Issues with 13 year old - Mothering Forums

Forum Jump: 
 
Thread Tools
#1 of 7 Old 01-02-2014, 03:10 PM - Thread Starter
 
lyla123's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2014
Posts: 3
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

My youngest child just turned 13, so she's in seventh grade.  Lately there have been a lot of issues with her and her academics and such.  She was tested in second grade and put into the gifted program, which at that point was a group of six kids who met with this wacky teacher and they talked and researched whatever they wanted.  It was amazing.  They could really do what they wanted, and the teacher was great about treating them like equals.  Once they decided to put on a sketch comedy show, but they researched and practiced the dialects of Australia, England, Scotland, South Africa, etc. as well as try to adopt the satirical eye that comedians on shows such as SNL took.  It was just great.  But that teacher retired, and since then the gifted program has flopped.  All they would do were "independent study" projects where they basically just had to do extra work at home.  The honors classes were huge, far too easy to test in to, and in all just moved at a normal pace and had very easy subject matter.  Nothing was done for her EALP in writing.  I tried to talk to the teachers every year, but there is only so much I can do.  In middle school, the honors classes have the same problem as well as the gifted class.  She loves all of the kids in the gifted group, but the thing's that they are doing are boring and tedious to most, if not all, of them.

 

So because of this she's pretty much lost interest in everything.  She's doing ballet at a pre-professional level, but she won't call it that because she doesn't want to dance professionally.  She enjoys it at the studio, I guess.  She does have a lot of friends, but she isn't very close with any of them on a personal level.  I don't know if she isn't getting enough exercise or something, because she's very restless and often says she "has an urge to punch something".  We're thinking of joining a boxing club or something.  It's not as though she's all dark and depressed, though.  She and her older sister act like idiots and make parodies and do stupid teen stuff.  She lives for comedy, like "The Office" and "Saturday Night Live".  She's told me that her latest gig is doing sketches in the locker room before and after gym class for that period's girls.  She's dead-set on writing for screen or television.  She writes, plays games, and all that. 

 

But she's just so bored.  Day in and day out, whether she's in school or not.  She tells me that class is basically a game to see just how much sarcastic wit she can give before the teachers get mad at her.  She's not the kid who already knows everything in math class, but she picks it up and doesn't require any repetition.  Once she spent five hours making a list of every human name she could think of because she couldn't think of anything better to do.  Now she infatuates herself with fictional realities like Middle Earth and the universe of Doctor Who, and I feel like she lives there.  She's more interested in fictional people than she is in her friends.  She's very, very good with people, almost to a manipulative level.  She can out on eight different faces in one day and talk her way into or out of anything.  She gets sent to her room every other day for being snarky.  I can see how her ease with people lets her identify easily with characters and integrate herself within the stories.  Her actual role model is Sherlock Holmes, for God's sake.  Minus the detached-sociopath part, she says.


A big problem is my husband or I can't homeschool her; it just won't work.  We can't relocate, since we have jobs and two other teenage children.  She wants to go to a boarding school but my husband and I don't want her to.  We don't think that's a good option for a thirteen year old.  She wants to become an extra in movies to get a sense of how the set works.  She says it's the only job a kid can have, acting, and she has experience in theater and she wants to go learn up on movies for when she writes and directs.  But again, that won't work.  The only time she's absolutely happy is when she's at summer camp, which for her isn't even an academic or selective camp.  It's this little co-ed camp at a boychoir school that she goes to, and she just loves everything about it.  We're thinking of maybe trying the Johns Hopkins CTY intensive studies programs this year.  She’s interested in the creative writing, cryptology, and humanities courses.  We really are just looking for things to keep her sane for the next seven years while she continues middle and high school.  School, summer, any programs.  We live within an hour of NYC, so that opens some doors.

 

Advice?  Solutions?  Similar problems?  I don't know; this could be a normal thing for gifted kids around this age.  If anyone knows of summer programs similar to CTY, that would be great.  Any help is appreciated. 

lyla123 is offline  
#2 of 7 Old 01-02-2014, 05:09 PM
 
Geofizz's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Running with the dingos!
Posts: 8,000
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2 Post(s)

Sing it. 

 

We're living something very similar.  I've got to head out (14 F and windy and I told my running partner I'd meet her?!?), but I'll reply soon.

