DH's Therapist trying to convince him homeschooling is bad! - Mothering Forums

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Old 05-25-2009, 01:19 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I am so shocked. DH is one of those people who will go along with what I feel strongly about, like homeschooling, though he really thinks we should just stick our DCs in public school so that they can "learn how the world really is and not be sheltered". He is letting me homeschool b/c it means a lot to me, though.

Anyway, yesterday he was talking to me and told me that at his last appointment, he mentioned I was planning on homeschooling starting in the fall. The therapist apparently gave a dirty look (about homeschooling) and told him that we should really "be careful" because she has "many patients who were homeschooled and now have severe social anxiety."

I about blew a fuse. I don't want to get mad at DH, I realize it's not his comment, but I was SO p'd off. This is one big thing that DH does worry about b/c our house is too small to have playdates, and now he's added that to the fact that he thinks homeschoolers never go out in public or something.

I pointed out that I have social anxiety and went to public school. I also pointed out that we live downtown, have lots of kids on our street, etc. But still...he's concerned all over again.

Ugh, thanks a lot to the therapist.

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Old 05-25-2009, 01:43 PM
 
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Huh.

I don't know, it just seems that homeschooling this generation is a different thing than homeschooling the previous generation (which is likely the patients that the therapist sees). Homeschooling has grown, become more known in the mainstream, more socially acceptable, many more groups etc....

Anyhow, the adult homeschoolers I know are the most socially adept people I know-- confident, self-assured, kind, centered. Even growing up without all the support of previous homeschoolers.

I don't know, if we made decisions based on a therapists view of the issues that they see in their office, I would imagine we would also not have parents, or jobs, or children..... Life is full of challenges! Family life is full of challenges! Growing up is full of challenges! Parenting is full of challenges!

I doubt homeschooling alone would create social anxiety-- perhaps how the parents responded, or lack of social support, or the family environment, or parenting philosophy compounded the issues?
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Old 05-25-2009, 01:43 PM
 
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Studies show that homeschooled kids are well adjusted.
My niece is in therapy for anxiety disorder, depression, and an eating disorder. She's 9 years old and in 3rd grade public school. The therapist recommended chewing gum to curb eating. Seriously. Now there's a cure!!

My kids are happy and well-adjusted, eat a variety of foods and are a perfect weight. They love life and can't figure out why their cousin blows a gasket over NOTHING all the time.

I think your dh's therapist is lying. Change therapists.
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Old 05-25-2009, 01:57 PM
 
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Gosh I would demand a new therapist. Granted a professional can't be educated in every single topic, but a professional wouldn't say something so...impulsive and unprofessional. That would make me seriously suspect the quality of help your DH is receiving.

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Old 05-25-2009, 02:16 PM
 
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That would make me really angry.

However, your dh may not be relaying the therapists words exactly how she meant them. We weren't there, and don't know what was really said by him to lead up to her warning to 'be careful', or what her expression was really like when she gave that 'dirty look'.

I hope it doesn't happen again

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Old 05-25-2009, 02:29 PM
 
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Hmmm.. I wonder about the comment that the house is too small for playdates. I would think that almost any house would be sufficient for playdates, since it doesn't require very much room. ?
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Old 05-25-2009, 03:07 PM
 
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Hmmm.. I wonder about the comment that the house is too small for playdates. I would think that almost any house would be sufficient for playdates, since it doesn't require very much room. ?
My thoughts it exactly. I would try hard to make it work.

If you really cannot do indoor playdates - parks work. Who wants to stay inside anyways?

I also think the pyche is out to lunch.
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Old 05-25-2009, 03:18 PM
 
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I sort of wonder if it's the chicken or the egg kind of thing...

My dd has lots of social anxiety - makes school unbearable. So we are going to hs starting next year. Should I start preparing my defense for future accusations that I've created the social anxiety? Probably... why not.. lets just go back to blaming parents for everything that goes "wrong" in the world.

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Old 05-25-2009, 03:39 PM
 
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The therapist apparently gave a dirty look (about homeschooling) and told him that we should really "be careful" because she has "many patients who were homeschooled and now have severe social anxiety."
Um . . . unless they had problems, why would these homeschoolers even be going to a therapist? OF COURSE the homeschoolers she sees have issues, that's WHY they're there to see her. I bet "many" of her public schooled patients have issues too.

