What would you do about this attitude in a 15 yr old? - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 16 Old 10-26-2011, 08:29 PM - Thread Starter
 
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My daughter is pessimistic about everything. Plus, she has had huge complaints about everyone and everything. She cannot tolerate anyone it seems (except one particular boy). We tried her in a variety of schools and she hates every single one. Back when she home schooled, she hated every book, every program I offered her, everything. For 6th and 7th grade, she hated everything I tried to do with her. So, I sent her back to public school for 8th. In 8th, she hated it. The teachers were stupid and the kids were rude. We transferred her to a home study program through a private school. That was ok as she was doing it from home so she did not have to interact with actual teens. But, she did hate the teacher by the end. In the fall of 9th grade, we sent her to a charter school. She hated everyone there, from the teens to the teachers. Then over the summer, we sent her to a 6 week summer camp. Well, guess what? She hated all the other teens there, except a specific boy she ended up kissing by the end of camp. But she hated everyone else. Then, I put her in the regular public school this fall. Well, she hates it. This is 10th grade. She wants to return to home schooling.

 

This is just frustrating. Is it her? I think it is probably her. But I don't really know. Could all these places be so bad? Had the entire world turned terrible? Or at least our corner? I don't want her to be miserable, but honestly, I feel like there is no point to college for her. She is going to call us the first week she is there, miserable about everything. Then, she will likely transfer every single semester. Of course, that is just a guess.

 

What do you think? Is she just cranky? Or do you think it is the area we live in? (suburb north of Dallas, TX). Will she ever find any place she is ok with?

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#2 of 16 Old 10-26-2011, 08:46 PM
 
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The first thing that came to my mind is, could she be depressed? When I had depression starting at age 16, I felt like that a lot. Then in college I switched universities 5 times (2 were community colleges),never able to find a place that I felt truly happy. Finally I got on medication when I was pg w my first child and realized I had been depressed for the past7 years....
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#3 of 16 Old 10-26-2011, 08:57 PM - Thread Starter
 
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What medication did you go on?

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#4 of 16 Old 10-26-2011, 09:33 PM
 
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Wow, that sounds pretty intense. It's probably a complex interplay of temperament and world view. I admit I don't really have a clue how to broach it.

 

I think I would probably try to find whatever germs of positivity I could and then work from there. What are her passions? Are there things that she loves doing? What makes her really happy? What sorts of things does she deem profoundly worthwhile? If she found out she only had two weeks to live, what would she want to spend that two weeks doing? Does she have any ethical or spiritual beliefs that stray into hope or faith or a belief in goodness? Are there people or professions or charities or movements that she hold deep admiration for?

 

If I could identify some of those positive things, I'd do my best to get her more immersed in them. Of course a lot can change in three years, but I agree with you about her college prospects, at least if she remains in her current mind-set. College is an expensive and time-consuming endeavor, and I think young people should have a pretty good reason to pursue it, one that goes beyond "A degree might get me a better job and at least I wouldn't have to think about working and supporting myself for another four years." 

 

If there are any other red flags for depression, anxiety or other mental illness, I think I would initiate some sort of psychological care / counselling. She could be engaging in "displacement," blaming outside circumstances and others for things that are too difficult for her to face.

 

On the other hand, in the absence of such red flags, and since this seems to be a pattern going back several years at least, I wonder if she's simply formed the habit of using blame of her external circumstances to avoid taking responsibility for herself and her own experience of the world. She may need a little "tough love" to push her into taking responsibility for creating her own environment and conditions for success. Rather than allowing her to shift all the negativity to things outside her, challenge her on her attitudes. When she sounds off, say things like "Actually, I really like Stephanie. She's kind and she thinks of little details that help put people at ease. Yes, she's naive, but she's honest as anything and wants the best for everyone." Or "Sorry, chemistry is NOT stupid. You are just frustrated with your homework. You can choose to blame your frustration on chemistry itself, or on the course or the teacher, but I bet there are kids who think chemistry is awesome and who are enjoying the course. If you don't, well, it's your attitude, your choice. You could choose to look at it differently."