Geofizz is offline  
#3 of 7 Old 01-02-2014, 10:37 PM
 
whatsnextmom's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Posts: 1,958
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 19 Post(s)

BTDT. My eldest went through a rough patch at 13,5 (she was a high school freshman.) She had a fantastic middle school education and was super excited when she got into the performing arts magnet high school (she's big into theatre... worked professionally since age 10.) However, the high school academics were atrocious. The first year she muddled through and insisted that the next would be better. We wanted to believe her. Thought maybe it was just "the age." Nope. Sophomore year she fell apart. She got both angry and depressed. Stopped doing work she thought ridiculous and her grades tanked. She started fighting against her impulse to run, to escape out the window, to steal the bathroom pass and just not come back (instead she'd take the bathroom pass and go slam doors.) She started pulling away from her friends, from us, from the activities she loved. But, she felt like a loser "quitting" and wouldn't leave the school. We ended up forcing her to change schools. She moved to a college/high school hybrid program and gained her sanity back. She's a Senior now and really happy. She started directing her own shows at 14 and is looking at double majoring with theatre being one of them. And yes, Dr. Who and Sherlock were her world during that time.... and she has a custom tardis dress she begged me to sew for her lol.

 

I will say that being an extra would probably kill your DD lol. It's pretty torturous. You spend countless hours waiting around and doing the same things over and over. I wouldn't recommend it. My DD did it once because a friends begged her to do it with her. DH went with her and ended up being used too. She never wanted to step foot on a film set again. But, like I said, she has worked as a professional actress in theatre for many years. THAT she absolutely loves even though she's pulled away from acting a bit an more into directing and writing. Problem is, 13 is a really hard time to get into the business. I would absolutely check out the offerings at local professional houses though. Some have youth groups and do some pretty interesting things. Check out local writing guilds for playwriting classes. 

 

I'm rambling. It is very normal for 13-year-olds to have struggles. It's normal for them to hate school even. My current gifted 13-year-old 8th grader is going through some stuff but in his case.. it's just 13-year-old stuff. It's up to you to figure out if what your DD is experiencing is her being 13 or if it's her being in a bad academic situation. If it's a bad situation and she's not coping well, my advice is to get your kid out. If it can't be fixed then bail. Don't count on outside activities fixing the 7 hours she has to spend in school 5 days a week. I know it's hard but there has to be a way. Look for charters, virtual schools, any sort of alternative. Who knows... maybe boarding school would be good if the alternative is her going nuts in her current school. Maybe you should consider her skipping 8th and going straight to 9th.


Married mom of two, DD 17 and DS 13.
whatsnextmom is online now  
#4 of 7 Old 01-03-2014, 07:22 AM
 
Geofizz's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Running with the dingos!
Posts: 8,000
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2 Post(s)

A couple of things:

 

1) Middle school sucks.  The secret to world peace, in my opinion, is to eliminate the 7th grade.  Wipe it off the face of the earth. 

2) Because so many middle schoolers can't see past their own navels, a lot of middle school education seems to be treading water.  Teachers have relatively low academic expectations, particularly since the average student is pretty much done with the content of elementary education of learning to read and write, but isn't yet to the cognitive stage where they can think and be introspective.  This leaves a gap where a lot of kids honestly do stagnate as their brain catches up to be ready for the next level.  For gifted kids who are likely already at that stage, there's a lack of much available as the age group is isolated from the high school-aged kids and their teachers. 

3) Middle school is a time to explore.  If she wants to try something different, by all means let her.  We tend to start things very low-key, though.  Not sure how being in the movies can be done low key, though.  ;)  Is there something in between that might satisfy?

 

What to do?

 

*I'd talk to the gifted coordinator in the school and express your concerns.  You are seeing apathy from your daughter (some of it is age appropriate, but make sure to make it clear that you have seen a sharp change in her behavior and attitude).  As the gifted coordinator to do the heavy lifting in discussing the matter with the other teachers. 

*Visit her doctor and get an evaluation.  Depression is a very real thing and needs to be treated.  At the very minimum, eliminate it as a cause of the issues, which can make your conversation with the gifted coordinator hold more weight.  If your insurance covers it, you might also want to look into a full evaluation to get a sense of her current levels as well as a better look at her internal life.