Perhaps there's something to be said for the fact that they mostly have social anxiety, but one reason some parents homeschool is because their child is socially anxious. Which means they would be regardless of where they went to school. Had these former homeschoolers not been homeschooled, they might be a whole lot worse off than they are (meaning it's not unheard of for people with social problems to do something drastic as a result of the taunting etc. they endured in school).

The important question to ask in this situation is what percentage of her patients are homeschoolers? If it's higher than the percentage of homeschoolers in society, homeschool MIGHT be a problem, but if homeschoolers are represented to the same degree in her practice as they are in society, then that sounds exactly like what I would expect. Even if it is higher, though, that doesn't indicate a problem. Homeschooling, like I mentioned before, is often the choice for parents whose children are already having problems, which should lead to a higher percentage of homeschoolers in therapy. To really know if homeschooling is an issue, you'd have to do an indepth study of homeschoolers, asking (among other things) their parents reasons for homeschooling, and exclude those with already existing problems. They will have problems no matter what. I seriously doubt that's what this therapist did. And to the OP, I'd be very concerned about a therapist who's basically trying to impose her own personal opinion on her patients, without any good evidence to back it up. JMO.

Alyson: loving wife to Iain; unschooling mom to Abby (8) and Caleb (5). Also pro
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Old 05-25-2009, 04:48 PM
 
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Um . . . unless they had problems, why would these homeschoolers even be going to a therapist? OF COURSE the homeschoolers she sees have issues, that's WHY they're there to see her. I bet "many" of her public schooled patients have issues too.

Perhaps there's something to be said for the fact that they mostly have social anxiety, but one reason some parents homeschool is because their child is socially anxious. .
EXCELLENT points!!!!
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Old 05-25-2009, 04:49 PM
 
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My niece is in therapy for anxiety disorder, depression, and an eating disorder. She's 9 years old and in 3rd grade public school. The therapist recommended chewing gum to curb eating. Seriously. Now there's a cure!!.
OT and I'm glad your kids are well-adjusted. It might help you support your niece to know that there are studies that chewing gum can reduce anxiety and curb snacking.

It's a big help to my kid (who is homeschooled).

OP: What kind of therapist is your dh's counselor? What is the training and background?

It's either weirdly unprofessional or an attempt to do some kind of therapeutic confrontation. My thought is that it's an opportunity to talk out dh's objections to hs'ing.
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Old 05-25-2009, 06:31 PM
 
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And how many of that therapist's patients went to public school? Most of them I have no doubt. Odds are the only homeschoolers that he knows are former homeschoolers, are his patients, so the only homeschoolers he's met have problems.

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Old 05-25-2009, 07:09 PM
 
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And how many of that therapist's patients went to public school? Most of them I have no doubt. Odds are the only homeschoolers that he knows are former homeschoolers, are his patients, so the only homeschoolers he's met have problems.
Yep, it is like talking to my sister in law, the prosecuting attorney, about homeschoolers. All the homeschoolers she knows are negligent, sometimes abusive parents and petty criminals - well I guess except for us anyway. LOL
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Old 05-25-2009, 07:18 PM
 
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Ugh. I went to public school, and I have pronounced social phobia issues. I also won't see a therapist or counselor, unless it becomes a matter of life or death, because one lesson I learned very well in public school is that authority figures who "want to help" don't...and won't. Stay away. I truly wish homeschooling had been more accessible and on my mom's radar when I was a kid, because I had a personality that meshed with public school about as well as a bikini meshes with a blizzard.

Before I'd ever even considered public school, I found this argument so off the wall. It seems to suggest that if a kid goes to public school, they'll obviously come out stable and well-adjusted. We'll just ignore the everyone who doesn't fit the bill...the misfits, the kids who were/are bullied, the kids who were/are bullies, the ones who think they're better than everyone else because daddy bought them a car for good grades, etc. etc. etc. I didn't see a whole lot in my years of public school to suggest that it produces stable, well-adjusted people. I haven't seen much to suggest that in ds1's years in public school, either.

DD is very sensitive, very slow to adjust to new social situations, very volatile and very intelligent. I think she'd do very poorly in a public school setting, at least right now. Depending how well she learns to manage her own personality (and she's already developing good coping strategies), she may seem to have a lot of issues as an adult...but they're a product of inborn temperament, not caused by homeschooling!

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Old 05-25-2009, 08:10 PM
 
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1) I would make sure that this isn't dh trying to change your mind about homeschooling by attaching an "authority" figure to his thoughts.

2) If this was truly out of nowhere, and dh is offended by it also, then I would be finding a new therapist.