 

Is there any way you could afford the time and money to give her some sort of world-view-altering "coming of age experience?" When my eldest was almost 15 we sent her off to the third world backpacking with some neighbours of ours for three months. It blew her world open, sleeping on straw mats in bamboo huts, playing in the river with joyful little kids from incredibly poor families.... My ds has been volunteering with a local computer-access group, mentoring people in the school and community on tech-related stuff, rebuilding computers for community use, fundraising and donations. Giving something to others and developing an appreciation for the advantages you enjoy compared with many others, I think those are crucial parts of maturing.

 

I dunno. My 15-year-old seems like he's your dd's polar opposite. He's almost too optimistic, too welcoming of everything and everyone. It has its own problems -- naiveté and social recklessness among them. But at least he seems happy and excited by his life and the world around him. It must be hard to watch your child grow up feeling unhappy about the world she's surrounded by. I hope she can find something that really excites her and move forward towards it. That would give her a sense of purpose, which would be reassuring as she moves towards adulthood and possible post-secondary education.

 

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#5 of 16 Old 10-26-2011, 09:39 PM
 
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I don't have experience with clinical depression and I don't want to imply that I'm brushing that possibility off, because it could be the case with your daughter.  But I'm looking at this situation through a sorta "hard-knocks" lens.  I say this very gently and I'm speaking as a daughter (not a mom, yet), but you've given her enough chances and choices.  I truly believe that telling her (in so many words) to "suck it up and deal with it as best you can" could be doing her a big favor.  She's very lucky to have been given such a wide array of educational establishments to choose from.  Maybe times have changed or maybe I just grew up in a very different community but I had to take what I was given.  It sucked - most of the time.  But growing up sucks.  Living in the real world sucks.  I was home-schooled for 4th because I hated/feared the teacher. I hated 5th - 9th grade in public school and I despised most of my peers.  But I became the person I am today through those experiences with them.  I developed my character, my hobbies, what I valued in people so I could spot true friends in the future, my own way of handling difficult situations.  I don't know, but this is a prime time to teach a teenager that the world isn't custom-made for him/her.  Would anyone expect a person to get very far as an adult if they consistently quit their jobs, moved from apt to apt, avoided any civic duties, etc.  just because they hated everyone?

That's just my $0.02.  I hope things improve and that you find an answer or a common ground with your daughter.  smile.gif


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#6 of 16 Old 10-27-2011, 12:34 AM
 
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This is just view.  My son is homeschooled.  Its not a walk in the park by any means. BUT over the years he has learned 'the buck stops here'.  We have gradually moved from unschooling to something that resembles books and online classes.  My 11 yr old is learning to deal with deadlines, assignments and the 'mean mommy'.  

 

Lisa, I know you are dealing with some other issues in your life as well, could it be that your 15 yr old is feeding off that and just being 15?  Could she be playing the 'drama' card for all its worth?

 

You said she 'hates' everything, yes that is what she is telling you but what would happen if you had a conference with the school. What would the school, the staff, the teachers, what would they tell you?  What did the camp communicate to you?  I bet if there was such 'hate' and unhappiness at the summer camp, someone in administration or counseling would have called you for a conference, phone meeting or something.  Adults do not let kids 'hate' everything for weeks on end- especially at a summer camp where there is a ton of supervision.

 

Back to my 11 yr old.  He is learning to deal with teachers he doesn't like. He takes one online class at a time from a rather highly regarded program in the states.  Some online teachers are better than others.  Honestly its about 50/50.  This time we have an awful 'teacher', but the experience is teaching my son how to deal with people who have other commitments, how to schedule things in advance and how to stick up for himself.  Yes, I could call registration and have his section changed and get a new facilitator overnight but I want my son to have the life skills of dealing with difficult people and situations and sticking things out.  Better he learns this skill now at 11, when I can guide him than when he is 20 and working for a 'stupid boss'.

 

I also know my son has a skewed view of things at times.  Sometimes he sees a situation one way, in his 11 yr old eyes, and as a parent its my job to get the teacher's view as well.  Granted both parties probably have a skewed view and reality is somewhere in the middle.  As a parent its my job to help DS see a situation for what it is, that not everything is a crisis but not everything can be blown off either.

 

** I am both a mom and a teacher in the public school system for grades 7-12.  My son is homeschooled and I run a homeschool tween/teen group.  Hopefully that gives you an idea where I'm coming from in this post.

