulled out from under us. Supposedly normal for parents of teenagers, but man – it is something when it happens. Over and over again. It’s a kind of trauma.

What makes it so uniquely strange is the combination of watching teenagers behave like toddlers, until they sit down to compute some quadratic expression or the like. It’s the combination of baby vs adult behaviour which is totally mind-boggling.

And I don’t want to ban her phone. To me that feels cruel.

Still, when it is largely the source of her misery – and in this I mean she becomes withdrawn and then aggressive toward us, what do you do? I’m just about at the point where I’ve lost the sense of being cruel. What seems crueller to me is to let it pass. Not to set down rules.

For better or worse, I guess I do have a point of consolation right now. She isn’t the only isolating teenager right now. Maybe because of lockdown, there are a lot more parents like us who are dealing more first-hand and up-close with the exquisite contradiction of teenage life. All of this during a time where we should be calm and composed. Where we need to stay strong and still.

Wait a minute. When you think about it, it seems we are all living a teenage time – riding out something that is not under our control. Forced into lockdown like you’re a child and it might be good for you – but who knows. All you want to do is be free like an adult. Who would have thought that teenagers and pandemics were so closely linked?

Meanwhile, Jack was given a tomato plant the other day. Our turtle is looking after it.

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