View Full Version : child who want to go to school - hair tearing update - help!

Stella M
02-09-2011, 03:58 PM
I've posted here before about my 11.5 yr old who wants to go to high school next year. Bad idea, but I"m all for helping the kids with their (crazy) goals.

We decided she needed to do some pretty intensive maths to 'catch up'. Also some workbook type stuff to get familiar with schooly ways and language. She's been pretty much delight directed up till now.

I am sitting with her to help. She is driving me insane. There are too many ways to explain them all - let's just say focus is difficult for her. Not because she has focus issues...she has 'attitude'. Big time. It's kinda beneath her to write legibly, not doodle on her page, answer in full sentences, apparently.

Snitty, eye-rolling attitude when I required her to narrate back to me something from our Ancient History study. Picky to the nth degree with ds. Sweet as pie to anyone outside these four walls.

Some of it is raging hormones. Anyone used natural supplement with their daughters to help moderate their PMS ?

I'd quit on 'schooling' her if she has an attitude and let her experience the consequences of going to high school utterly unprepared but that will make my year next year a living hell of mammoth homework sessions and tutoring. And, more importantly, it will be uber distressing for dd. She's smart but not schooly. I don't want her to start getting "I'm stupid" ideas from failing at school.

Arrgghh! Give me a plan! Dh is all for being the bad guy and telling her she can't go to school. That's attractive but undemocratic.

Of course, while all this is going on, dd13 and ds7 are being golden children, so dd11 can truly whine "Why do you pick on me!"


Oh yeah, the other thing bugging me is that all the family who I thought were now pro-homeschooling are so excited about dd going to real school! Like a normal person!! what does that make the rest of us, freaks??

02-09-2011, 04:08 PM
Can you use a program you can grade, and tell her she cant go to public school unless she achieves a certain grade from the program? That would put the responsibility back in her lap. The attitude, tho, you probably need to learn to ignore. I would avoid things she has to do orally, tho, and make her write it - thats what she'll have to do in school. Then you can show her exactly what she woudl get points off for at school, too, in writing.

02-09-2011, 04:18 PM
Not that this is helpful, but my 11-year old niece took particular pleasure in being hurtful to her mother in subtle ways. Saying other people's cooking tastes better, telling me (in front of her mom) that she hates the clothes her mom buys for her, and just being a little brat in general. My sister in law is the sweetest person and I know it hurts her to be treated this way. I really think it's just the age.

Can you make the quality of your daughter's work and her behaviour a condition of going to high school? For example, telling her that illegible answers will be marked wrong and school and answering with a bad attitude will get her in trouble. If she can't show you that she can't do those things, you can tell her that she isn't ready to go to school. Use high school as the carrot, in other words.

Isn't it great how the other siblings enjoy being the "good" kids? My daughter loves to point out how she didn't do whatever her brother just did to get in trouble, and my son complains that his sister doesn't get punished as much as he does. Oy.

02-09-2011, 04:21 PM
Oh, yeah, my daughter turned evil at 11. It lasted for 6 years.

Stella M
02-09-2011, 04:36 PM
Cara, don't tell me that! Another 6 years of this and I'll be in an asylum!

Part of the problem - with the school work at least - is that we haven't articulated conditions for attending high school. So I think we need to do that soon.

I find ignoring the attitude difficult, especially when it's directed at my other children. And me. Any tips ?

AMM, it is kinda helpful to know I'm not the only mum with a demon child!

02-09-2011, 04:39 PM
THis is just MHO and i have no idea about the particulars, but BECAUSE she is now hormonal (and there is hope my got better this year and is almost 14) You, her parents should be making the absolute judgments on what school she will attend (PS or HS). Yes.. of course she has an opinion, but YOU are the ones who know best at this point in her life. She will most likely flip out if you say no. It will only last a month (hopefully) it will however make life a little more solid. Those "what if" and If you then you cans" are quite stressful on someone just entering puberty. Again, just a general observation. :)

Stella M
02-09-2011, 05:22 PM
If I tell her 'no school', she'll turn into the kid from The Exorcist. Truly, that's what I'd like to do though. I don't feel comfortable with being so authoratative - I don't want to disrespect her choices - but yes, her brain is one big hormonal mush atm. Not in the best place for making big life decisions. And I guess high school will still be there in 2013, 2014 etc etc.

