Daughter wants to "jump ship" - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 23 Old 08-24-2014, 07:32 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Daughter wants to "jump ship"

Hi guys-
So, my teenage daughter who will soon be 16, has had an offer to stay with my best friend for a few months, possibly longer. My best friend has been like an aunt to her since she was small, but I am concerned this will not be the best situation for my daughter.
My daughter is gifted but has some issues with anxiety, motivation, depression, that have not been treated, partly because we have only just now admitted that those might be the case. She has become increasingly isolated over the past couple years, partly because of truancy issues that have now resolved.
We moved to a new town where she was able to enroll in community college and her independence and attendance there were great, she said she loved her professors and loved the level of education it was offering her (unlike before when she was bored). She takes the public bus and has had a level of independence she hasn't had before. She's also been taking the bus to see her friends in our old town.

My best friend lives 2 hours away in the boonies. She works in the city and is gone 12 hours a day, but will be on maternity leave during this autumn. Her husband works a swing-shift schedule and their toddler is in daycare. So my daughter would have the benefit of my best friend's help and company when she's not dealing with the newborn.

However, she would not have independence or access to other people (like her friends), or proximity to other things she likes like cafes and shopping.
Also, due to locale, she would be limited to online classes, which weren't that great for her in the past.
My daughter failed her last two quarters, due to organizational oversights on her part, and also writer's block. Despite her enjoyment of the level and challenge of her educational environment, she lacked the study skills to carry it through with high grades. She was very shocked and disappointed to realize she had mis-read the syllabus and had skipped over major portions of the work. (However due to insistence on her independence, she has not allowed me to monitor her work.)

The last time she stayed at my friend's house, she did great on her homework because she was able to work without distraction. My friend worked fulltime and her husband kept busy with their infant, even though my daughter studied in the infant playroom, he apparently had her in the den most of the time.

As far as our home being distracting, my husband has been at home since recovering from cancer, since he works at home as an artist and is also a full-time student. However, we do argue a few times a week. Also our son is a very active toddler.

I am concerned that my daughter would be trading in some things which are beneficial for her-- not to mention the school near us has better teachers and is smaller than the one near my friend, and there would also be the rigamarole of transferring her there, plus the fact that she would be limited to online classes-- for something that is different, but not better. My friend is a good influence on her, she is a successful, calm person. But she will be dealing with a newborn and I am not sure that would be as peaceful as my daughter thinks it would be.

I have made new rules for my husband that I want him to keep "work hours" and not just be at home puttering around all day being grouchy.

I also made deal with my daughter some months ago that if we stay in the town where we are (while getting ready for a big move to the city), that she would get an Iphone, to help her feel more connected to the world.

I believe she is tempted to accept my friend's offer because she believes she will do well there, and therefore externalize her strength by attributing it to the environment. I believe if she were to step up her CAREFULNESS in approaching her organization, and also attempt to work on her emotional issues that are causing her motivational blocks, that she will ultimately be MORE successful because she would be building skills and strength than if she simply shifts temporarily to a new environment.

I am also concerned that she will decide, after having some success in her new abode, that she doesn't want to come back, and to be honest, I am not ready to lose her or give up on her, or give up on our family.

Legally I have 100% decision-making power, my daughter has no financial independence yet and has no legal reason such as abuse to leave our home. However, I am not used to making decisions that run contrary to her wishes, and although I think it is better if she stays with us, and asked her to be open-minded when discussing it with me, she has been very stubborn that she wants to go.

Anybody's 2 cents would be appreciated.

Thanks...

-Serene
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#2 of 23 Old 08-24-2014, 08:59 PM
 
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She's sixteen. If you don't think she should do this, tell her, and tell her why. But think through what you say a lot first.

For example, you say you think your daughter is tempted to stay with her aunt because she thinks she'll do well there. That's a fantastic reason to do it! It's great that she can spot a situation that is likely to function well for her.

You describe a really chaotic household, with a ton going on. Sometimes a step away from a situation can really help in thinking it through and processing feelings.

You say you aren't ready to give up on your family by letting your daughter move away. I don't think letting her move would be giving up on her or family. Children are supposed to grow up and move out and control their own lives. They're still family. The connection can remain strong. Sixteen may be too young to go, but I wouldn't use the "giving up" stuff on your teenager.

You mention in passing that your husband is recovering from cancer, and that seems to be one of several elephants in the room. Have your children received any counseling surrounding their father's illness? Have any of his treatments affected his moods or cognitive ability? When did all this happen - did the cancer diagnosis and treatment overlap at all with the quarters your daughter failed? How have roles and responsibilities in your household shifted since your husband's diagnosis? How have you addressed your own emotional needs during this time? Might your daughter genuinely need some time away from all this to regroup?

I don't know whether it's a good idea for your daughter to go live with her aunt right now. The isolation and the educational situation are big issues. However, it's possible that she really needs some changes in order to cope with major stresses. Whatever you decide, I think you have to commit to working with her to help her do that.
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#3 of 23 Old 08-25-2014, 07:14 AM
 
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Doesn't sound like a good plan to me. You've already outlined how the move is just trading one set of problems for another set. I understand her desire to flee and to look externally for causes of the failure but it's not going to solve her problems.

Get her some counselling. Stop making her a witness to your fights with DH. Maybe sign her up for only one class this next quarter. Go through the syllabus with her. Plot down the due dates on a calendar. Set-up digital reminders through the computer or phone. She may not like your involvement but since she's failing, she has no case for shutting you out.