 


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#7 of 16 Old 10-27-2011, 01:56 AM
 
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Hugs Lisa.  I second getting her checked out for mental health issues.... just to rule it out.


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#8 of 16 Old 10-27-2011, 08:41 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Her issues have gone on for years. My issues (the pregnancy and the depression) are recent. In the here and now, she tells me that she does not like the kids in orchestra, they snub her. So, I asked her orchestra teacher how she felt Brittany was getting along and she said the kids are trying to include her, but that my daughter often shuts them out and will go in to a practice room by herself instead of socializing, that sort of thing.

 

The only thing I can think of that could be a factor in this (other than the depression) is she has hearing issues. She used to be hearing impaired and now has auditory processing disorder so maybe she is just not getting what people say to her. She has had troubles in class before because the teacher will say stuff and she will miss it. Myself, at home, I speak to her slowly quite often. If I talk normal, I often have to repeat myself. So maybe that is causing her social issues.

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Originally Posted by zebra15 View Post

This is just view.  My son is homeschooled.  Its not a walk in the park by any means. BUT over the years he has learned 'the buck stops here'.  We have gradually moved from unschooling to something that resembles books and online classes.  My 11 yr old is learning to deal with deadlines, assignments and the 'mean mommy'.  

 

Lisa, I know you are dealing with some other issues in your life as well, could it be that your 15 yr old is feeding off that and just being 15?  Could she be playing the 'drama' card for all its worth?

 

You said she 'hates' everything, yes that is what she is telling you but what would happen if you had a conference with the school. What would the school, the staff, the teachers, what would they tell you?  What did the camp communicate to you?  I bet if there was such 'hate' and unhappiness at the summer camp, someone in administration or counseling would have called you for a conference, phone meeting or something.  Adults do not let kids 'hate' everything for weeks on end- especially at a summer camp where there is a ton of supervision.

 

Back to my 11 yr old.  He is learning to deal with teachers he doesn't like. He takes one online class at a time from a rather highly regarded program in the states.  Some online teachers are better than others.  Honestly its about 50/50.  This time we have an awful 'teacher', but the experience is teaching my son how to deal with people who have other commitments, how to schedule things in advance and how to stick up for himself.  Yes, I could call registration and have his section changed and get a new facilitator overnight but I want my son to have the life skills of dealing with difficult people and situations and sticking things out.  Better he learns this skill now at 11, when I can guide him than when he is 20 and working for a 'stupid boss'.

 

I also know my son has a skewed view of things at times.  Sometimes he sees a situation one way, in his 11 yr old eyes, and as a parent its my job to get the teacher's view as well.  Granted both parties probably have a skewed view and reality is somewhere in the middle.  As a parent its my job to help DS see a situation for what it is, that not everything is a crisis but not everything can be blown off either.

 

** I am both a mom and a teacher in the public school system for grades 7-12.  My son is homeschooled and I run a homeschool tween/teen group.  Hopefully that gives you an idea where I'm coming from in this post.

 



 

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#9 of 16 Old 10-27-2011, 08:43 AM - Thread Starter
 
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And she has an appointment that I made last year coming up in November for possible depression. It takes a long time here to get an appointment. But these problems have gone on long enough that I did make her an appointment that long ago.

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#10 of 16 Old 10-27-2011, 08:50 PM
 
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When I was first diagnosed I took Effexor XR. Since then I have taken Zoloft and Wellbutrin. All worked extremely well and quickly. My nephew who is 16 and has been suffering with depression and anxiety for the past year just got put on Prozac, it is working great for him...he is like a new kid, happy, smiley, loving school....before he would come home and go to bed, cry all night....I hope you find a solution soon.
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#11 of 16 Old 10-28-2011, 09:22 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lisa1970 View Post

The only thing I can think of that could be a factor in this (other than the depression) is she has hearing issues. She used to be hearing impaired and now has auditory processing disorder so maybe she is just not getting what people say to her. She has had troubles in class before because the teacher will say stuff and she will miss it. Myself, at home, I speak to her slowly quite often. If I talk normal, I often have to repeat myself. So maybe that is causing her social issues.



 



Now this sounds like you're hitting the nail on the head... there's a reason why Deaf people have their own culture!  (Not that I'm saying we should segregate anyone, but language goes hand-in-hand with society/culture and feelings of belonging.)  Hearing impairment (or auditory processing disorders) could *definitely* interfere with the way a person views the world.

