Need more help...

Avatar for chyndra2002
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Registered: 04-05-2003
Need more help...
9
Tue, 04-08-2003 - 8:41am
It's Chyndra again...I feel as if I'm hogging the board...anyway, I really appreciate all who replied..It feels SO good to hear that my expectations of my dd are not unreasonable - What make it really hard to be tough on my dd is that my parents were so easy on me..BUT..I was a pretty good kid, I hardly ever answered rudely or did things my parents would be upset about...so, I honestly cannot apply my own upbringing experiences to my daughter, since we are completely different.

My husband and I argue a lot about this...he wants me to stop doing things for her, such as driving her and her friends everywhere, doing her laundry, packing her lunch, buying her things , etc...He feels that if she really wants to be so grown up, then let her do everything for herself...then she can see how "mean" her mother really was. .

Well, I find this hard, my parents did everything for me, and it didn't make me spoiled, it just made me grateful and I felt so lucky...But from the advice I've been reading from you all, I see that I really have to change, I'm far too soft.

Anyway...besides the overall attitude problem, ( and mean to her little brother, I forgot to add...always calling him "loser" and "fat" etc...) I have a very urgent matter at hand...Because my dd has always excelled in school, (97% average), and both my husband and I were concerned about the unfortunate public school system in our area, we enrolled her in a private school for girls, which is about 5 min away from our home.. She wears a uniform and it is a fantastic academic environment which encourages young girls to excel not only in academics, but athletics and social programs ( the school makes the girls get involved in lots of charity & social awareness-type activities). The fact that there are no boys is a downer for the girls, but since most teen girls are so insecure at that age, the fact that there are no boys to impress and to worry about whether or not your clothes are cool enough, is one of the things that practically ensures that the graduates of this highschool have very high marks, and that once they get to college, they have a developed so much self-confidence and academic strengths, they just continue to achieve.

She has only been there since last fall, and at first she loved it and was very excited about going...Well, for the past two months she has done nothing but complain about how much she hates it. She really wants to go to the public highschool where all her friends go...but their school marks are not even close to hers..and her friends wouldn't have had a chance in the world of being accepted at the school she now attends...The public highschool in my area is in such a sorry state, lockers are broken, overcrowded classrooms, teachers with scarce resources, broken textbooks with missing pages, and practically no supervision...(there are over 1,500 students in the school compared to 500 in the private school ..so you can't really blame the teachers). A lot of good kids do go to the public highschool, and do very well...however, here I am, middle income, and even though I have to cut back on things, I can afford to send my dd to the private school..She has made friends and her marks are still excellent..but she feels she doesn't fit in...most of the girls that attend the school are from high income families, and as I said before, we are not. She feels that a lot of these girls are snobby and different from her old friends in the public highschool...My husband said to transfer her to the public school for next fall...she is really giving us a hard time about it, and he's fed up..He knows that the school she now attends is far better, but he doesn't want to put up with her crying and complaining any more. Once she switches, there's no going back...We have to register in the public school within the next few weeks, or there might be no room for her in the fall of 2003 and she'll have to be bussed who knows where...I am so against all this...my husband is just fed up...Please, some advice - Thanks.

Avatar for sabrtooth
iVillage Member
Registered: 12-03-1999
Tue, 04-08-2003 - 10:11pm
You are probably not going to like what I have to say--so be forewarned. I agree with your husband. Your dd is disrespectful, demanding, & callous, so obviously she is NOT grateful that you do everything for her. She is spoiled. There is NO reason that a 13yo, ESPECIALLY one who is apparently in High School, cannot AT LEAST do her own laundry, make her own bed, pack her own lunch & make do on her allowance. This is NOT punishment, this is how you raise a child to be capable & self reliant. Achieving good grades is only PART of what you want your children to accomplish.