*Most definitely make use of summers.  We give our kids lots of down time in the summer to just be and not have to deal with masses of people making demands on them.  But we also make certain that at least a few weeks are spent with other gifted kids.  The goal is to give them an environment where other kids like them discuss the meaning of life, the insides of black holes, or whatever they're thinking about at the moment.  We tend to go for camps that hit a sweet spot between academic and totally free form, and the best ones so far have been activities that focus on a single topic in depth over a span of 2-3 weeks.  History camp, for instance, wasn't a camp for gifted kids, but the only middle schoolers going to such a camp are generally of a slightly different bent.  We've also found that if camps require that the child write a paragraph about why they want to go to the camp, it's a sufficient gate keeper such that the kids who are there want to me there.  Last summer DD went to two space camps, one that required that paragraph and one that didn't.  The one that required the paragraph was 10000 times better.

Geofizz is offline  
#5 of 7 Old 01-03-2014, 09:45 AM
 
oaksie68's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Valley of the Sun, AZ
Posts: 172
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by whatsnextmom View Post


I'm rambling. It is very normal for 13-year-olds to have struggles. It's normal for them to hate school even. My current gifted 13-year-old 8th grader is going through some stuff but in his case.. it's just 13-year-old stuff. It's up to you to figure out if what your DD is experiencing is her being 13 or if it's her being in a bad academic situation. If it's a bad situation and she's not coping well, my advice is to get your kid out. If it can't be fixed then bail. Don't count on outside activities fixing the 7 hours she has to spend in school 5 days a week. I know it's hard but there has to be a way. Look for charters, virtual schools, any sort of alternative. Who knows... maybe boarding school would be good if the alternative is her going nuts in her current school. Maybe you should consider her skipping 8th and going straight to 9th.

nod.gif to the bolded above. In my experience with my DD, sure some of it is/was normal 13 year old stuff (eye rolling, wanting to spend more time with friends than me, etc.), but some was absolutely her telling us that her school situation was NOT meeting her needs - in ways that she has shown us for YEARS (extreme defiance at home and acting down right angry/miserable, to name a couple). So we moved her to a more challenging STEM MS that she had maxed out by the end of 7th grade (and honestly wasn't extremely challenged there either, but had one or two classes she lived for, and made some great friendships with kids just like her).

So when we were unable to come up with an academic plan that could get her some challenge (couldn't go to the HS for just Physics), her MS principal suggested skipping 8th to go to the specialty HS that my DD was going to go anyway. (Check out my old threads on the topic if you want the full scoop on our journey)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Geofizz View Post

A couple of things:

1) Middle school sucks.  The secret to world peace, in my opinion, is to eliminate the 7th grade.  Wipe it off the face of the earth. 
2) Because so many middle schoolers can't see past their own navels, a lot of middle school education seems to be treading water.  Teachers have relatively low academic expectations, particularly since the average student is pretty much done with the content of elementary education of learning to read and write, but isn't yet to the cognitive stage where they can think and be introspective.  This leaves a gap where a lot of kids honestly do stagnate as their brain catches up to be ready for the next level.  For gifted kids who are likely already at that stage, there's a lack of much available as the age group is isolated from the high school-aged kids and their teachers. 3) Middle school is a time to explore.  If she wants to try something different, by all means let her.  We tend to start things very low-key, though.  Not sure how being in the movies can be done low key, though.  wink1.gif  Is there something in between that might satisfy?

What to do?

*I'd talk to the gifted coordinator in the school and express your concerns. You are seeing apathy from your daughter (some of it is age appropriate, but make sure to make it clear that you have seen a sharp change in her behavior and attitude). As the gifted coordinator to do the heavy lifting in discussing the matter with the other teachers.
*Visit her doctor and get an evaluation.  Depression is a very real thing and needs to be treated.  At the very minimum, eliminate it as a cause of the issues, which can make your conversation with the gifted coordinator hold more weight.  If your insurance covers it, you might also want to look into a full evaluation to get a sense of her current levels as well as a better look at her internal life.
*Most definitely make use of summers.  We give our kids lots of down time in the summer to just be and not have to deal with masses of people making demands on them.  But we also make certain that at least a few weeks are spent with other gifted kids.  The goal is to give them an environment where other kids like them discuss the meaning of life, the insides of black holes, or whatever they're thinking about at the moment.  We tend to go for camps that hit a sweet spot between academic and totally free form, and the best ones so far have been activities that focus on a single topic in depth over a span of 2-3 weeks.  History camp, for instance, wasn't a camp for gifted kids, but the only middle schoolers going to such a camp are generally of a slightly different bent.  We've also found that if camps require that the child write a paragraph about why they want to go to the camp, it's a sufficient gate keeper such that the kids who are there want to me there.  Last summer DD went to two space camps, one that required that paragraph and one that didn't.  The one that required the paragraph was 10000 times better.

nod.gif again to the bolded. At DD's MS last year, we worked with the gifted liaison at the school to work with the science teacher who didn't know how to challenge DD in class. When that didn't yield any results, we took it to the principal, who dealt with the issue swiftly and moved my daughter up to 8th grade science. If she hadn't been willing to work with us somewhat "outside the box", the next step would have been to take it to her district's Director of Gifted Services.

