Maybe it’s not fair to say that, before the coronavirus pandemic, my teenage daughter Zoe was a problem child; she was probably just a typical teenager. But, for a former teacher and a writer, you can’t help but feel like you are doing something wrong when your daughter is asked what her favorite part of school is and she replies, “Hanging out with my friends.”
She didn’t have a favorite subject, a favorite teacher or even a favorite structured extracurricular activity. Her favorite physical activity for the last several years had seemingly been lifting up her phone to watch Netflix in bed. I’m an introvert who loved school, so Zoe’s disinterest bothered me. She had never been bullied, didn’t have ADHD and got decent grades, so I chalked it up to what she told me: Most kids today don’t like school.
When I asked friends who had teenagers about Zoe’s apathy, they didn’t seem to think it was a big deal. Many were dealing with bigger problems: kids with learning disabilities, hanging out too much with boys, drugs. At one point I even asked Zoe if she wanted to see a therapist, but she adamantly refused.