If she had outgrown her opportunities locally and the friend's home had MORE to offer, perhaps the move would be beneficial. If she were in an abusive home, OK. This just seems like running away and blaming her environment for issues that are actually internal.

Married mom of two, DD 17 and DS 13.
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#4 of 23 Old 08-25-2014, 08:29 AM
 
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I'm resisting characterizing this as the daughter in the situation running away from her own problems.

Serious parental illness can be really hard on the patient's family, particularly on teenagers, who are old enough to be handed chores, but not old enough to control any facet of the situation. Imagine being able to do almost everything yourself, and being expected to do a lot, but being incapable of doing much of anything to actually affect your situation. She can watch her brother or cook a meal, but she can't drive to the hospital or pay rent. It's a hard spot to be in. Some distance from that problem might really help.

The OP also says that the family has moved within the past year or two and is planning to move again next year. That is also a lot for a teen to handle.

Maybe she'd really benefit from spending a semester someplace a little more stable.
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#5 of 23 Old 08-25-2014, 09:58 AM
 
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I'm tempted to side with MeepyCat. Your dd knows pretty well what she's getting in for, since she has stayed there before, and believes that at this point in her life it will offer the support and structure that she needs to succeed. Sure, ultimately you want her to deal with the deficits in her executive function skills with her mental health issues, but I think that part of dealing with those issues is to have the self-awareness to keep oneself in situations and environments that offer the right structure.

You say she didn't do too well with online classes in the past and I agree that could be looked upon as a strike against this arrangement. But you also say that she failed her last two quarters at community college, which doesn't exactly portray that option as ensuring success. While the remoteness of your friend's home could be viewed as a point against it, I also think that the chaos, flux and negative emotional energy that it sounds like she's perceiving in your home are difficult for many kids to cope with at the best of times.

I have two girls (both gifted, both with some anxiety, one with some depression) whom I have moved partly away from home at 15. In eldest dd's case, she did her schooling mostly remotely / online whether from home or elsewhere, and spent five days twice a month living with some adult friends of ours 600 miles away to get some music training. Then in her final year of high school she lived alone full-time across the country, doing all her schooling remotely. Although she had previously been rather quirky, stubborn, socially anxious and apparently very dependent on parental support, she insisted she was ready for these opportunities and absolutely grew into herself and coped really well. In my middle dd's case, she'll be moving next week to live in an apartment in a small city 90 minutes away and attend the high school there during the week (home most weekends). Obviously I can't say yet how she's done, but I'm convinced that when bright teenaged kids tell you they have thought things through thoroughly, understand the issues and still believe this is the best option for them, it's best to trust that they're right. Partly because they sometimes have more self-awareness than we give them credit for, but mostly maybe because they want to be right, so they'll work hard to make it so. (And, by contrast, I would worry that if their choices are over-ruled, they would subconsciously or consciously work hard to make it obvious that this was a choice destined to fail.)

Another thought: My kids have always been much more amenable to advice, support and oversight from other adults than they have from me. Is it possible that your friend might be able to provide support for her writers' block, motivational issues and organizational challenges, support and oversight that she's clearly unwilling to accept from you? That would be a big plus for me, if they had that kind of relationship.

Your choice of title for this thread is interesting. I think it speaks to the fear that you voiced in your post: that she is "giving up on the family" and that you will "lose her" if she succeeds in this new environment. I would encourage you to frame it differently, because we should all want success for our kids even if it takes some unconventional choices, and I have seen my kid succeed by living elsewhere and feel no less a part of our family as a result. In fact if anything her success and independence allowed her to feel more comfortable in her skin and rejoin our family as a happier more secure person, more charitable in her relationships with the rest of us, more appreciative of us.

Good luck as you weigh the options.

Miranda

Mountain mama to two great kids and two great grown-ups
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#6 of 23 Old 08-25-2014, 10:41 AM
 
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On the education thing - would she really be limited to online classes only, or would it be possible to enroll her at a local public school? That might address the isolation factor. Whether it's educationally appropriate is a question I can't answer.
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#7 of 23 Old 08-25-2014, 12:21 PM
 
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Moving to a friend's home in a remote area does not provide her with counselling for the depression. It does not provide her with organizational skills she needs to get through school. It doesn't even provide a less distracting environment considering that infant will be a toddler shortly. If the friend's house offered those things, I wouldn't think twice about the move.

Yes, parental illness effects things. We generally see kids staying close to home as oppose to further but sure, it hits kids differently. My best friend's child recently gave up going to the university to stay close and attend community college and spend time with dad. She's getting help for depression as well.

I totally agree, sometimes, getting away is important. We're in the process of trying to convince my SIL and BIL to move their gifted 24-year-old into a different environment... a group home of some sort for mental instability would be best. She's made two attempts on her life this year alone prevented only by the discovery and 911 call from another. Their home is a train wreck of mental illness, alcoholism and unemployment. That girl has no chance in that environment. I totally get it. I also have personally been through being a gifted child hit with failure in college due to not having any sort of study skills. My own reaction was to run and it took a couple years to understand that it wasn't environmental... I had issues that only I could fix. Unfortunately, a lot of damage happened those two years that took a long time to repair.

Personally, I would make sure everything else has been tried in tandem of professional help before I moved my kid out. Perhaps the OP is at that point but since the depression is only recently being recognized, seems like getting some help is a better option than moving her away.