As regards the all-girls school, growing up Catholic in Chicago, as I did, practically guarantees you are an EXPERT on same sex schools. You say "...the fact that there are no boys to impress and to worry about whether or not your clothes are cool enough is one of the things that practically ensures that the graduates of this highschool have very high marks, and that once they get to college, they have a developed so much self-confidence and academic strengths, they just continue to achieve." BALONEY. That's the school's sales pitch talking! These girls find plenty of boys they want to impress--hanging on the corner, at the park, or at the all-boys school across the street. What happens outside of school is WELL KNOWN in school, and the girls jocky for position, and fight over who's going out with who & who should keep their hands off who JUST as much as in a mixed school. And even with uniforms, kids STILL know who's "cool" & who isn't--they'd know it with their eyes closed!! The reason kids develop self confidence & academic strengths is because their FAMILY encourages & expects them to, REGARDLESS of where they attend school. My girls attended a public hs that has 3300 kids in it--PLUS, they have ADD. They were in Honors & AP classes, in Symphony, Marching Band, & Drama. The school requires 24 hours of community service to graduate--they both did more. They also worked at least 15hrs a week since they turned 16. They got good grades, did fine on their ACT's, got accepted to the colleges they wanted & are doing well there. My neice is in a small, private, all-girls Catholic high school. Girls in HER school are pregnant, busted for DUI, suspended for drugs. It's not the school that makes the difference, it's the upbringing. Sure, in a school with problems, there is more TEMPTATION. But if you are on top of your kids, and if they have a good relationship with you, and you EXPECT & ENCOURAGE the best, and GET INVOLVED at the school, they'll do fine.

Realizing that the teen years are sometimes the HARDEST for parents to navigate, there's a GREAT book..."Get Out of My Life, but First Could You Drive Me and Cheryl to the Mall?: A Parents Guide to the New Teenager" Here's a link...

http://books.reviewindex.com/reviews/0374528535.html

Avatar for chyndra2002
iVillage Member
Registered: 04-05-2003
Wed, 04-09-2003 - 8:03am
Thank you for you reply. I realize that many public highschools are great, regardless of their size, that the majority of the kids do well. (Both my husband & I went to a public highschool, I was an honour student and went on to graduate from college, my husband barely made it out of his, and never got a college degree, and neither did any of the friends he hung out with - so it's not so much whether its public or private, but each individual school should be judged on its own merit. ) I am happy the H.S. in your area is a good one for your children, and you are very lucky. BUT, the one in my area is not.

My topic is not on private vs.public schools - which is better in general, but on which is better for my daughter, who is so difficult and on the verge of major rebellious behaviour. I am worried about letting her leave an environment that really encourages her academic abilities...I know my daughter, in a public school, she WILL spend more time hanging out and her marks WILL drop...I see the kids that go there now, and boy, some of them have really changed...and I 'm afraid my daughter will also. She went on a field trip yesterday with her school, and when I dropped her off in the morning, there were so many girls waiting for her, and she's meeting some girls after school today to work on a project...so, I don't know what her problem is...she certainly does not lack friendships, and she likes her teachers...I'm afraid that one of the major reasons she wants to switch, is to spite me...if not the ONLY reason.

So, basically, my question is: If you felt that school A was the really best for your child, and you did not like school B, would you let her make the decision to switch?

Thank you. - Chyndra




Avatar for heartsandroses2002
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Registered: 03-26-2003
Wed, 04-09-2003 - 3:15pm
Hi Chyndra,

The bottom line is that YOU are the parent and YOU are the one who gets to make the choices and decisions right now for your dd. If you are not confident that the local public HS can sufficiently educate your dd to your standards, then keep her at the private school you've chosen for her. If you are strong in your convictions that she is in the right educational setting, then don't allow her whining to sway you. She sounds like a good student with good study habits and enough friends. It sounds as though she will have many opportunities to do what she likes outside of the school hours on her own time, within reason.

No one ever said being a parent and raising children would be an easy task or that said children would go through it without ever hearing them complain about the decisions we parents make for them. I think you should stop comparing your dd to yourself at her age - this is a different world and even if it weren't, this is HER experience, not yours.

As far as comparing the public school to a private school setting, there is no comparison. Sabrtooth is correct when she says it's all in the raising of a child, and I would add that sometimes even that isn't a contributing factor. There are children who are raised in homes and inner-city environments that are filled with constant, extreme conflict and many of those children come out to be high achievers despite poor odds. Equally, I've met kids who have had all the advantages of attending private, ivy-league level schools and they are bigtime losers who think life owes them more. You can never tell. I have a child who attends the local HS, which I would rate as average, and she is struggling through it all as she has many neurological disorders that prevent her from being a high achiever. BUT, she has a tremendous amout of compassion and empathy for others and the amazing ability to accept herself among her peers as someone with special qualities to contribute - despite her academic failures. She will be a winner in the end.

Have your dd fix her own lunches, make her own beds, do her own laundry, and be responsible to her family in other small ways so that she focuses on her capabilities as a contributing human being and family member. It isn't all about good grades - it's about integrity and learning how to develop into a self sufficient adult who can get along with others, even under the most excrutiating circumstances.

