My little boys are so excited about learning, I LOVE learning, dh loves researching things... And this isn't something new for her, she's always been like this, I'm just done now.
I have so many awesome books and things strewn about the house, and all she reads is her few Twilight magazines that dh let her buy this past summer. I am so close to getting rid of all the fun stuff in the house, but I know that's not the right thing either.
She complains about helping with ANYTHING. I rather like to idea of just helping when asked, rather than set chores, but she acts like it the end of the world to even lift a finger. She balks at showers, bedtimes (without which I would have a complete nervous breakdown), food she doesn't find satisfactory, etc... Shes just plain rotten to be around anymore.
I'm sure this is rambly and mixed up, but I'm so exhausted and emotional about it all. I texted dh today and told him it's time she got a taste of the real world. Public school. Early waking, shared bathrooms, terrible food, mean kids, bus rides, homework, early bedtimes, no more coffee shop time, etc... (both dh and I's school wasnt a good experience) That's how close I am to ending this all.
I have a 10.5 yo, and when I go through my panic periods, I tend to think that she does nothing of value at all. I force myself to re-focus (with more or less success, depending), and try to pay attention and take note of everything that she does. When I'm more actively observant, I latch on every little thing that she does, and within days I have a much more accurate picture of her activities.
My DD needs ownership of her learning, so anything I suggest is unlikely to be of interest. I have to be very careful there. Lately, this is what has been working. Other than to research on my own and then present her with topics that I think she might be interested in, based on what she'd said, I actively look up answers to any questions that she has. No matter how trivial the question is, I'd say, "Oh, let's look it up." Usually there are enough tangents to send us on some other interest--since she can see the actual links, she tends to want to click on them. This way she has more ownership of the process.
I know I'd be a bad model myself as I'm really not a gaming person, but can figure out how you can show an active interest in her computer games? What about computer programming? Last year we downloaded Scratch--my kids aren't interested right now, but it looks like fun. There's another programming system called Storytelling Alice (I think)
I'm just recovering from my most recent panic attack, that brought me here, and I'm happy to report that things are going really well. My negativity is gone, and DD is involved in all kind of little projects. However, just a couple of weeks ago I wasn't positive about this whole unschooling thing. It is all a stage, and it is important to recognize a stage, at least in retrospect.
Well, I'm not sure if any of this is helpful to you, I'm just rambling.
My kids are still little but I just wanted to put something out there. She is 10 going on 11? Is it possible the early stages of puberty are starting to effect her behavior? I think it would be normal to expect a lot of defiance and emotions in general at this age that would be difficult to deal with. The good news is that it's probably temporary. Maybe try and engage her in what she is feeling physically and emotionally right now to try and tease that out? I am sure there are some good books and articles on this stage of life too but again, my kids are little so I don't know.
I've hesitated to respond because I don't have a 10.5yo, and the resistance I meet is balanced by adventurousness.
BUT I was a contrary child, and I can base some of my reply on that.
She needs to feel like you accept and love her AS SHE IS. If she likes writing, and you try to take that further, she feels like that is a judgment on where she is at RIGHT NOW. It seems baffling that the same approach with your boys doesn't phase them, yet it does to her in the extreme.
ETA: When I was in a contrary mood, and my mother pointed out to me (in any way) that I did, in fact like X, I would make it my job to be disinterested. I'm sure I was thinking "I will not let you win this!"
I think that the way she talks to other people--"as if she didn't have a brain in her head"-- is embarrassing to you as a homeschooling mother. And she knows it. She is self-concious. Overreacting? Probably. I'd even say "definitely".
Somehow, she needs reassurance that she is not being judged against you or her dad or her brothers. And she will need that even if she goes to public school. If her schooling situation changes but nothing else does, the results could wind up being the same.
It is, unfortunately, about what she perceives and not necessarily what is. And that is going to make your job tougher.
"Let me see you stripped down to the bone. Let me hear you speaking just for me."
I may have to come back and read it a few times, lol.
I have 10 and 12 year old daughters, and I believe there is something about the tween age that brings out this kind of behavior. My older girl is coming out of it-- she's flaky but pleasant. Meanwhile my younger one is suddenly very contrary-- she's always been an easy-going happy person and now she balks at a lot of stuff. My experience has been that as they work through the phase, the worst of it comes and goes.
We haven't even started homeschooling but I fear going through stage(s) like this. I have no advice but just wanted to send some good vibes to you, hope you can get to a better place with your daughter. Best wishes!
Mom to DS 9/18/09 and DS 3/28/13
Laugh it up, fuzzball
This is so much like my daughter. She's 11, she's always had a contrary nature. And like me. Though outwardly I'm "the nice girl", I also balk at even the hint of anyone implying that I need to be different or better than I am, or that they have something to teach me, and I will stubbornly push back. The difference between my daughter and me is that she's vocal about her displeasure and I'm quiet and can be passive-aggressive about it.
I recognize too that anti-social-looking attitude in your daughter. When I was younger no one was particularly interested in who I was, only disappointed that I wasn't what they found impressive. But then I would be expected to perform, was how I saw it, in social situations. I wouldn't -- I'm not sure I could have if I wanted to, it was so contrary to what I felt to be real. I just hated it. It was painful to be put on the spot, painful to have to interact in what I felt to be a superficial way. And sometimes, I just felt stymied as to how to respond. (I still do often, I've just developed tools that help me not seem rude or weird. Usually.) So, I became even less impressive in their eyes. The quiet, glum girl. And now my daughter does that, and it drives me crazy. In fact, just yesterday I whispered at her, "Stop looking so glum when people are talking to you. Smile. Say something." And immediately felt like a jerk. I said it not because I really felt it was somehow deeply important for her to exchange meaningless social gestures with that person at that moment, but because I was embarrassed. Yes, it's embarrassing. And yes, I've got to get over it. Because I figured out how to act (when I was ready, when it started to have value for me,) and she will too. (I also cringe at my admonishment of her because I don't want to make the mistake of instilling the "nice girl syndrome" in her, because I think it's not only disempowering, but also potentially dangerous.)