Married mom of two, DD 17 and DS 13.
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#8 of 23 Old 08-25-2014, 12:50 PM
 
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A single toddler's worth of distraction might be no big deal compared to the toddler + parental relationship tension + impending move situation at home. Whatever it will take for this teen to build organizational skills, it hasn't happened at home yet. Maybe that's a question of maturity (we are talking about a sixteen year-old), maybe it's something else. You can build organizational skills anywhere. You can also receive counseling in a wide variety of places.

I'm absolutely opposed to sending children and teens away when the going gets tough, but I don't object to granting their requests to go.

I really don't know what's right for this person. I just think that this idea deserves careful examination and a fair hearing.
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#9 of 23 Old 08-25-2014, 02:28 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by moominmamma View Post
I'm tempted to side with MeepyCat. Your dd knows pretty well what she's getting in for, since she has stayed there before, and believes that at this point in her life it will offer the support and structure that she needs to succeed. Sure, ultimately you want her to deal with the deficits in her executive function skills with her mental health issues, but I think that part of dealing with those issues is to have the self-awareness to keep oneself in situations and environments that offer the right structure.

You say she didn't do too well with online classes in the past and I agree that could be looked upon as a strike against this arrangement. But you also say that she failed her last two quarters at community college, which doesn't exactly portray that option as ensuring success. While the remoteness of your friend's home could be viewed as a point against it, I also think that the chaos, flux and negative emotional energy that it sounds like she's perceiving in your home are difficult for many kids to cope with at the best of times.

I have two girls (both gifted, both with some anxiety, one with some depression) whom I have moved partly away from home at 15. In eldest dd's case, she did her schooling mostly remotely / online whether from home or elsewhere, and spent five days twice a month living with some adult friends of ours 600 miles away to get some music training. Then in her final year of high school she lived alone full-time across the country, doing all her schooling remotely. Although she had previously been rather quirky, stubborn, socially anxious and apparently very dependent on parental support, she insisted she was ready for these opportunities and absolutely grew into herself and coped really well. In my middle dd's case, she'll be moving next week to live in an apartment in a small city 90 minutes away and attend the high school there during the week (home most weekends). Obviously I can't say yet how she's done, but I'm convinced that when bright teenaged kids tell you they have thought things through thoroughly, understand the issues and still believe this is the best option for them, it's best to trust that they're right. Partly because they sometimes have more self-awareness than we give them credit for, but mostly maybe because they want to be right, so they'll work hard to make it so. (And, by contrast, I would worry that if their choices are over-ruled, they would subconsciously or consciously work hard to make it obvious that this was a choice destined to fail.)

Another thought: My kids have always been much more amenable to advice, support and oversight from other adults than they have from me. Is it possible that your friend might be able to provide support for her writers' block, motivational issues and organizational challenges, support and oversight that she's clearly unwilling to accept from you? That would be a big plus for me, if they had that kind of relationship.

Your choice of title for this thread is interesting. I think it speaks to the fear that you voiced in your post: that she is "giving up on the family" and that you will "lose her" if she succeeds in this new environment. I would encourage you to frame it differently, because we should all want success for our kids even if it takes some unconventional choices, and I have seen my kid succeed by living elsewhere and feel no less a part of our family as a result. In fact if anything her success and independence allowed her to feel more comfortable in her skin and rejoin our family as a happier more secure person, more charitable in her relationships with the rest of us, more appreciative of us.

Good luck as you weigh the options.

Miranda
Very interesting psychology you're bringing up, thanks for sharing your personal experiences with daughters who seem somewhat similar!
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#10 of 23 Old 08-25-2014, 02:31 PM - Thread Starter
 
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On the education thing - would she really be limited to online classes only, or would it be possible to enroll her at a local public school? That might address the isolation factor. Whether it's educationally appropriate is a question I can't answer.
She's totally against going back to High School! We had her going to one of the best high schools in the country last year and she still hated it... she really likes the community college environment better.

My friends live an hour drive from the CC, with no buslines... we are a quick busride away...
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#11 of 23 Old 08-25-2014, 02:41 PM - Thread Starter
 
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She's sixteen. If you don't think she should do this, tell her, and tell her why. But think through what you say a lot first.

For example, you say you think your daughter is tempted to stay with her aunt because she thinks she'll do well there. That's a fantastic reason to do it! It's great that she can spot a situation that is likely to function well for her.

You describe a really chaotic household, with a ton going on. Sometimes a step away from a situation can really help in thinking it through and processing feelings.

You say you aren't ready to give up on your family by letting your daughter move away. I don't think letting her move would be giving up on her or family. Children are supposed to grow up and move out and control their own lives. They're still family. The connection can remain strong. Sixteen may be too young to go, but I wouldn't use the "giving up" stuff on your teenager.

You mention in passing that your husband is recovering from cancer, and that seems to be one of several elephants in the room. Have your children received any counseling surrounding their father's illness? Have any of his treatments affected his moods or cognitive ability? When did all this happen - did the cancer diagnosis and treatment overlap at all with the quarters your daughter failed? How have roles and responsibilities in your household shifted since your husband's diagnosis? How have you addressed your own emotional needs during this time? Might your daughter genuinely need some time away from all this to regroup?

I don't know whether it's a good idea for your daughter to go live with her aunt right now. The isolation and the educational situation are big issues. However, it's possible that she really needs some changes in order to cope with major stresses. Whatever you decide, I think you have to commit to working with her to help her do that.
One thing to mention also, is that we would be 2 1/2 drive away, we would not be able to afford to drive to see her every week, and my friends having two children under two and with the dad working 2 1/2 hours away as well, would be difficult to ask them to drive her to see us.

