The Kids Are Not OK

It is the worst of times.

And thanks to schools missing the last quarter of the 2019-20 school year due to COVID-19, your kids will probably have no idea what that sentence-opener alludes to. Every kid is experiencing an unprecedented shock to the system (well, except you rascally homeschoolers). It sucks.

And while some kids are powering through the quarantine with positivity and grace, there are a great big group of teens out there who are marking this historic moment by being the biggest punks imaginable. Let’s face it, the kids … are not ok.

Julie wrote a lovely piece yesterday that chronicled the empathy and sorrow we feel for the seniors of this year’s class. Heidi paid homage to the greatest of all heroes: elementary school teachers. But between the rambunctious antics of the grade school crowd and the relatively somber mood of the college-bound lies the untransversable world of the punk-ass quaranTEENS.

These assholes between 13 and 17 are sitting at home with plenty to do and no motivation to move. They’re fully capable and fairly comatose. The walls of their rooms are playing spectator to the ping pong championship between their intense loneliness and increasing laziness. They’ve never been more hormonal or more homebound. See if your teen applies to one of these categories.

The Overachiever

You thought your independent, straight A, multi-extracurricular eldest child would be able to weather the COVID storm with grace and a completed chore chart. Then they got their online learning resources and smashed a lamp because everything, including Zoom appearances, are “optional” and they won’t be getting graded on a damn thing for at least six weeks. They found out that the PSATs were cancelled and they broke out in stress hives. They are judging every single one of the meals you have made (or not made) for their nutritional value and decided to put YOU on a workout regimen when they saw the big box of peanut butter pretzels from Costco.

This kid is definitely holding court and practicing speeches in the bathroom mirror. 

The Sweetheart

You’ve got one of those kids with a gigantic heart, big enough to volunteer at a local animal shelter and to run the neighborhood’s Little Free Library. Until now, you thought this was one of their greatest assets in life, the thing that would take them far and help them make a mark on the world. But in the world of social distancing, you cannot keep this child from offering up their services to every single person or small business in need. They have created a spreadsheet of all the local eateries you need to purchase dinner from. You cannot get them to understand why it is not ok to go sing hymns at the local nursing home, and they spend every moment trying to leave the house so they can make sure the neighbors all have toilet paper.

This kid is definitely crying themselves to sleep every night watching video compilations from The Dodo.

The Rule Follower

If you’re lucky to have one of these teens in your life you are blessed, even in this cursed time, to have at least one other person on hand who will wash the dishes as they get dirty, and has not once complained about your decontamination strategy for deliveries. But their adherence to rules is not limited to their own behavior, and they are CONSTANTLY pissed at every single person on their social media feeds for every tiny perceptible COVID-related infraction. Kyllee didn’t wear a mask to walk her dogs. Landon’s mom keeps posting conspiracy theory screenshots from Candace Owens. Drake is still going over to Shyla’s house every other day like social distancing doesn’t apply to couples who started dating on St. Patrick’s Day. “Don’t these people read the news?” is your early morning wake up call. Their life at home is fine, but everyone else is going to stress-murder them.

This kid is definitely drinking your White Claws at 2am. Let them. 

The Introspective

When you have somewhere to drive in the car, this lovely little bag of hormones stares out the window and imagines they are the star of their own sad CW drama. Since you haven’t gone anywhere in three weeks, they have holed up in the game room and are running out of moleskin pages fast. There’s no video game they haven’t beaten. There is no landscape they haven’t sketched. There is no poem left unwritten. They are creating universes up there, and they really miss the rain.

This kid is definitely going to cut their own bangs before Mother’s Day gets here.


Normally you love your gregarious, popular teenager. You have no problem with their gaggle of friends rotating in and out of your house like a New York City hotel lobby in a bad 80s movie. But dear heavens, no one is more put-upon, no child is more bedeviled than the popular kid who cannot see their friends. The first week was the worst: the constant barrage of “Can just Devin come over? Her mom is a medical data entry person, so she’s probably been really good at keeping things clean,” gave way to: “But Lysteria and Nyla went to the park, and the boys they met walked behind them so … social distancing!” and finally, “I JUST WANT TO SEE MY GIRLFRIEND FOR LIKE AN HOUR … OR LIKE 15 MINUTES!” Ooof. Also, ew.

This kid is definitely doing every TikTok challenge ever created, while half naked.

They might be helping around the house, independently working on class resources and walking the dog, but these quarantined kids are not ok.

So look, let them play video games. Let them read comics. Let them Zoom with their friends until midnight. Let them try new hair colors. But don’t let them fool you. The kids are not ok.



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