Living with a Teen During a Pandemic: Lessons in Life, Writing, and Business

Updated: Jun 2



Let me be clear, we don’t normally have a teen in our home.


My children are still quite little and they are reasonably easy to contend with (Shhh… Momma’s got Smarties!) but I have been lucky enough to have my 14yo sister-in-law choose to self-isolate with our family during the COVID-19 pandemic. There are innumerable reasons why this experience has been both demanding and inspirational, a hindrance and helpful, limiting and liberating. However, the positives definitely outweigh the negatives ten-to-one.


When we started this journey, I was thinking about the pluses of free childcare, girl chats, and having an extra player during family game nights but I never expected her presence to impact my life, writing, and business in such a powerful way. Having a teen in the house during these crazy times has taught me so much more about myself and the world than I ever could have dreamed imaginable. She has given me a whole new perspective on the meanings of adaptability, introspection, and patience… all the patience.


Adaptability

Having a teen in the house during this pandemic has reminded me of all the ways I am showing up (or not) as a role model to the people I love. If I am rigid in mindset, approach, and behaviour, I should expect to see that reflected in the people around me as well. This leads to frustration, overwhelm, and ultimately stagnation. So when I learned that I would have to give up some square footage, quiet time, and my favourite working spot at the table, I knew it was time to bring out my A-game: my ability to be Adaptable.


Adaptability is a necessary part of copywriting because the content needs to be able to connect with a particular audience in order to be truly effective. That’s not to mention the fact that each business has a unique selling point, voice, and brand image to portray while keeping with the ever-changing evolution of engagement and sales on a multitude of platforms.


Since change is inevitable with the growth and maintenance of a business, having an attitude drenched in adaptability will promote progress and innovation which will help your business stand out in the crowd. Having a growth mindset helps entrepreneurs to learn as they go and change, when need be, in order to fit the needs of their industry. We have seen this in the recent shift that many have had to take as the world begins to function in a predominantly online capacity.


It’s been nearly two months since my teenager came to live with us and she has shown and facilitated more conscious adaptability than I could have ever imagined. By being adaptable in life, writing, and business, there is always an opportunity to learn and forever the capacity for growth.

Introspection

Being a role model for a young child’s mind is full of mimicked behaviours and responses. Adults are meant to show a good example that the child should replicate. A teen is a totally different ball game. Living with a teen through the pandemic has forced me to participate in a lot of - somewhat uncomfortable - introspection. Teens require something more than just behavioural nurturing, they require a depth of insight that demands a little more effort on behalf of the acting adult.


Taking part in regular moments of introspection has proven to accelerate personal growth and enhance many aspects of everyday life, as well as writing and business. Understanding a situation before intervening, employing empathy before all else, and recognizing my own flaws in productive ways are just a few examples of the benefits of this self-reflection.


Being able to draw from within is an important element when creating content that resonates with a business’s ideal audience. Understanding your own inner workings provides a deeper insight into the reasons behind audience engagement, or lack thereof, thereby enhancing the ability to create copy that converts.


When my live-in teen inadvertently integrated regular introspective moments into my life I was privileged to understand how important this experience is in business as a whole. If you are being disingenuous within yourself then it becomes directly apparent in your brand, your content/copy, and your product/service. A healthy dose of introspection allows you to understand your authentic self and be able to bring all of that value into your business.


“The problem with introspection is that it has no end.”

Philip K. Dick


Patience

It’s amazing how having good patience resonates through so many aspects of life. This isn’t news to me and likely isn’t a novel idea to many others either. What is interesting is how living with a teenager can really bring this fact to the forefront in so many profound ways. The daily reminder provides an opportunity to practice the pause in all aspects of life.


We teach our children to ask for help when they struggle with a task rather than becoming frustrated and lashing out. We take a breath when confronted with the opinions of inexperienced youth exploring their independence. We remember that good things come to those who wait but also to those who take action at the right moment.


This is our pivot point.


Although patience and action are opposite in many ways, they are also intricately linked for the movers and the shakers of the world. In writing, there can be no story without forward-momentum however there can also be no mood without patience: adding emotive pauses and choosing the right language to convey your message to your audience requires patience as well as action.


In business, we know that the work we do today keeps our business going in the future. So, when that breath has to be taken before responding to an increasingly independent, intelligent, and dynamic teen, I know that it is preparing me for so much more than what I plan to say next.


It’s absolutely remarkable how having a live-in teen around the house can impact so much of the way we perceive and choose to live our complex lives. It’s amazing to know that having a teen around can spark this kind of empowered thinking during what has the potential to be a chaotic and defeating time in history.


So much of our personal and professional growth happens when we least expect it. Who would have thought that having this beautifully frustrating and inspirational teen in the house for these months of self-isolation during the COVID-19 pandemic could lead to such a profound difference in the way I live, write, and conduct business?


Especially when we don’t normally have a teen in our home.


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