I understand that she will probably have success in their home academically, despite the distractions of their toddler and newborn, because she would be totally isolated and in a somewhat quiet place.
I don't think their home is more stable, they moved recently and the husband drinks and is into guns. (He is mostly responsible however). I think it would only be a good situation for the time that my friend is on maternity leave, and the extra needs my daughter has are not ones I would want to burden her with, since her maternity leave is so short!

We moved away from our former town partly because it lacked educational opportunities for our daughter. During my husband's illness she began to be anorexic and had issues with truancy, but she has recovered 100% from those things. I have seen her grow more and more responsible over the past two years. She babysits her little brother for half an hour a day and cleans up after herself. She started being organized about her room, her laundry and her homework, she just needs to go the extra mile.

Anyhow, I appreciate everyone offering their two cents. I am thinking this over carefully and I wish I could give her my blessing, but I am not convinced it's better. I want her to build strength. I am also protective of her regarding the influence of both my friend's husband and also my husband. My husband is going to counseling for the past four months and his general behavior has improved, he has definitely had some cognitive issues from chemo that cause him frustration.

I went to my aunt's house for a week when I was fifteen and it was great, but then when I decided to move out and go live with her when I was 17 it didn't turn out as well as I hoped, it put a lot of strain on our relationship and her expectations of me made my workload at school almost impossible to bear. It is different to live with people for months, rather than visit for a week or two.

Also I want my daughter to have a chance to build relationships with teachers because she is a very bright student and she needs also to get some recommendations for when she's applying to scholarships. Taking all online classes, I believe it's harder to make an impression.

Anyhow... thanks for the thoughtful responses everyone.
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#12 of 23 Old 08-25-2014, 02:43 PM - Thread Starter
 
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P.S. I'm aware I'm being emotional about this issue, thus my title "jump ship"-
however I am trying to be logical nonetheless!
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#13 of 23 Old 08-25-2014, 02:47 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Also I should mention our son is a very nice and calm boy, who doesn't have temper tantrums, he's just EXTREMELY curious and active!

My friend's daughter is six months younger and is very dreamy and quiet, but her father has an authoritarian parenting style so if she ever does one little thing he doesn't like, he is very firm with her and she ends up screaming and then getting "removed" from the room.

I have no idea what the newborn's like because he was just born yesterday, but so far he seems pretty calm!
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#14 of 23 Old 08-25-2014, 02:48 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Also sorry, I am just getting used to posting, sorry if I did it wrong and over-quoted people!
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#15 of 23 Old 08-25-2014, 04:34 PM
 
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If you did let her go, how long would she have to stay?

I honestly have a hard time imagining anyone wanting to stay in that situation for long. Extremely isolated with 2 children under 2 and an authoritarian dad with guns??? Especially for a teen with a history of mental health issues.

Although I can see letting a 16 year old make a choice like this, I don't see this as a good option. At all.

I think my plan would be to sit down with her and consider other options, including what you can do to tweak her current situation so it is more tolerable to her, or uncover a third option that you guys don't currently realize she has.

Obviously, she is very, very unhappy with her life to consider this. I would start from there and really listen and brain storm.

In the end, I think I would let her make her own decision, but work to keep communication open and the relationship working so that when she knew she was ready to come back, she wouldn't let ego get in the way. I wouldn't want her to see choosing being with her family as "loosing" a power struggle, or admitting to being wrong.

but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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#16 of 23 Old 08-26-2014, 06:18 AM
 
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Honestly OP I can't see how you cannot comply with your dd's wishes.

She sounds deeply unhappy and that is a huge red flag. Here is a gifted child who loves CC and is not doing too well.

I am sorry if.I missed it, but u didn't say how her depression is being treated. Is she seeing a therapist? Could you talk to the therapist.

I feel its very important your dd go stay with your friend. She has been through a lot and she needs a break. Why can't you have a plan set up?

Your dd takes a break and stays with the other family for a couple of months. Perhaps she takes a semesters break from school. Perhaps you dd is unable to see the negatives in your friend's situation. Let her experience that to find out.

Jump ship? Maybe. Maybe not. That is in the future and has no bearing on this situation NOW.

Your own home situation does not seem any better than ur friends.

I see this as your dd wanting change. She needs a coping mechanism. She has been thru a LOT. A parents illness is a major life event. It sounds like ur husband is dealing with his own stuff and you asking him to change his ways is not enough. Sounds like he needs therapy enough.

Your dd needs a change. Whether that is your friends place, or taking a break from college or doing something she is very passionate about is extremely important.

Something majorly needs to change. It is EXTREMELY hard to cope with a situation while you are living in it.

I would say let your dd go for now. Skype her and stay in touch with her. Stay in close contact with your friend. Who knows. Perhaps your dd might enjoy the isolation for a bit.

And if after all this ur dd jumps ship AND she is doing better wouldn't that be just right.

However I am disappointed with this thread. I was hoping you would write 'how can I let my dd go and miss her therapists appt.'

My dd's therapist told us sometimes we as parents need to make a change just so our children know we are trying. I have a dd in a similar situation as yours. We are homeschooling her plus she is involved in a bunch of activities she is passionate about and enjoying. Some of them are stuff I have forced her in. Now one of them she is passionate about and another she gave up.