As the year came to a close, there wasn't much the principal could do to make the situation right for DD at the MS, so she made her suggestion, involved the Director, and greased the wheels to get DD into HS in short order. I know that we were pretty fortunate for our situation to go so smoothly; I mention ours so you know it can be done, and there are people within the school system who can help you figure it out. If not, find a place that can, because, these people and these schools do exist.

Becky, mom to two - DD ('00) and DS ('08)
oaksie68 is online now  
#6 of 7 Old 01-03-2014, 07:46 PM - Thread Starter
 
lyla123's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2014
Posts: 3
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

Thanks all for the advice.  We are looking into going straight to high school next year, since that opens a lot more doors to her.  There's an option for Juniors and Seniors to be taken to a nearby university for lectures and classes, so maybe a class on philosophy or something interesting would benefit her. 

Quote:
 She started directing her own shows at 14 and is looking at double majoring with theatre being one of them.

 

This sounds like something my DD would love.  How did your DD first get into writing/directing?  We've looked and looked but can't find a script writing or directing class nearby.  Is there a camp or summer class you'd recommend?  One of my old friends from high school is an accomplished Hollywood screenwriter, so I will probably put him in contact with her.  What did your DD do to get into it?  I'm thinking maybe mine could help with the middle school shows once she moves to high school.

 

I'm wondering what your thoughts are on boarding for high school, whenever that may be.  There aren't any other schools in our area besides the public schools and then this prep school, but the prep school doesn't seem like a good fit.  The standards aren't too high, so it's pretty much a school of wealthy kids.  Since there isn't any other option, I'm just curious on what you think.  I want her to be happy and enjoy her education, but I'm not sure I want my child to be living away from us the last four years of her childhood.  It's a tough decision.

lyla123 is offline  
#7 of 7 Old 01-03-2014, 10:53 PM
 
whatsnextmom's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Posts: 1,958
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 19 Post(s)

DD started by directing readings with friends that turned into staged readings... just for fun. She then started adapting Shakespeare for young audiences out of frustration due to lack of Shakespeare opportunities. She interned at a small company at 15 and was then was asked to direct one of her adaptions as part of a summer educational program. She's currently directing a student workshop show with her mentor's new company. These are small, bare-bone productions mind you. Those early readings were often just to family of participants lol. However, it was a good experience to grow with. She's got some advantages though. We live in a big theatre town not only for professional and community theatre but really big youth theatre town. She wasn't able to find an actual directing program but she found a teen group that write and perform a 30 minute touring show every year for local elementaries. Little programs like that put the power in kids hands which is what you want. She connected with the larger professional theatres and been involved in all sorts of things.. Basically, she's pieced together experiences from several sources which is what you need to do when the exact program you want doesn't exist. Start small... readings are great... a chance to explore text without needing to stress about performance spaces and such. We're on the opposite coast from you so can't really recommend exact summer programs. In middle school, she always did productions with her youth theatre. In high school, there were more opportunities.

 

Boarding school is something I really no little about. I think it's interesting that's she's asked for that. Is there a reason it came to mind? Is there one she's looking at? I can only advise to really look at the options... especially ones she's bringing to the table. What she needs is flexibility and likely an interactive classroom experience. Your DD sounds a lot like mine and I know mine needs dialogue, debate, verbal/physical engagement. She needs a socratic learning style and a flexible curriculum. If a boarding school is the only place that offers it for your DD then maybe. I will say that personally, I don't think my kids would have done well. They were/will be in high school at 13 and neither were/are in the position to be living from us at that age. However, I look at DD now at 16 and I can see it.


Married mom of two, DD 17 and DS 13.
whatsnextmom is online now  
Reply

Quick Reply
Message:
Drag and Drop File Upload
Drag files here to attach!
Upload Progress: 0
Options

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the Mothering Forums forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.
User Name:
If you do not want to register, fill this field only and the name will be used as user name for your post.
Password
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.
Password:
Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.
Email Address:

Log-in

Human Verification

In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.



User Tag List

Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page


Forum Jump: 

Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are Off