I do have an alternative plan in place for next year; MCT (she loves English), writers circle, youth theatre and extra dance classes, so maybe that would sweeten the 'no'.

I can tell I'm stressed - there's a typo in my subject line and I can't remember how to spell authoratative.

02-09-2011, 05:44 PM
I have no problem with putting my foot down and saying no. I'm the parent, I'm the one making the big choices for him (my son is 12), because he's not old enough to know what is best for him. I remember being that age, school work wasn't my priority. Being popular and boys were my main interests. I wish now that my Mom would have put her foot down, and got me back on track. Thankfully he loves homeschooling. But I'd have no problem with putting my foot down, otherwise I'd feel guilty for letting him do something that I know wouldn't be best for him. And education is just not something I waver on. Just my opinion though.

02-09-2011, 05:47 PM
I did step in more when she was being mean to her brothers - but i think we had a major breakdown, i probably should have been firmer with her. It was hard becuase she was my first, auhthority has never been my freind, and she was SOO good and easy when she was younger, i kept thinking my miracle perfect child would come back . . . turns out part of it, she was mad at me about something and I never figured it out and she didnt tell me until she was 17 . . .

02-09-2011, 06:07 PM
Just to add... especially at her age... if you send her to high school, she WILL learn her manners, life perspective and every thing else from her peers. This hormone thing may or may not calm down. Every girl seems to be different. If you do gather up the "balls" to put your foot down.. yep..she will probably go nuts. You will have to find the strength within yourself to let her no repeatedly that it is not up for discussion. It is OBVIOUS you dont think she should go. She may go helter skelter on it.. but you will end the current hair pulling so.. one for another... it will only get worse if she starts making her life choices on the basis of her friends at school.. and she will. It is natural.

02-09-2011, 06:42 PM
Snort. Mine just turned 12 in January. She is exactly the same and is already in PS. It won't change wherever she goes to school... Aye aye aye.

Stella M
02-09-2011, 06:52 PM
So, is it better having her out of the house 6 hours a day ? :)

I feel two conflicting pulls. One, feeling that I should let dd have the autonomy to learn through experience. The other, to keep her at home and show her another way to live and grow and learn.

I don't get it. She wants to do an English degree when she's finished school. She couldn't care less about maths or science or history or the zillion other things she'll have to do at school. If she stays at home I have no problem with her studying English, slowly finishing up her basic maths and spending the rest of the time doing the fun stuff, like dance, that she loves.

I always knew one of my kids would punish me by going mainstream :)

02-09-2011, 07:11 PM
yes all of our differing opinions heheh In the end its your own choice for whatever you thing is right and best. oh but that 6 hours a day does sounds good doesnt it????!!!! Some have attitude longer than others. Mine is mostly better now and she will hit 14 in June. it was a wee bit wild for a bit there though. Now she has regular periods and we can actually map off the psycho days. When she comes downstairs those days i medicate her with some Midol. (PMS over the counter stuff for cramps etc) and I make sure she has a lot of reading material. This only lasts about 3 days a month.. and the rest... she has gone back to the child I know and love.

OTHER mothers have not been so darn lucky though and who knows what the future has in store for you.

02-09-2011, 09:05 PM
there were lots of extenuating circumstances for mine to stay mean longer . .. my 2nd husband never bonded w the kids and she already had pretty negative attitude towards men, she ended up pretty strongly disliking; her biodad is mostly absent, total loser, and she finally gave up trying to visit cuz it wasnt worth putting up w the chain smoking and the aunt (who always has to help him take care of them) who flipped out at her for being in to paganism; she totally resented her specail needs brother, esp his late and long, drawn out toilet training; i'm not a lovey-dovey person and apparently she wanted more of that than I could comfortably give (and she always either told me not to or forgot when I tried, after she finally told me that one) . .. idk, i always said that if she'd been an only child, I would have had more time for her and we wouldnt have had so much trouble, but i had a LOT going on . . .