Please see this wanting to move to friends as. cry for help. The point here is not that she has to go to your friends. Perhaps less rigorous schooling and some fun classes including a workout. Is she volunteering?

Does she have a life outside her family? Does she have good friends?
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#17 of 23 Old 08-26-2014, 08:06 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Everyone seems to see this situation from such different points of view~ it's hard to know how to respond.

First of all, my daughter tests as profoundly gifted, she has always scooted by in school and when she was homeschooled by acing tests and essays, she always had excellent memory and retention and has seldom had to "work" at anything, and so she has found herself flummoxed by the sudden need for study skills.
That doesn't have anything to do with her emotional state in my opinion, but a simple need to learn study skills. She is currently signed up to take a study skills class at her current c.c. this fall, which I think will prove helpful.

Also, my husband is not her father, or parental figure. He's more like an uncle to her. We got married two 1/2 years ago when she was 13 1/2 and we have been dating 5 years now, but they chose not to have a parent-child relationship. She has always kept herself pretty independent from him, although he does get on her case about cleaning up after herself, which hasn't been an issue the past year. His illness mostly affected her because I was pregnant at the time and did not give her as much attention as I normally have. I think her anorexia at the time (which started out as a fad with other school girls and was short-lived) has been helped by his healthy attitudes about food and healthy food in particular. The main way that I feel that has affected her is simply by having him around and her little brother around, that she feels left out sometimes, because she was used to having me all to herself, even though I try to include her. Little things such as that my husband cooks meat, when she and I were always vegetarian, create a feeling of "otherness"... Although this would be the same at my friend's house, since they are ALL about meat over there.

Why does my homelife sound bad? My husband and I argue a few times a week, which seldom happens in my daughter's presence. We live in a very creative, musical, artistic household and eat organic mostly vegetarian food. We support our daughter's interests and buy her tools to use in her hobbies, which sometimes lie neglected in her room, but she has them.

My daughter is an introvert and does not wish to be involved in activities. She quit the violin after having a violin lesson in L.A. with a teacher her father had picked out for her, who criticized her. This has been a sad thorn in my side but I don't feel I am in a position to force her to take it up again. She taught herself piano and music composition, though she has given up music production. She has given up most of her hobbies since starting C.C., other than watching K-pop videos and K-dramas, which she is obsessed with. She claims the workload is too much for her to continue her hobbies.
She hangs out with friends 3 out of 4 weekends a month, and they go to the city and go shopping and go to cafes etc. Since attending a gifted program at a university this summer, she's made a lot more friends, and they keep in touch via text and email every day, so she is happier in that regard.

The only thing I have successfully forced her to do is watch her brother and read him stories for half an hour a day, though sometimes it is 20 minutes. They enjoy each other's company so she hasn't minded me insisting on it.

At my friend's house she would be stripped of all independence and would be left to only work on schoolwork. She would probably be successful because she wouldn't have anything else to do but her homework... Also even though my friend's husband is a drinker who likes guns and hunting, he is a very charming person and doesn't hesitate to get on my daughter's case about her responsibilities, which I think she likes in a way.

Why does everyone have such differing opinions about what would be best for her?

I would like for her to go to counseling, go to the dentist to get a tooth fixed which is bothering her, have at least one activity such as dance that she enjoys, and I would not like for her to be so isolated to have the experience of academic success. I would like for her to volunteer and have encouraged her to get involved with first graders at the local school. I am a nag, with mixed success.

My friends would not be able to provide any extra appointments for her, since they live so far away from things and will be very busy with their newborn. She would not be able to volunteer very easily at their remote location, though she could get some experience helping with young babies if they would allow her to help.

No one has mentioned the newborn as a factor, but that is one of the main reasons why I hesitate to let my daughter go- I know newborns' temperaments are unpredictable, and even the sleepy ones often wake up with colic at around 3 weeks. I wouldn't want my daughter to have to deal with my friends when they are sleep-deprived or burden my friends during this time, or have my daughter be distracted by that since she has already been through having a newborn around once in the past two years. Also since my friend works fulltime, however, she is only going to be home for these first 3 months, to give my daughter some support (if she chooses to take any STEM classes, since my friend has a math bent, although I wasn't too bad at math myself, I'm definitely not as good as my friend would be at tutoring her.)

After talking with my daughter today, I feel more open to her going, mostly because she has chosen it has her wish, but I still feel like it is not the best in my heart of hearts. I promised to her that I would consider it, but I feel disappointed that she did not more fully consider staying with me at home, and look for ways to improve her life. I feel that once she was success there, that she would attribute it to her environment, rather than attribute it to herself and her own hard work, and that she will be afraid to come back home.

As for anyone being disappointed in this thread, I would remind you that despite my detailed descriptions, you do not know any of the characters in this real-life story, and therefore cannot actually predict with veracity what would be the most judicious path. Obviously a thriving young girl is the best outcome, but what way is the best path for her? I was asking for advice, in hopes that I could uncover a perspective I had not already considered, which some have given. Thank you for that.
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#18 of 23 Old 08-27-2014, 08:42 AM
 
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Serenimago, at this point, what I am is confused.

There are a ton of big issues that you mention here, but then you write them off almost immediately. Your daughter's anorexia was "just a fad", and she's over it, your husband totally helped with that... But your husband's cancer shouldn't have affected your daughter much because he's more of an uncle to her than a dad. You mention fighting your arguments with your husband when you describe your living situation, but then you wonder why we think it's an issue. It's like you're trying to solve a mystery by, first, explaining why everyone should disregard all the clues.