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Thu, 04-10-2003 - 12:46am
Some thoughts ...

First off, I also did way too much for my now nearly 19 yo dd, but she was easy, very rarely did I even have to hand out consequences. BUT - when she did have an attitude (and she could!) of a lack of thankfulness or showing appreciation or doing something in return, I did just not do as much for awhile since the idea here was that I did not drive her everywhere AND her friends because it was my obligation; I didn't go out of my way to do the myriad of things I did for her because it was part of my parental responsibility. And sometimes doing too much really does backfire and they do need to learn to appreciate.

I think if your dd DOES have friends at her school that she *could* have gotten this idea to go to the other HS and now, with you opposing her on it, it's mushroomed. IF that's the case, and you can't know that right *now*, tell her to make this kind of choice, she needs to show that she has the maturity to make it. Tell her she has "x" number of weeks to show respect, courtesy, help without being asked around the house, not once or twice but on a REGULAR DAILY basis. That she needs to do her homework without being told, to listen to you as she expects to be listened to. Tell her she isn't going to win any friends if she treats them as she treats her sibling, and that if she calls her brother ONE MORE name, she will be showing she does NOT know how to respect, that respect is learned at home first. Put the ball into her court. If she REALLY wants to go to the other HS, she will work for it. If it's not just pushing for it because you don't want it. Tell her there are all kinds of scenarios that go on at the other HS that cause you to think if she cannot learn to toe the line, respect authority, show respect for herself AND others around her in her own home and learn she needs to EARN the right to make decisions then she will not be able to resist the different temptations or distractions the other HS might hold.

I agree with Sabr also that public vs private have no guarantees. My dd went to a public school her entire life. I also have some serious reservations about it, but I've seen bad things go on at the private HSs too. And yes, girls in all-girl schools DO know who is in, who's not; and argue about guys. I also know of several HSs AND MSs that I would NEVER send my kids to because of the fact that some schools are NOT going to work for your individual kid for any number of reasons.

That said though, the issue is more about your dd learning self-discipline and regaining your footing with her as the parent ... which does need you to set your foot down and help her to realize what you DO do for her by not doing it for periods of time. My dd didn't want to help when *I* needed it? Well ... then I guess I can't *help* her when she wanted to go somewhere and couldn't without my driving her because of the bus situation in our area. Or she took the 1.5 hr public transportation to her HS over getting a 20 min drive from me. She complained about her laundry not being done *when* she wanted it or *how* she wanted it done once too often and I haven't washed a sock of hers since (which was GOOD for her - AND me - it ended the resentment on both sides when she was made to take responsibliity for her own clothing).

I was too soft on her too often, too, so I do know where you're coming from. My parents also didn't do a whole lot in these ways for me; I cannot remember ever getting a ride somewhere or my friends and I being driven or whatever but it also produced in me a real natural desire to GIVE BACK ...

Put the ball into her court and see what she does with it. Don't nag. Don't remind her all the time. State it once, clearly and see where it goes. THEN you can make a decision in a few weeks. Just make sure she knows that even IF she complies, it's not a guarantee. That in the end, it is STILL up to you to decide but that after a few weeks of HEr conscientious effort to prove herself in these ways that you WILL listen to her with 'new ears' ... good luck!

Avatar for chyndra2002
iVillage Member
Registered: 04-05-2003
Thu, 04-10-2003 - 7:57am
Thank you for your kind words and advice...I don't know HOW my DD got to the point where she is so rude and disrespectful towards me, my DH and my son. What made her that way in the first place? I feel it is my fault, I've been too soft and forgiving, and I'm always looking for the good side to people, so even when I should have NOT accepted certain behaviour and words from her, I did, just to avoid confrontation and unpleasantness around the house...I know it sounds stupid, but that's the way it is...I'm always playing referee, it's like I blow the whistle and stop the behaviour while it's happening, but ofcourse, like in sports, rough players keep on being rough, even if they are put in the penatly box once in a while.