02-09-2011, 09:51 PM
I remember being that age, school work wasn't my priority. Being popular and boys were my main interests.

Not that you need convincing, Melissa, but if she goes to school you may very well have to endure endless gushing about BOYS, punctuated with lots of "likes" and "oh, my gods!" and "so-and-so did the funniest thing" stories. My niece, now 12, talked about the boys in her classes for a solid hour when she was last here. My husband thought it was funny and egged her on, pretending to forget who likes who and mixing up the names. I don't think I could take it for more than five minutes before I would tell her to put a lid on it.

02-09-2011, 10:07 PM
I always knew one of my kids would punish me by going mainstream :)

That is seriously one of my greatest parental fears.

My parenting instinct is always to go sideways whenever possible. It's better to not meet an angry, moody kid head on, but to try to side step them and come back around to it. It's like martial arts parenting or something.

Maybe instead of you being the bad guy, you can make an agreement about the things she has to do in order to go to school and let the agreement be the bad guy - if that makes any sense. Instead of putting your energy into fighting with her about it, maybe you can just refer to a checklist and remind her that it's on her to do the things she needs to do if she wants to go to school - you're only there to help her do them, not make her do them. Draw up a contract about it and let that be the power instead of you.

02-09-2011, 10:13 PM
6 hours a day isn't enough, LOL! She's gotten into this horrible habit of bugging the s**t out of her siblings just because. Makes me absolutely insane, and then she cries when I yell at her. OTOH, she likes to snuggle with me at night before her dad gets home when she's the only still up. Unfortunately the siblings she likes to instigate crap with are also gone those 6 hours as those three go to PS. I only have the 10 yr old at home. On snow days we do no school because there's just no peace in the house--something the 10 yr old has to have to work. Absolutely no distractions.

Stella M
02-09-2011, 10:36 PM
I don't want her to go to school. That's the crux of it. I don't want school in our lives.

I'm really angry at her for fixating on it and making it be part of our lives. She's chosen the one thing to oppose me on that is the hardest thing for me. No wonder we're not getting along.

It's not a separation issue for me (though it might be for her). I can easily imagine supporting her to go off and do her own thing in a number of areas. I might be sad she was away but I wouldn't be angry. I just hate school and I especially hate high school. ( No offence to anyone here who has kids at school. You obviously are more resolved and mature than I am! ) Tear the place down brick by brick type hate.

Any one else have unresolved high school issues of their own ??!!

02-09-2011, 11:05 PM
I HATED going in to the high school to pick up my daughter or deal with the front office . . . i would seriously get paranoid about the kids looking or not looking at me . . . HATED it. The lower schools werent quite as anxiety-producing, but certainly it was a huge relief not to have to deal with any of them. and yet . . . part of my hopes my youngest goes to high school cuz i wanna go back to wrok before i'm old enough to retire!!

02-10-2011, 12:01 AM
Honestly, I would set some rules in place and give her the first semester to try it. She is never going to know what she hates about it ;-) Set something up like "no grades below a C on report card", with the result of that being homeschool again. Or no more then 3 absences, or no calls from the office, or no whining...you get the idea :-)

Stella M
02-10-2011, 12:11 AM
Yes. I think, ethically, I need to allow her to try it and manage my own feelings about it separately. My 'rules' would be more about her emotional and physical health as well as how she handles the academics. I think we are going to sit down and talk about it. Find out more about what she's hoping for by going. Let her know our concerns and our rules. See if she'll consider delaying high school for another year or two. Try and feel ok about being a hands-off school mama.

I thought letting her dye her hair pink would get the 'rebellion' out of her system. What I should have done was ban her from dyeing her hair so she could have the thrill of going against me!!

