Stepdaughter refuses to go to school... - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 3 Old 09-09-2014, 12:16 PM - Thread Starter
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Stepdaughter refuses to go to school...

A little back story-

I've been with my fiance for 3 years, his Wife passed away 4 1/2 years ago. He has three children. We're having trouble with the oldest, his 14 year old daughter.

She's in a rebellious stage- lots of makeup, clothes too old for her, dying her hair, doing whatever she wants, whenever she wants, no discipline works. (I'm also in a hard place because they are "my" children as well, as their Mother passed away, but my fiance has the main say, though she listens to him less than she listens to me.) My stepdaughter also suffers from Depression because of the loss of her Mother, and is being treated for it. Discipline is only followed if somebody is literally on top of her 24/7. If you so much as blink or turn your head, she's doing what she's not supposed to do, so taking away her computer, etc, doesn't work, 'cause she'll take over somebody else's computer when you take 5 minutes to go to the bathroom. Telling her she can't go anywhere doesn't work either, when it's a constant battle, her Grandparents show up out of the blue (called by her under stealth settings) to bring her somewhere and then she talks them into bringing her somewhere else afterwards, etc. Whatever it is, if there's a way around if, she'll find it. Out other children are 19 (special needs), 10, 7 (high maintenance) and 3 (special needs), so even if one of us devotes all our attention to SD 14, that leaves one adult to take care of four children and the housework and everything else. The clothing/appearance thing sucks, but okay, whatever, but the schooling thing... I don't know what to do with her, my fiance doesn't know what to do with her.

Here's how SD14's schooling has been the last couple years...

6th grade, I met my fiance and his children, all three were in a private school over an hour away from their home, in a different state than their home. Private school worked the best, but it's not a financial option at the moment, plus, SD14 was really bad about getting ready on time, by the end of the year, was missing the bus 3-4 times a week, causing my fiance to have to drive her to school every morning. Over an hour each way. He doesn't have the time, nor the money for gas, to do so.

7th grade, she started in public school, basically decided she didn't like it and refused to go, was either "sick" every day or plain out refused to leave for school. It got so bad, the school actually threatened to report the family if she didn't start coming to school. About 8 weeks into school, my fiance pulled her from public school and put her in home schooling, with her Grandparents, which are his parents. This option worked best, however, the cost of the homeschooling program of my Stepdaughter's choice (she wanted only a certain program, and nothing else would do), is not in our budget and it's taken a lot out of her Grandparents to homeschool her and nobody else is able to homeschool her at the moment.

8th grade, SD14 homeschooled and did brilliantly, however, as she got no social interaction during "school" hours, she expected me, my fiance and our other four children to devote almost out entire weekends towards her social life, which my fiance and I had differing opinions on. My fiance is hesitant to deny his children what they want because he feels bad they lost their Mother. While I understand, I disagree. Homeschooling, or the results of it socially, was a big stresser for me and my fiance, and for my fiance and his oldest daughter.

9th grade, this year. SD14 started a week ago, in an exclusive, chartered public school, but it's rated at least as good as any private school. She's already missed today and yesterday because of "headaches". She refuses to go to school and me or my fiance cannot physically pick her up and make her go. And if we did, the other children would not get the specified attention they needed to get them out the door to school in the morning. My fiance is talking about maybe switching her to one of the two public schools in the area, but I can tell you right now, after a week or two, she will do the same thing- refuse to go. I don't see either as viable options.

The reason why she says she doesn't want to go to school is because it stresses her out to have to handle all that work. (She is a perfectionist.) The reason why she previously said she didn't want to go to school in earlier grades was because she didn't fit in. (While I believe that everybody should be able to dress more or less how they liked, and nobody should be picked on because they don't look like everybody else, I do see why she didn't fit in, because she keeps altering her appearance and then getting offended if somebody her age comments on it, even if not negatively.)

What to do, what to do? Are there any other options for my SD14's education? My fiance and I have five very intelligent children, all five gifted, at least three of them highly gifted, and the only one who could honestly be described as an "easy child" is my SS10.

SD14 is brilliant, I mean really brilliant, scary intelligent sometimes, and she's got the drive to do anything, a true overachiever. But she's ruining her life with refusing to go to school thing and that kills me there. Can you guys help me think of options that might work as far as my stepdaughter's schooling?

I pray for the day Family Court recognizes that CHILDREN have rights, parents only have PRIVILEGES.  Only then, will I know my child is safe.
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#2 of 3 Old 09-10-2014, 03:04 PM
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Because she is in treatment for depression, I would start with her therapist and see what he/she can add to the conversation.

Does her current school provide services such as a social worker or services for kids with emotional and behavior disorders? Is she on a 504 or IEP for emotional problems? Some charters do a great job of supporting kids with challenges, some just try to run them out. I'm not sure whatyou mean by "exclussive charter" as charters are pulbic schools and not allowed to be exclusive, but whatever quality you are picking up on may make a poor choice for a teen with emotional problems.

There are teens who don't go to school and who aren't ruining their lives because they are doing other productive things.
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but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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#3 of 3 Old 02-19-2016, 03:31 PM
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Huh.. sounds a bit like my son

He's 14 but he's still got his mom - Hello! - I was sifting through messages to see if anyone else was dealing with stuff like this, my son is 14. No divorce or separation just my kid going off the rails even more than usual. What DO you do with a kid that big and that old that just doesn't want to go to school? He will often cite a headache or stomach trouble. We also deal with a lot of lying like "Of course I don't have any homework!" And then get a report card saying he nearly failed a course due to not doing homework. He is in some personal war with his homeroom teacher. Last year he was tested for giftedness and just barely did not make the cut. The test has caused no end of grief and trouble. I occasionally have panic attacks about what we're going to have to deal with in high school.
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