My advice is to just pretend like the things you don't like about her right now are not an issue (unless of course you see that they are hurting someone, or her.) Just let it go, focus on yourself and the things that make you happy, and let her see that. Let her become a bit invisible, not The Thing That Needs To Be Fixed. And otherwise, just love the heck out of her. I agree with the previous poster who said that she needs positive reinforcement, and lots of it.
The Sims/Twilight thing reminds of Ren Allen. When she was growing up she was really into makeup and her parents saw that as a base sort of thing. Certainly not something to grow a proper life around. I think, in fact, that they outright banned it (or tried to.) Anyway, she became a fantastic makeup artist. She loves her life. My daughter, too, is different from me. I'd be thrilled if she was reading Lord of the Rings right now and learning to play piano. (No, that's her older brothers.) But she likes makeup, and fashion, and iCarly. Well, I'm not going to try to talk her out of it. (Um, actually, I have tried and it didn't work.) I figure she is who she is, she really really is, and I'd better learn to love her as she is or I'm going to lose a daughter.
Oh, and another story about a friend and this notion that kids are doing nothing when they're not doing what we think they should be doing -- she said, for years, that her son would literally do nothing but sit and stare at a wall unless she made him do enriching activities. And then it started coming to light, slowly, little bits of information leaking out of him, that all that time she thought he was doing nothing he was in fact thinking. About really interesting things. So when people say their kids do nothing, are interested in nothing, I am not so sure I believe it. Maybe they just don't have the ability to perceive what's there, what's really going on, due to their biases and fears and lack of personal experience with that way of being.
The complaining is so hard, though. And acting like helping out is the end of the world, that too. My daughter is still so egocentric like little kids are, but sometimes I'm able to get through to her and she gets that it's making things harder for me or other people. It is, really slowly, getting better. I'm seeing glimmers of awareness. Well, heck, my boys (14 and almost 16) are just starting to really get it. It's like they understood the words and situation before, but didn't feel it on a deeper level. Now they do. They wash the dishes every night before they go to bed (they have later bedtimes than I do.) They take out the garbage without complaining or trying to pass the buck. They don't take on all kinds of things by themselves -- their standards are different from mine -- but they do things when I put out that they need to be done. I am betting that if I can just stay cool she will come around eventually too. I mean, I know I could make threats and get mad and ground her and whatever, but the families that do that... there is a disconnect between the parents and the kids. It's the owners versus the slaves, that's how they see it, and they are just biding their time until they can get out. They're not doing it because they've woken up and seen the light, rather it seems to me that the coercion is keeping them in sort of an extended childhood. Better to set an example, be cool, talk, be patient. It makes sense, doesn't it?
Me too, thank you for replying.
We are in a bit better place now. Maybe she was in a funk, or I was. She told me she's felt gloomy the other day, and said she's probably about to start her period. Which we have talked about, and I understand. I guess it's just one day at a time. Some good, some not do good.
What has your life with her so far been like? Has she suddenly changed or has she always been like that? Have you always unschooled? Do you belong to a homeschool/unschool group and are you active in it? Does she have friends of similar ages? (2 years younger, 2 years older, maybe?)
I have an 11 1/2 year old but must admit she's nothing like what you describe but we have always been extremely active in our homeschool group, regularly go to tons of field trips (my children love history, science & art museums, zoos, art, lego, reading, sports, the arts, nature and marine biology, animal, and more), and ask to go to more. Since we have been unschooling for over 7 years, we know tons and tons of homeschoolers & we host very large parties, game days, tween days, swim parties and whatever we can think of to keep the friendships active, long lasting and to give the kids time to really get to know eachother.
If you don't have that sort of experience, perhaps just adding in a bit more texture and variety to your children's lives would help. It also definitely sounds like your 10 year old could be on the verge of puberty & maybe slight hormonal depression or something, so the more positive you can be, and supportive and be totally selfless, just focus on helping her feel fulfilled and happy will probably work wonders.
Best of luck!
Ahhhh, suffering through hyperemesis or just plain long lasting morning sickness is awful and I can understand. Do you have any friends who can perhaps take her out to field trips or playgroups along with their own children, to give her a day out and you a day off?
Hopefully, you will feel better soon. When I am suffering from extreme morning sickness, I try to focus on the fact that it will end, and that morning sickness means that everything is going well with baby...I repeat those things to myself over and over like mantras!
I think we've just had a hard season all around maybe.
This. Sometimes you just want to be left alone and allowed to be mopey. It annoyed the crap out of me as a teen when people nagged at me to do something other than what I was doing. I vividly remember being on vacation at the beach and people giving me a hard time because I was playing gameboy, reading a book, or listening to music. Apparently I was SUPPOSED to be social and doing the stuff that everyone else was doing.....yet I thought it was a VACATION for everyone, myself included. Instead of getting me to do other stuff, it made me dig my heels in even more and resent my family's attempts to make me what they wanted to be instead of actually liking me for what I actually was.
Dd has been a great help, as has my oldest ds. I think my pregnancy and being so ill threw our whole family off kilter. And while its still hard somedays, I am learning to just go with it. Accept the good and the bad. I'm sure ill be coming back for reassurance often though, lol,
Thanks to everyone for the replies!