Stella M
02-10-2011, 12:15 AM
Re the boys: It's an all-girl school :)

02-10-2011, 02:53 AM
That is seriously one of my greatest parental fears.

My parenting instinct is always to go sideways whenever possible. It's better to not meet an angry, moody kid head on, but to try to side step them and come back around to it. It's like martial arts parenting or something.

Mine, too.... and LMAO at the mental image of your 'crouching tiger hidden dragon' parenting style ;)

Stella M
02-10-2011, 03:22 PM
So, we had a friendly talk about why dd wants to go to school. She says it's to have " a new experience and new friends." OK. I can get the new experience thing. I can turn this around and admire her sense of adventure. Then she says "And I'm really looking forward to having lots of homework." So then I'm thinking deluded. I guess that'll be a new experience for sure!

Then later we had an argument over the tone of your voice and I cried half the night because to me, it's just like Anakin going over to the dark side. And because of stupid ethics, I have to ring the school up today to book in for an "Info Night' - yay! - and an appointment with the principal - double yay!!

02-10-2011, 04:05 PM
Wait, the tone of your voice, or her voice? I seriously think tone should maybe be mentioned once, and then the conversation is OVER. If you are arguing w your daughter, you are letting her get you. State your opinion, explain hers back to you so she knows you understand (and do it RESPECTFULLY, as if you REALLY believe she has a valid point), and then agree to disagree and WALK AWAY. There is nothing good to come from arguing with your teen.

Stella M
02-10-2011, 04:17 PM
The pissed off 'whatever' tone of her voice.

Seriously, I cannot handle the tone. Its like a verbal slap.

02-10-2011, 05:06 PM
I know . . .ppl used to tell me 'dont let her get to you' but it took me several years until I didnt actually get HURT by the crap she threw at me . . . it still really raised MY anxiety level, tho, to the point where i'd be clenching my teeth all night in my sleep. But at least I didnt feel hurt, i was just frustrated that she was still stirring up crap for no reason.

I also remembered seeing someone write, somewhere, that if your teen daughter is really pissing you off, she's probably depressed. The first therapist she saw (from age 15-17, i think) made things worse. I chose this woman becuase I thought she'd be easy for my daughter to talk to, and she was . . . but she was young and naive and believed every lie my daughter told her. My daughter even TOLD me that she was manipulating her therapist and telling the therapist whatever she felt like, and even that she thought the therapist was afraid of her. That therapist also blamed me for most of my daughters problems, and told my daughter that she was sure i was autistic . . . so then my daughter would just respond to anything I said with "yeah, well thats cuz YOU're auTISTic". I saw a therapist briefly, when I was really losing it over our conflict, and he was semi-retired dad of 4 grown kids (all girls, I think) - he laughed and made it clear that he thought my daughter's therapist was clueless.

Finally we found another therapist, a woman in her 60s, from Germany. My daughter liked her, but she didnt take any crap. On my first (and only) visit, this therapist was able to see how my daughter was falsely accusing me. She made my daughter focus more on what she, my daughter, needed to do next. Of course, by then she was 17 and a half.

Sorry to throw all this on your thread, pretty completely OT by now, I guess. I think the point was I know how you feel . . . and I hope it gets better for you faster than it did for us. I started to feel like I was constantly afraid in my own house, before I came around to the point where I wasnt going to take crap from her any more.

Stella M
02-10-2011, 05:22 PM
Yep. It's tough. And I'm a clueless beginner in all this stuff. It never came up with my eldest daughter. Ever.

02-10-2011, 09:03 PM
Oh, see I have no idea how old your girls are . . .even if you did post it somewhere, i cant remember things like ages.

02-10-2011, 11:35 PM
I like Farrerwilliams advice!! Good stuff.
I hated high school, I shiver when I drive by my old high school.
2 months of the homework load and she will be crying to come home!! Right?

Stella M
02-11-2011, 12:13 AM
That's the plan!

