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Tuesday, January 10, 2012

I Have A Dream...The Teenage Solution

When the kids were little I used to point at teenagers and whisper in their ears, “There’s a teenager…aliens inject something in their brains, turning it to liquid, making them act crazy until their brains resolidify in their early to mid 20s.”  I used to think it was hilarious to watch the children look at the teenager wide eyed with a sort of curious trepidation.  One day, while at a community event, my son (at about 4 years old) grabs my arm, points wildly and exclaims for everyone around us to hear, “Look mom!  It’s a teenager!”  The crowd looked at us quizzically, as I just burst out laughing.  Over the last couple of years, I have come to see the wisdom in what I started as a joke, because sometime a few years ago, aliens got a hold of my daughter.

I am a mother of a teenage daughter.  I’m fortunate that my daughter is better behaved than most, most of the time, but make no mistakes, she is a teenage girl.  Being a single mother of a teenage girl presents even more challenges.  There is there’s no man in the house to assist me in those trying times when she wants to challenge me for “Queen Of The Castle”, so to speak, nor is there someone to assist me in the disciplining of her during those times when I’m just too mad or disappointed to be an effective disciplinarian, and take up my slack.  It’s all on me.

I have talked with many other parents and realize that I am not alone in my frustration.  We, as parents of teenagers, all share a common bond of anxiety and sometimes almost overwhelming desire to strangle our children, coming to a full understanding of why some species eat their young.  

During moments of extreme anxiety, and sometimes blinding anger, I’ve often calmed myself with the daydream of a teen sleep center.  Instead of taking our children to their first day of high school, we take them to an alternative campus…a medical campus, where the children are placed in medically induced comas, and taught everything they need to know through electrodes strategically hooked to their brain.    Parents would have unrestricted access to the morality section of the brain, and could record things for regular introduction such as religious fundamentals, our version of skills they’d need to succeed in life, the code of ethics we’d like them to live by, and anything else we’d introduce that would screw them up in a way specialized to us as individual parents.  The best educators would create age appropriate lessons which would be introduced and absorbed by each child, free of distraction from things such as that good looking boy sitting in the next row.  World events of significance would be introduced to them in the form of a filtered news cast, so that when they awoke, not only would they be fully educated, provided a moral foundation based on each parents own, but they would be informed of what is going on in the world. 

Each day, us parents could come in, spend quality time with our child free of arguing, dirty “fuck you”  looks, or looks that say “you’re a complete dumbass and know absolutely nothing”, we can admire how angelic they are, and feel that overwhelming love we felt for them when they were so young and innocent, thought we were their heroes, and were completely dependent upon us.  We could plug the latest movies and music into their electrodes for absorption as we watch or listen along.   We’d never have to wonder where they were, who they were with, where are my car keys, or my car, for that matter.  Then, when the magic day comes along, we weep as we wake them and send them off into the world fully equipped with all the tools they need to be successful in life.

 I realized last night that if every parent who’s ever wanted to feed their teenage child to a wild animal or even just strangle them slightly into submission gave only one dollar, we’d have enough funding for the research and development to turn this dream into a reality. 

However, I also realized that big corporations would never allow it to be successful, as the pharmaceutical companies would lose billions in anti-anxiety and depression medications, the therapeutic market for counselors and psychiatrists would all but cease to exist, law enforcement jobs would be lost due to lack of teen related crime, welfare benefits would no longer be needed to support teen age mothers and children, and a wide array of other unforeseen consequences.  So despite the abundant sources of funding, this dream will remain a dream.

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