It's my opinion that, when a teen is showing major signs of depression (like sitting around mostly watching tv, aside from 20-30 minutes of reading stories to her baby brother), and flailing academically, action of some kind must be taken.

In your daughter's case, I think the first step should be for you to get her in to see a dentist. It would be great if she'd be involved, because then she could learn valuable skills like how to look these professionals up, and what to consider when picking one, but if she's not? Oh well. You're her mom, she needs her teeth looked at.

After that, I'd look at therapy in much the same way. She needs therapy, she can be involved in finding it or not, but you will make appointments and get her to them. If she really had anorexia (as opposed to some weight loss coincident with a stressful time in her life), that's a serious mental illness with lifelong health consequences, and she needs to be talking to someone. If she didn't have anorexia, she's acting incredibly depressed now, and she might be able to get her therapy with fewer concerned chats about food and bone loss.

I might reconsider standard high school because flailing academically in community college is maybe a sign that she's not developmentally or academically prepared for it. High schools can suck - lord knows I hated mine - but they are very well set up to deal with the academic and developmental needs of 14 - 18 year olds, and provide resources to kids who, for whatever reasons, are having a tough time at home.

You seem pretty set against sending her to stay with her aunt at this time, because you worry that your daughter would develop inner strength and misattribute her success to her environment instead of to herself. I would rather a teen be wrong about why she did well than stay put and do badly. It is quite possible that your daughter could develop inner resources at home, but thus far, she has not. In order for her to succeed, something needs to change. If she stays home, that means you need to make changes.
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#19 of 23 Old 08-27-2014, 08:48 AM
 
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Originally Posted by sereneimago View Post
Everyone seems to see this situation from such different points of view~ it's hard to know how to respond.

First of all, my daughter tests as profoundly gifted, she has always scooted by in school and when she was homeschooled by acing tests and essays, she always had excellent memory and retention and has seldom had to "work" at anything, and so she has found herself flummoxed by the sudden need for study skills.
That doesn't have anything to do with her emotional state in my opinion, but a simple need to learn study skills. She is currently signed up to take a study skills class at her current c.c. this fall, which I think will prove helpful.
To start, people have different view points because people have lived different lives. We have different experiences and that causes us to look at things differently. In truth, none of US can give you THE answer... only experiences to help you think through your options.

Personally, I TOTALLY disagree that the giftedness and scooting through school is not a factor of her emotional state. Kids build their self-esteem by being challenged, working through problems and eventually succeeding. A smart child who doesn't have to work at school can sometimes miss out on the opportunity to build this confidence in themselves. Often, their entire identity is built on "being smart" because that is what people seem to admire in them. However, getting accolades for something you don't work at is like being heralded for having brown hair.... feels good to hear how beautiful your hair is but what happens when it turns gray... what happens when your one identifying quality goes away? That's how it can be for smart kids who don't ever have to work at it. They are told they are smart and it feels good. Then they get hit with a challenge, they fail, they feel stupid and their entire identity is suddenly in question. They don't know who they are and that's pretty scary.... and depressing.

I went through this myself. It hit me in college French which was too complicated to just scoot by without trying. Not only did I not know how to "try" but didn't know how to cope with NEEDING to try. Both my kids are gifted and we've worked really hard at making sure they have meaningful challenge and personal success in their lives. It's not always easy. My eldest child mentally falls apart without challenge. She gets depressed and withdrawn. Pulls away from family and friends. My youngest's always seems to love things to be easy on the surface but he is also riddled with insecurity. The difference you see in him when he's challenged and when he's not is quite profound.

Oh, and I did mention the infant. I said trading a home with a toddler for a home with an infant that would be a toddler soon was not much of a trade.

We aren't you. We don't really know your situation. Whose life can really be summed up in a message board post? I can only say that for me, if she were my child and there was more opportunity for help where I lived, I'd be keeping them close while getting them that help. To me, just going away "someplace else" isn't going to be enough. Obviously, others think that is the perfect solution and perhaps their life experiences have proven that "to them." It's really up to you guys though.

Married mom of two, DD 17 and DS 13.
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#20 of 23 Old 08-28-2014, 11:19 AM
 
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After talking with my daughter today, I feel more open to her going, mostly because she has chosen it has her wish, but I still feel like it is not the best in my heart of hearts. I promised to her that I would consider it, but I feel disappointed that she did not more fully consider staying with me at home, and look for ways to improve her life. I feel that once she was success there, that she would attribute it to her environment, rather than attribute it to herself and her own hard work, and that she will be afraid to come back home.
aaaaaaaah mama you are getting it. i love the bolded part. the issue is what SHE wants. i cant tell you how big this is.

the underlined part ((HUGS)) i am so with you on this. i am going thru the same with a tween myself. BUT... you have to remember she is a teen. she is NOT a toddler that you have to control every movement. the best lessons are ones they discover themselves, not the ones you tell them. you may be right and maybe after she is at ur friend's place for a couple fo weeks she might want to come home. but you have to give HER the opportunity to do that. not you tell her.

she may even stay there longer just to convince herself its not all that bad.. but ultimately will have to make up her mind to what to do. This whole process is a lesson learnt. a much better way to learn than you telling her.

mama there are two areas that really concern me. please forgive me if i sound harsh, but it seems to me you are having a hard time understanding some things.