02-12-2011, 08:48 AM
I have a fantastic daughter in her early 20's. She has always had her own agenda, but it was pretty ugly from the time she was about 12 to about 17 or 18.
For me, it wasn't easy to not take her jabs personally, but it was easy for me to realize that the only way she knew how to become herself was to be not me in very loud and dramatic ways. We had some pretty spectacular fights - including one on a nature walk with my MIL and fifteen or so of her acquaintances, all very well heeled, well mannered southern ladies, talk about mortifying. Even at our loudest I knew that she made good choices for herself, that she would figure things out and as much as I wished I could help her she had to find her own path.

I know you don't want her to go to school, and indeed, as her mother you know her and your family situation better than we ever will, but maybe you need to trust that she has made a good choice for herself at this time and let her go. Maybe you can ask the school to talk to her now to help her see what she might want to work on before she starts formally.

If going to school is the worst thing your dd ever does, count your blessings. Unschooling, liberal, pagan, localvore, off grid acquaintances are still reeling from the reality that their 19yo son rebelled by marrying a fundamentalist preacher's daughter and is desperately trying to become a policeman (which scares me because I can totally see this kid going on a power trip. I think the police see this too because they've turned him down).

Good luck. It's a crazy time but I do love to see my children blossom even when it takes it's toll on me.

02-12-2011, 11:00 AM
I have a fantastic daughter in her early 20's. She has always had her own agenda, but it was pretty ugly from the time she was about 12 to about 17 or 18.
TY - it helps to hear i'm not the only one and that it CAN end well! Honestly, I kept telling her it was normal for us to be fighting a lot, but her first therapist said "No, thats only normal if there is a close relationship there as a basis first!". OMG could this woman have been any more destructive? I guess the answer is yes - my husband and I went to one marriage counselor who was recommended by the school (on a sheet they gave us when we were looking for somone for my son). She was so bad - my husband admitted we'd better stop seeing her because he wasnt sure our marriage would survive one more visit.

02-12-2011, 02:05 PM
Your situation is tough. You know what the best situation is, but at the same time you want to respect your dd's choices.

I felt that way 3 years ago when we moved to where we live now. We left an awesome homeschooling community and friends to move (for my dh's job) to a not-so-awesome area. The kids were heartbroken and we were very lonely. They met all the kids on our street which were public schooled. Next thing, my kids were saying that they wanted to go to public school!
I knew they wouldn't like it, I knew it was a waste of their time, but at the same time, I knew that they had to try it and make their own opinion. The grass is always greener on the other side, until you get there!
We had many talks about it, and finally by the end of September we all agreed to give public school a try for one year.
One year was a long time, but we didn't want them to quit after just two weeks (which my 2 oldest were VERY ready to do!). We asked them to keep good grades and have a positive attitude, even if they hated it. I had to remind them that whole year that they were the ones that wanted to try school. They chose to go.
They were very relieved to come back to homeschooling at the end of the experiment.
Do I wish they had never gone? For sure!
Was that year a waste of time? yes. I shook my head so much that year over the low quality of education they were getting. The amount of wasted time watching movies (not educational ones), playing computer games, waiting for the teacher to deal with the difficult kids, etc...

Anyway, I don't know if your dd has ever gone to school. My kids want nothing to do with the system now. They know homeschooling is the best for them. Maybe your dd needs to experience it so she can see for herself..

Having said that, I also have a good friend that would not let her kids decide. I can see her point too, which is that children are not mature enough to make big decisions like this one.

I hope you will be able to have peace with whatever the decision ends up being.

Stella M
02-12-2011, 06:16 PM
Thanks. That's a good story to hear. No, dd has never been to school. She really wants a new adventure and she really wants to assert her 'difference' from the rest of us.

I decided that whilst I truly do loathe schools, I admire my dd's sense of adventure and courage to try new things. We had a long talk the other day about how we are on the same team, both working to help her meet her goals, and that even if we disagree about the details, we can move towards the big picture together. She knows I'm never going to turn into a supporter of schools but that I am a supporter of her. That image of us being on the same team really helped me decide on my priorities.