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Old 05-27-2009, 10:09 PM
 
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There are soooooooooo many social opprtunities nowdays for homeschoolers I'm sure there are other issues why the other children were homeschooled have social anxiety maybe they had it FROM school and now geet homeschooled because of it!

Betsy, Mommy to DS (10) DD (4) DS (2) and DS (1)
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Old 05-27-2009, 10:19 PM
 
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Without reading all of the other responses-
I am assuming that she is really there to support him, that is her job. How does he really feel about homeschooling? Is he worried about it? He has every right to be worried and she might be following that up with her opinion. I am a huge proponent of homeschooling, don't get me wrong. It sounds like you are the one that wants to go for it and he is supportive of your enthusiasm, but needs a place to sort out all of his concerns. If she is really biased that might be hard, but I think it is normal for her to share her experience. That being said, pp makes sense in saying that social issues come from both homeschooled and public schooled clients and he might be wise to bring that up. I just think that it is important for him to have a place to be heard.
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Old 05-27-2009, 10:30 PM
 
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I'm sorry you feel frustrated by this.

Maybe this is a great opportunity for you and dh to come into alignment with what you are doing.

My dh sounds like yours: he will go along with me because I am well-researched and have strong ideas. But I'm never quite happy and always include him and ask questions and think up discussions to engage him in. I never want to bear the weight of, "well, it was your idea to homeschool/homebirth/no-vax/ etc." This could open a well needed discussion for you guys.

good luck.
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Old 05-27-2009, 11:51 PM
 
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Tell your dh to tell his therapist not to talk so negatively about homeschooling, because after all, our kids will be keeping him in business.
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Old 05-28-2009, 01:50 AM
 
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At risk of being shot, I'll say it: I agree with the therapist.

"Be careful" is about social contact is a very reasonable caution especially when the parent homeschooling has social anxiety. It may ruffle feathers to say it but as a long term homeschooler speaking with other homeschoolers I feel comfortable being honest about the reality. It varies a lot by individual circumstance, but it can take some effort to make social connections. If a parent has social anxiety, Asperger's, depression, etc. it can be a difficult situation because the steps required to make social connections may be a lot more difficult. I have encountered older homeschooled kids (even late elementary and middle school) who due to these sorts of factors really had not had adequate social opportunities. These may not have been an issue if the family socialized regularly in other ways, but due to social anxiety or other factors that hadn't been happening. There was some significant catching up to do and often kids struggled. For kids who already have a genetic tendency toward social anxiety, very little social experience made them less sure and more wary.

To be clear that isn't to say that people shouldn't homeschool, but rather to say "be careful" is a pretty reasonable suggestion. Be mindful of this need for your children and have a plan of how you will handle the places where that hits up against your own challenges. These are reasonable matters to discuss in your home as you begin this adventure.
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Old 05-28-2009, 02:04 AM
 
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.. I think it is normal for her to share her experience...
I think "sharing her experience" is one of the worst things a therapist can do for a client. A therapist's personal experience is pretty irrelevant to the therapeutic relationship, and people in therapy are NOT THERE to hear about the therapist's personal experiences and personal opinions about things. I don't really know what was said about homeschooling, so I'm not talking about this topic in particular, just ANY topic.

Therapists are supposed to help you work through your mental health and emotional issues, not tell you stories about their other patients, their experience with X type of person or whatever. That's a highly unprofessional way to approach therapy and the shittiest therapist I ever saw was one who couldn't seem to understand that I was there to get help for my issues, not hear her personal opinions about my life. There's a BIG difference between giving someone psychotherapy and giving someone advice based on your own personal experience and preferences. So, no, it is not normal (or helpful or therapeutic) for a therapist to share their personal experience with you, if it happens in the manner described in the OP.
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Old 05-28-2009, 02:33 AM
 
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HS kid here, and no social disorders at all. Report therapist and get a new one.
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Old 05-28-2009, 02:48 AM
 
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Context is everything. All the homeschoolers I know are highly functional n social situations. That's because I know them from park group (a social setting). Perhaps if I spent my day seeing patients with issues, I'd see homeschoolers in a different light.

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Old 05-28-2009, 08:24 AM
 
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JesiLynne HS kid here, and no social disorders at all. Report therapist and get a new one. :
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Old 05-28-2009, 08:25 AM
 
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HS kid here, and no social disorders at all. Report therapist and get a new one.
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Old 05-28-2009, 08:52 AM
 
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There are also many people who have social anxiety due to emotionally scarring experiences that happened in the social arena of school.