 

Some kids just are pessimistic, and some of that comes from popular culture - my daughter really enjoys singing in my adult choral group, but it takes a lot of work for her to put off her "I don't give a crap about anything" face.

 

I agree that doing stuff for others could make a huge impact on her worldview.  Even if it is depression, doing something for someone else every single day is a known antidote to mild depression (was it Adler who said that?  Or his mentor?).  And the negative attitude could be creating a vicious cycle...  Is there something she cares passionately about that she could do some volunteerwork in?  Say tutoring younger kids with impairments, or volunteering at some sort of centre or...  My DD is 16 and looooves horses and although she doesn't much like kids, she started volunteering in a special needs program at a stable on the other side of the city.

 

Good luck with this...


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#12 of 16 Old 10-29-2011, 06:13 AM
 
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I wonder if there are any social skills classes for 15 year olds where you live. They have them where I am, and you don't have to have a diagnosis to get in. That might help her learn to deal with the snubbing and other social behavior she doesn't like.

Receptive language issues could definitely be a part of this. Is there any treatment/therapy for that? Maybe just doing a social skills class can help her deal with problems caused by the receptive language issues.

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#13 of 16 Old 10-29-2011, 09:37 PM
 
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How is it going Lisa?


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#14 of 16 Old 10-30-2011, 11:07 AM - Thread Starter
 
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How is it going Lisa?



I made her go to a party tonight she was invited to. She was not happy about it. But, I made her go anyway and made her dress up. But I did not have to push her super hard (as I mentioned before, when I tell her she has to do something, she generally just does it. She is a very complaint and nice child really). Anyway, she went as a flapper. When she walked in, the kids seemed very happy to see her. Some wanted to take pictures and told her her costume was great. The party was supposed to go until 10pm. I told her I would be back at 9. I got back at 9:30 actually. She asked to stay another hour. This was fine. I came back at 10:30pm and she asked for another 20 minutes. So she had a great time.

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#15 of 16 Old 10-30-2011, 07:34 PM
 
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that's great!!


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#16 of 16 Old 10-30-2011, 08:55 PM
 
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I had similar issues when I was 15, but I tried to hide my issues for a long time...yes it is a part of teen culture to complain about things and maybe the hearing issue could have intensified that habit.  For me, I stopped going to school and my parents were not open to and uninformed about homeschooling, so I went several months without going to school...just couldn't do it.  I was diagnosed with depression, prescribed medication and maybe it did something for me, but it didn't make it easier for me to go to school, it mostly just made it easier for me to deal with my family criticizing me about my issues.  I eventually decided to move with my dad and started going to school there.  It did help change my worldview, but it was tough... when I ran out of my medication there my dad didn't let me get a refill.  I seemed to actually do better after I stopped taking my meds... I spent a lot of time by myself, listening to music, writing, dancing, just finding things to be interested in...

 

I had a few more similar episodes throughout my teen/young adult years...it eventually led me to the work I do now... helping kids and teens create an empowering lifestyle/life direction for themselves through rites of passage and ceremonies...I really do think that is a great way to help kids get out of limiting patterns...especially at the age of 15, when things become very convoluted as experiences, responsibilities and bodies change so drastically.  Ritual of some sort could also really help.

 

If this was my 15 year old, (and though I've worked with teens I have very little kids, so this is just my 2 cents), I'd take a path including some form of regular activity, volunteering, a class, a hobby, an apprenticeship of some sort, and then I'd look into finding a rites of passage program or helping her create a ceremony... maybe in addition to that I would add another form of regular activity in her life...some extra responsibility that will take some learning and create confidence in her... like maybe cooking dinner or breakfast on the weekends or helping in the garden or helping to create meal plans or doing laundry or finding activities for you all to do as a family. 

 

I'd also try to make sure she's eating well, sleeping well and getting enough sunshine and exercise.  Those 4 can be so important to mental health.  If she's too tired to be enthusiastic, her energy will be low and her mood may be low as well... making sure she's eating enough and eating well, getting enough sleep and not having disturbing dreams or limited sleep due to stress and getting enough physical activity can do wonders!

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