Guest blogger Nicola Morgan on the perfect Bookwitch

In which I delve inside a witch’s psyche and answer the important question “Why was Bookwitch such a perfect teenager?”

I’ll come to Bookwitch in a minute. Oh yes, I will.

It’s very important never to forget that all teenagers are different. They get a terribly negative press, but many are not emotionally volatile, risk-taking, sleep-crazed creatures; some are extremely focused on achievement and others are just calm and outwardly unaffected by the turmoil in their brains, quietly moving towards sedate adulthood as though their mortgages and slippers were waiting.

Teenagers differ from each other because of a combination of genes, experience, environment, health and personality; but they also share a range of biological and psychological changes that must take place to turn them into independent adults. As a group they are special and share significant similarities.

Now to Bookwitch. *rubs hands*

Bookwitch claims to have been a “perfect teenager”, by which I assume she means that she caused Mother-of-witch no grief and has no memories of being emotional, risk-taking, rebellious etc.

Here are some possible reasons – and, of course, what I’m really saying is not what I think about Bookwitch and her paragonosity, but the reasons why any individual teenager might give her or his parents such an easy ride:

  • Bookwitch may have had less to fight or rebel against, fewer triggers for anger. She had no siblings to argue with or be jealous of and describes Mother-of-witch as being liberal. Being either liberal or authoritarian don’t necessarily make sufficient difference but the combination of liberal parent plus adolescent with no inherent need to kick is a potentially easy one.
  • Bookwitch may have a sanguine personality. A placid child is more likely to be a placid teenager and adult.
  • Bookwitch may have had any number of subconscious reasons for being undemanding. Leaving Bookwitch aside, things that could influence teenagers not to succumb to the storms of adolescence include: a difficult external situation (such as war), the serious illness or difficulty of a close relative or friend, economic or other social reasons for the need to conform and mature quickly rather than rebel. None of those would guarantee smooth adolescence, but combined with certain personality traits could affect behaviour either positively or negatively.
  • Bookwitch may have been lucky that the changes in her brain happened in ways that did not cause the turmoil that many teenagers face. All brains are likely to change differently, at different speeds, and it’s logical to suppose that this might have different outcomes.
  • Bookwitch may have amnesia. I would not dare suggest this if she were anywhere near me and actually I’m sure it’s not true. However, it’s fair to say that many adults do forget what they felt like and even what they did as teenagers.
  • Bookwitch may have had lots of emotional turmoil but have been able to internalise and control it and not cause Mother-of-witch or her teachers any grief. Since she has no stories of rebellion to rehearse over dinner tables, she has forgotten much if not everything she felt. In other words, amnesia…
  • Bookwitch’s personal narrative may include the statement, “I am a calm and measured individual who behaves decorously and maturely; emotional volatility is not my style.” This personal narrative, when filtered through confirmation bias theory, could lead Bookwitch to remember herself as a calm and measured teenager, which may also be true, but is at least theoretically filtered by memory and memory is not perfect. Amnes…

So, you’ve not exactly seen Bookwitch on the psychiatrist’s couch but you’ve seen some reasons why some teenagers can go through the same range of brain upheavals and yet not conform to the norms or stereotypes.

I’m endlessly fascinated by this stuff and I’m so pleased that Blame my Brain has a sparkly new edition to bring it bang up to date. Thank you for letting me invade your blog!

Bookwitch, can I draw your readers’ attention to my ongoing competition? There are books and things to be won and brainy questions to be answered!

Nicola Morgan, Blame My Brain

5 responses to “Guest blogger Nicola Morgan on the perfect Bookwitch

  1. Pingback: In witch (sic) I psychoanalyse a teenage Bookwitch | Nicola Morgan

  2. Nicola, an excellent post. But I think you may be missing one factor in this case. Bookwitch is, well, a witch. She probably just cast a spell to make her parents let her do whatever she wanted. And, in all likelihood, praise her for it.

  3. Pingback: In witch (sic) I psychoanalyse a teenage Bookwitch | Nicola Morgan

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