Homeschooling does not automatically equal social isolation. It does give the parents and children more control over what type of social experiences they have, and that can be much healthier.

IMO the therapist should keep her bias against educational choices to herself...unless it has to do specifically with what your DH is seeking therapy for, it doesn't need to be discussed in his sessions, and he can tell her that if he doesn't want to hear more about it from her.

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Old 05-28-2009, 10:01 AM
 
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I'm sure this therapist probably stretched the truth a bit. I meet people sometimes (online and IRL) that will say they've met SO many home schoolers that are odd or don't do it right and I know they've probably only met one or two people along the way that even home school. You have to remmeber that even a therapist is going to have their own opinion about things. And IMO the therapist had no right to give their opinion on this unless it is something that your DH brought up to her and asked her opinion because it is bothering him. Otherwise, why would she say that unless she was just being negative about HS.

I was also raised in the public school system and grew up very sad, lonely and withdrawn socially. I was okay sometimes but I had a very hard time and I had to deal with a lot as an adult as well.

I agree with someone else, report the therapist.

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Old 05-28-2009, 11:32 AM
 
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Unless she has more patients with social anxiety that were homeschooled than she does patients that were public schooled-her comment doesn't even make sense. That's like saying, "Oh, I know someone who was homeschooled that is in prison now." Nevermind the three others in prison that weren't.

It sounds to me like the therapist isn't a fan of homeschooling and is trying to project that onto your husband.

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Old 05-28-2009, 12:38 PM
 
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I don't know, if we made decisions based on a therapists view of the issues that they see in their office, I would imagine we would also not have parents, or jobs, or children..... Life is full of challenges! Family life is full of challenges! Growing up is full of challenges! Parenting is full of challenges!
I agree. I would point out to your dh that the *therapist's* views are obviously going to be a bit skewed, only seeing people who have some type of issue.....
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Old 05-28-2009, 05:26 PM
 
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"Be careful" is about social contact is a very reasonable caution especially when the parent homeschooling has social anxiety. It may ruffle feathers to say it but as a long term homeschooler speaking with other homeschoolers I feel comfortable being honest about the reality. It varies a lot by individual circumstance, but it can take some effort to make social connections. If a parent has social anxiety, Asperger's, depression, etc. it can be a difficult situation because the steps required to make social connections may be a lot more difficult. I have encountered older homeschooled kids (even late elementary and middle school) who due to these sorts of factors really had not had adequate social opportunities. These may not have been an issue if the family socialized regularly in other ways, but due to social anxiety or other factors that hadn't been happening. There was some significant catching up to do and often kids struggled. For kids who already have a genetic tendency toward social anxiety, very little social experience made them less sure and more wary.

To be clear that isn't to say that people shouldn't homeschool, but rather to say "be careful" is a pretty reasonable suggestion. Be mindful of this need for your children and have a plan of how you will handle the places where that hits up against your own challenges. These are reasonable matters to discuss in your home as you begin this adventure.
I think "be careful" is good advice regardless of where your child goes to school. We should all, as parents, "be careful" about the kinds of social situations we expose our children too. However, specifically in reference to homeschool, it seems like bad advice to me. There is nothing inherent about homeschooling that makes it a better or worse experience for socialization. The kind of socialization needed really depends on the child.

You talk about kids you knew with a tendency toward social anxiety, who became more wary and unsure as a result of lack of social interaction. So presumably for them, a school setting would have helped. I also suffered from (and still do) social anxiety, and I went to public school. It was without a doubt the WORST thing for me (my mother even admits that). I ended up severely depressed by the end of high school, and spent the next decade basically in social isolation just to get myself to a point where I felt at peace again. As a child, I would have benefited GREATLY from being kept out of most social situations, and only interacting with others on my own terms, when I was ready. But that's just me.

My point in saying this, is that yes the word of caution "be careful" is good advice, but ONLY in a general sense, IMO. Know your child, and be careful to provide them with the right kind of situations. Linking the word of warning with homeschooling, IMO, is irresponsible. It paints the picture that homeschooling carries with a risk that simply isn't there. For some kids, the potential isolation that can happen with homeschooling can be bad. However, for some it can be exactly what they need. Just like for some kids, PS can be bad, while for others it's exactly what they need. It's all about the individual child and what they need, rather than some inherent risk in either schooling situation, IMO. I hope that makes sense. I don't always express myself clearly, even though I'm very wordy, LOL.

Alyson: loving wife to Iain; unschooling mom to Abby (8) and Caleb (5). Also pro
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