(but first let me say i dont know anything else than what you write. based on what you write and based on my own experience with my gifted daughter and her depression... it seems some things that are red flags you are just sweeping away as if it is nothing).

the first area - have a baby and a teen is a hard place to be. you really have to be two different kinds of parent. i admit this is a tough place to be. to be the mother of a teen is diametrically opposite to being the mother of a toddler. the key with a teen is silence and giving them more freedom while defining the boundaries. but with a toddler you kinda give them freedom in a way that you are comfortable with (unlike teens) and you talk yourself to death. with a toddler you are into everything they do, with teen you need to give them their privacy. i see that you are struggling being the parent of a teen. it involves a whole different set of tools. it no longer is about you, but about your child making decisions.

the second area is your dd's depression. i really really find this very concerning. as others have pointed out too. i feel you are not understanding how serious this is.

here are some links i am including that dd's therapist sent me. i hope you find them helpful. i believe this is a site that was compiled by teens for teens.
http://www.pamf.org/teen/life/depres...epression.html

i feel in your dd's case there is a lot of asynchronicity going on. YES she is profoundly gifted BUT she is also a teen. a child still. VERY typical in PG kids. its sometimes hard to see the forest for the trees. its hard to remember under all the intellectual stuff there is still a child hiding there who needs help with study skills.

the social life you describe is GREAT. HOWEVER, they why does she seek isolation? i am sure she knows she wont be able to do her weekend hangouts, then why does she still want to go. the reason why i am saying she really should go - just to have the experience herself.

her 'uncle' is still her step father, the father of her brother, a man she lives with - no matter how you describe it she has an emotional connection to - no matter how deep. no matter what the emotional connection to have death hang over your house is not an easy place to be.

we may all be wrong. perhaps your dd isnt depressed. you may be right. all i am asking is to get her assessed. you may not have to walk the path of medication, but maybe some one on one therapy might be useful. i am so glad your dd has Kpop. so that means in times of crisis she has a coping mechanism to go to.

cc is a huge change. so many other factors than just studies. could she do some high school and take some classes at cc? i would find ways of beign involved in her decisions so that when you know for sure she is going to need help you can guide her. now your role is to be a guide and not the decision maker however.

do you get enough one on one time with your dd? can you leave your son with your dh and you and dd go out to do something together? even as simple as going for a walk or going to get an icecream.

btw honestly i've had to let go on junk food and organics. dd still eats pretty well but she now eats other kids of food that she doesnt really enjoy eating to fit in with the kids.

i agree with you on having to force somethings on the teens. i tell my dd (who is homeschooled) my job as a mom is still teh same. when she was younger i put varieties of food down on the table and she had to take a couple of no thank you bites, but the decision of what to eat was hers. its the same way now. i have to offer her classes and experiences that she HAS to try and then she can drop out after 3 or 4 tries if its not all that fun. she was whining having to take this one class. i forced her to go. she came back saying she enjoyed that class much more than the one she had chosen.

i am concerned in such a wonderful musical and artistic family why your dd is pushing the arts away.

but i agree - the first thing that needs to happen is a dentist appt.

 treehugger.gif Co-parent, joy.gifcold.gifbrand new homeschooling middle schoolerjoy.gif, and an attackcat.gif 
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#21 of 23 Old 08-28-2014, 02:17 PM
 
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I think her anorexia at the time (which started out as a fad with other school girls and was short-lived) has been helped by his healthy attitudes about food and healthy food in particular.
I don't understand this. Anorexia is a serious emotional issue that is difficult to overcome and often effects people for years. Was she anorexic, as in diagnosed and treated for anorexia, or did she just do some dieting that you felt was inappropriate?

What you are saying with be analogous to someone talking about their teen being an alcoholic, but it just being a fad with some other kids. It doesn't work that way.

Just as a parent whose teen is alcoholic but currently doing really well would be concerned about them structuring their life for continued success, if your DD had an eating disorder you should continue to be concerned, especially as she is considering quitting everything in her life, dropping ALL her friends, and choosing isolation.

Quote:
Why does my homelife sound bad? My husband and I argue a few times a week, which seldom happens in my daughter's presence. We live in a very creative, musical, artistic household and eat organic mostly vegetarian food. We support our daughter's interests and buy her tools to use in her hobbies, which sometimes lie neglected in her room, but she has them.
Different people can have different experiences living in the same household. I think that something is off for her to consider such a drastic move. If it is so great *for her,* then why does she want to go?

I think if she were moving toward something, it wouldn't be a red flag. If she were pursing some very cool option that she was jazzed about. But she isn't. She just wants out.

Quote:
She taught herself piano and music composition, though she has given up music production. She has given up most of her hobbies since starting C.C., other than watching K-pop videos and K-dramas, which she is obsessed with. She claims the workload is too much for her to continue her hobbies.
She wasn't doing her work. these are all red flags for depression


Quote:
I would like for her to go to counseling, go to the dentist to get a tooth fixed which is bothering her,
I don't understand that. I have a teen with autism and she gets the medical care she needs to, even though it is sometimes a struggle. You need to make an appointment and take her to the dentist, or take every single thing away from her (TV, computer, money, phone, everything) until she goes.

Her tooth could continue to get worse and worse and affect the teeth around it. She's a minor, you are the parent. Get the tooth fixed.

Quote:
have at least one activity such as dance that she enjoys, and I would not like for her to be so isolated to have the experience of academic success. I would like for her to volunteer and have encouraged her to get involved with first graders at the local school. I am a nag, with mixed success.
stop nagging, and apreciate all the stuff she does do. You just listed how often she sees her friends, a gifted program she did this summer, new friends she made there, etc. Now you are complaining that she doesn't do enough.

volunteer work is optional.

hour often to see friends is a choice she can make herself

needed medical care is required. now. no nagging, just make it happen.

