What is it about mothering a 14-year-old that you liked the most?
Fourteen-year-olds are so smart and funny and curious, which makes them brilliant conversationalists. They also seem to feel like they are a kind of teen Atlas, bearing the unfair weight of the world, even if the weight of the world is really just you asking them to recycle the empty bean cans.
When did you know your child was a teenager?
When he started to passionately hate our doorknobs.
What do you wish you knew before you had a teen?
That he would be so much fun and himself, and not necessarily always like a strange diva Attila the Hun.
What advice do you wish you could tell your former self or a close friend about mothering a 14-year-old?
To enjoy them and say yes as much as possible, just like when they were toddlers. Also to invest in really good board games—the European kind.
What about motherhood inspires you?
The kids with their cheeks and their poop jokes and their unerring ethical sensibility.
What do you hope readers will take with them from your piece?
That you can choose what parts you want to take seriously.
Purchase Brain, Child’s Special Issue for Parents of Teens, which includes the This is Adolescence Series – Eight essays from America’s leading writers on ages 11 – 18.
Read an excerpt: This is Adolescence: 12