Alix MacDonald is 17 years old, and the future weighs heavily on her mind. A high school senior in Chicago, she was “stressed a lot” in the fall about “whether or not to apply to college,” especially during a pandemic.
What comforted her was “talking through pros and cons with my mom and dad” — without feeling as if her parents had an agenda. “They didn’t push me,” said Alix, who has both attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and a lesser-known learning difference called slow processing speed, and has long grappled with school-based anxiety. “They asked questions about what I wanted.”
Alix, like young people across the country, is wrestling with feelings of apprehension and uncertainty about what the next year will bring, made all the more intense in the pandemic. For parents, it has become harder to assess if their teenagers are doing OK.