Quote:
No one has mentioned the newborn as a factor, but that is one of the main reasons why I hesitate to let my daughter go- I know newborns' temperaments are unpredictable, and even the sleepy ones often wake up with colic at around 3 weeks.
I did. One of the reasons I see this as a desperate desire on her part is because there will be two children under 2. In addition to all the things you listed, the older one will need to make peace with sharing mom's very limited time with baby, which most likely will result in a lot of screaming and crying.

Has she talked about her ability to help them?

Quote:
After talking with my daughter today, I feel more open to her going, mostly because she has chosen it has her wish, but I still feel like it is not the best in my heart of hearts. I promised to her that I would consider it,
At least make her get her teeth seen to first. The last thing your friends need, on top of their own children, is a dental emergency with a some one else's teen.

I don't understand the passive approach of "I can't make her." Unless she is capable of supporting herself, you can make her. I think that *making* things happen should be used in a very limited bases for many reasons (so kids learn to do things themselves for their own internal reasons, because overuse damages the relationship, because all people deserve to make a lot of their own choices including some bad ones) but there is a limit. When the teen really isn't capable or the long term consequences are TOO great, then I see it as our job to step in.

With my kids, I most likely would let them go with some cavets (like getting medical stuff up to date first, being clear on how they will contribute to the household such as taking over cleaning the kitchen every night, and having a minimum GPA). I tend to lean towards having experiences that we want to have, even if they end up being kind of crappy.

I would also check into how her school posts grades on line. Both my DD who is in community college and my DD who is in highschool can see their grades on-line during the semester. They can see at a glance if an assignment is missing.

but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif


Last edited by Linda on the move; 08-28-2014 at 09:09 PM.
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#22 of 23 Old 08-29-2014, 12:24 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Re:Linda's response:
You're right, I think I used the medical term "anorexia" too lightly perhaps, malnutrition from dieting was probably more appropriate. She went to the Dr, and we had serious conversations about basic needs, for protein and essential fatty acids and vitamins... She is naturally slender and has been vegetarian her whole life so watching her lose 10 pounds in a month was frightening for me, perhaps I mislabeled it. She has bounced back, though she is still not doing a lot of carbs other than rice and chocolate. The not-eating-enough thing started when I was away on a trip, so I took it very seriously that as her mother I had to get her back on the road to good health and give her information about what her body needs.
Maybe the carb-cutting is still an issue related to her mental health, because from what I understand, your brain makes serotonin from carbs?

I actually made her a dentist appt today, before checking in and reading this. When I wrote that, I meant that I wanted her to do the appts while living with me, I felt they would be impossible at my friends', especially with what is currently on their plate.

I totally agree that medical stuff has to be mandatory, I just try to check in with my daughter about making sure she's comfortable with the provider.

I'm familiar with mental illness and symptoms of it, but perhaps because my daughter is not as ill as some others I have known in my life, I did not recognize her as having anything other than a motivational disorder. I'm going to have her try out some different therapists, and since she is very sensitive to medicine, will probably see how counseling works, before going near meds.

I really think staying in her room a lot has to do with escapism, finding joy in music and K-dramas and living vicariously through media. I think she would be more social if she had more people she liked around to be social with.

My friend is very successful and is a very kind and considerate person and my daughter respects her. That is a key reason why she wants to have her guidance at this time. It's very isolated over there from general society, but the camraderie of my friend and her husband might be enough for my daughter to not feel completely isolated, because they are intelligent people who talk a lot about various issues etc.

What you said about ice cream is really cute. I do have milkshakes with her occasionally! I cherish those times.

I would love to be able to check in with her grades online-- this past few months she wasn't letting me. As a CC student, she isn't legally obligated to share it with me, and she loved the feeling of independence I think. I have been very much left out of her downhill slide the past few months, as she has not engaged in any conversations with me about her progress, and has even outright lied to me about work she had done.

We already decided taking all online classes wasn't the best choice for her, so it concerns me that she would be going back on that now.

Anyhow, I am still trying to assess whether she's being stubborn or if she really KNOWS that this would be the best for her. Trying to sort out my own feelings, from the part of me that wants to watch over her and be the one helping her, to the part of me that is willing to let her go to Timbuktu if I knew it would be safe and joyous and a good challenge for her.

Good night everyone.



& Thanks to everyone who gave thought to our conundrum.
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#23 of 23 Old 08-29-2014, 12:29 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Oh and P.S.~
This was a very awesome quote from yesterday's posts:
"Personally, I TOTALLY disagree that the giftedness and scooting through school is not a factor of her emotional state. Kids build their self-esteem by being challenged, working through problems and eventually succeeding. A smart child who doesn't have to work at school can sometimes miss out on the opportunity to build this confidence in themselves. Often, their entire identity is built on "being smart" because that is what people seem to admire in them. However, getting accolades for something you don't work at is like being heralded for having brown hair.... feels good to hear how beautiful your hair is but what happens when it turns gray... what happens when your one identifying quality goes away? That's how it can be for smart kids who don't ever have to work at it. They are told they are smart and it feels good. Then they get hit with a challenge, they fail, they feel stupid and their entire identity is suddenly in question. They don't know who they are and that's pretty scary.... and depressing." Thanks.
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