So I'm pretty sure she will be going to school next year for a minimum of 6 months, with conditions. I don't care so much about her grades. At this age, if she wastes a year academically, it isn't a big drama. But I do need to see that she is managing school physically and emotionally and that school adds to her happiness, not makes her life harder. I also need to see that she can go to school and still maintain good family relationships.

She's in for a big culture change. Part of me hopes she hates it and comes home at the end of six months or a year. Part of me hopes she thrives and is happy.

I feel content that we've reached a balance in doing the right thing...courtesy of the free therapy here, lol!! I'm glad though that the other two are happy at home. That's the silver lining in this for me - time to spend with my eldest dd and my boy, who have taken something of a back seat lately.

02-12-2011, 08:17 PM
What about consequences for your actions. She is too old for time outs but what about removing phone privileges, computer time, TV from room, yep unplug and carry out for 24 or 48 hours. Hormones are one small thing, but just plain rude and disrespectful is another.("attitude") If you don't set boundaries now and consequences at home and follow through don't cave even 1 minute. You haven't seen attitude yet. Just wait till she is 14-17. Failing at school and feeling stupid at school will be the least of your problems. You don't have to scream and demean a child just tell her what needs to be done and how and then what the consequences will be. Let her decide and follow through. It will not take long for her to decide consequences suck. Also make sure you are not over whelming her with to much school work at one time. maybe only one or two subjects a day for a while. You are seeing the consequences of your actions or lack of by her attitude. You are not doing her any favors by ignoring it.

02-12-2011, 08:36 PM
A friend's 13 year old daughter (who had always been homeschooled) wanted to go to PS and whined incessantly about going. My friend had her try it for 4 weeks at the end of the school year. She had this vision in her head of what it would be like, and it was not what she had imagined at all. She was bored out of her mind, tired of getting up super early to catch the bus, and sick of all the homework. When the 4 weeks were over she wanted to continue homeschooling.

Stella M
02-12-2011, 09:54 PM
Hmm. I'm bigger on natural consequences. She has plenty of boundaries at home. We've just been struggling to work out new ones. I guess what I was trying to say in my update was that the anger I was feeling towards her about school had created a hardness in our relationship that she was responding to by being full of 'attitude.' She isn't doing too much work :) Though Maths is all I'll really be pushing on this year.

Who knows ? She might hate school. She might like it. I just want to help her grow and I realised I care more about her than my philosophies about school.

02-12-2011, 10:11 PM
Melissa, I think your plan sounds great!

Stella M
02-13-2011, 02:14 AM
Thanks Cara :)

02-13-2011, 08:51 AM
@Melissa - I realised I care more about her than my philosophies about school.

Yes, yes, yes! I love that sentiment. Good luck, your hard work will be rewarded in the end (to sound like a bad fortune cookie).

02-13-2011, 10:19 AM
I just want to help her grow and I realised I care more about her than my philosophies about school.

I hope I can come to that kind of wisdom if my kids ever ask to go to school.

02-13-2011, 11:50 AM
Actually, when my daughter started really failing and hating high school, my husband was still not supportive of homeschooling. But I started reading the home school law, which is part of the compulsory education law. I saw that a child was not in violation of the compulsory attendance law if they were attending any school that gives grades (I think that was the wording), which would include the community college. I explained that to my husband and he said he would be ok with her quitting high school and attending community college instead. We did end up being able to work with the school so she was mostly in community college and still got a diploma.

But the point is, when your child is not a little kid, and they have a vision of what they want from life, and they want to work to get there - its not so hard to move to supporting their vision instead of your own. I mean, its a switch, but you know when its time.

Stella M
02-13-2011, 06:29 PM
What Cara said. Except I did a lot of kicking and screaming before the switch. As you all know, because I did it here :) All in the interests of community education of course.