Covid-19 · Fostering · Parenting

Teenage Brain

If I live to be 100 and raise 50 teenagers I will still never understand the working of the teenage brain! A mass of contradictions, completely void of connecting consequences to actions, and yet a precise grasp of loopholes that baffle you.

We sit at the supper table discussing the new food before us. Enchiladas. I have made something new and we are discussing what is different about this meal compared to other Mexican meals we have had. He is there at the table… apparently listening while devouring his supper.

“Are these Chimichangas store bought?”, he asks.

We all stop and stare at him.

“They are different from the ones we have had before.”, he says to justify his question.

“Have you not been listening to the last 5 minutes of conversation?”, his sister asks in exasperation, “We’ve been talking about the very food in front of you!”

He stops perplexed and thinks…

“Ohhhh, this is Enchilada! I thought it looked different from the Chimichanga!”

We all roll our eyes and continue eating supper. Just another example of how he can be a part of something and have no idea what is actually going on. His mind was still off with his friends who he was not going to be able to hang out with after supper.

You’d think he just couldn’t follow a thought. As I have learned about how trauma effects the brain I am convinced I am seeing evidence of how the story of the Other Mother has impacted her children.

But this same kid earlier in the day had a crystal clear grasp on what he was being asked to do and could find every loophole with razor precision.

Online school had commenced yet again (Thanks Covid-19). This involves sitting in front of the computer all day. The difference between this and sitting in class is you can see yourself.

If you’re the slightest bit self-conscious this is terrible. I have seen myself more, thanks to meetings online, in the last 6 months than I ever care to!!

So we go over the rules of attending class online.

You have to have your camera on. (He points the camera at the ceiling)

You have to be on the screen. (Hoodie cinched tight so only a nose peeks through)

You can’t wear a hoodie. (Ball cap on and brim low over the face… the same kid who wears it backwards the rest of the time)

No ball caps. (Forehead resting on hand looking down)

AHHHHHHH! The point is that the teacher wants to see your attentive face while they try to teach under these incredibly difficult circumstances! Cooperate! Show some respect!

“None of my friends have to look at the screen.” I scan a screen full of ceilings, cinched hoods and avatars. My condolences to the teacher who has stated clearly that everyone must be onscreen the entire time. He has no way to enforce this and most of these kids are sitting at home unsupervised.

“Well you’ll be the exception!”

I finally settle down to work (on my computer from home) thinking we might make it through the day with some level of cooperation.

When I pop downstairs a bit later I am surprised to find it completely dark except for a glowing computer screen.


Honestly… what else can you do! The kid should be a lawyer. The next day is a repeat of this one… and so on.

Teenage brain! It’s a thing. Completely non-functional one moment and thinking circles around you the next!

Hang in there all you parents struggling to help kids navigate school online, this too shall pass!

In the midst of the mess


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