Believe it or not, with others she is an ANGEL. You cannot imagine how many mothers tell me how nice my dd is, and how she is the most polite and considerate friend their daughters have, and oh, she is just so respectful.. Her teachers say the same things" A joy to have in the class, very conscientous, organized, disciplined and well-mannered" ( Then WHY is she the exact opposite at home..obviously, she knows HOW to behave, she just chooses not to at home)

Anyways, we will apply to the public school...she really hates the private school. I asked her how come she looks so happy when she's there, and how she obviously has friends, she said, not all the girls are mean, but most of them are..she said she just tries to make the best of her day by getting along and going through the motions...Honestly, I don't know what to believe. I will talk to the administrators at the school, and tell them exactly what's going on...maybe they can shed some light, and even keep a place open for her if she changes her mind by the summer. I hope so... Thanks again.

Avatar for heartsandroses2002
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Registered: 03-26-2003
Thu, 04-10-2003 - 9:51am
Why is she an angel outside the home and then not at home? I hear the same exact thing from my dd's teachers, etc. Our family counselor explained to us that the reason for this Jekyll/Hyde personality switch is because when your dd is at home, she's secure and comfortable - its her safe place. She could be "putting on a face" all day or when visiting other's homes because she was raised to be polite and respectful (a testament to your parenting skills, really), but then when she's at home, she can cut loose, so to speak. She can relax and if she's feeling cranky or irritable, she can let it show. Our counselor explained that our dd wasn't exactly hating us or deliberately being rude to ONLY us, she was simply feeling at home or comfortable in allowing her feelings to show as she was more relaxed in our presence than she might be in the presence of others. She's able to express this 'dark' side easily at home because you've made it okay to do so in a way by making sure she's always felt loved and secure in her position as a 'good kid'. A few years ago when I had to have my first of many meetings with my dd's (13)teachers (due to her disorders), the teachers were amazed at the description I gave of some of my dd's behaviors at home - they claimed that she was always respectful and helpful and polite. And my older dd (15) who has always been the easy one and almost never has had to be punished or reprimanded only recently began behaving a little surly and rude around the house, calling her sister names or just plain being 'mean'. At first I was in shock, but as soon as I recovered, we had a talk about 'rights' and 'privileges' and what the consequences would be...she got it, although she needs reminders every now and again. All her friends' parents tell me how sweet she is (and I know she can be) but I always laugh and tell them to come live with her...lol

Your dd is at an age where she's developing and growing and needs to separate from you and part of that shows itself by behaving in ways that are VERY different from what you're used to. It's natural for the adolescent to "suddenly" develop her own (very strong) opinions and feelings about things that she otherwise would agree with you about. It being natural, however, doesn't make it easier to deal with, especially if your dd is behaving in a spoiled manner or being fresh and rude. Hang in there - it'll all work out.

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Thu, 04-10-2003 - 12:09pm
Was this the book that you recommended once before? I searched the archives but couldn't find it. My mom works in a library. I asked her to pick it up for me. I think I need it.
Avatar for heartsandroses2002
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Thu, 04-10-2003 - 1:22pm
It's a great book - I've just finished reading it and now my dh is going to read it as well. It really helps to demystify the teen's way of viewing life and certain situations!
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Fri, 04-11-2003 - 8:10pm
heartsandroses made a very valid point; our teens' home is their refuge (hopefully). It is with us that they will act out more because they know they are loved even at the worst.

Respect is a two way street, but it begins with self. You can still see the good in people and put your foot down. My neighbor once told me that she looks at it this way: if God changed the rules all the time we would never feel secure. We all need boundaries, and we also all need to know what our own personal boundaries are. I have pretty wide open ones but there are some things that NEVER are just overlooked or let go; lying, having a bad, thankless or 'taking something for granted, I deserve it' attitude & outright, deliberate disrespect are my top 3, 'do NOT cross this boundary'. My daughters know without a doubt that they are loved, forgiveable, and human, just as I am, but they also know what the boundaries are without doubt. You love in spite of mistakes; overlooking *some* is choosing your battles which we all do but it's important to show love through discipline. The root of the word 'discipline' is 'to teach' - not to punish. Being able to get away with too much doesn't make a person feel safe OR loved. Not setting boundaries for yourself or your daughter doesn't do anyone any good. If you respect your own self enough, you will ensure that she HAS to respect you, too. She will still push limits - but there is a difference between pushing limits and continual disrespect ...

I hope it works out with the new school. It can be a really tough thing, to know what the best thing is to do, esp when we can't fully understand THEIR "whys" of something. And yes, there are always extenuating circumstances at times, which will cause me to still respond to something but may change the outcome of how I choose to deal with it but they also know that I AM *choosing* to deal with it differently and *why* so they don't think it's a precedent.

HUGS.