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How do I help a child that doesn't care?

She is 16 wishing to be 8...saying at this age was the last happy memories she has...she loves science and reading and is a very smart little girl but she doesn't see a need in getting any sort of education...I have told her you can't get a job without a diploma she seems to believe me but doesn't see a need. this has been going on since 1st grade and she is in 10th grade now. She has repeated the 3rd grade and will be doing so for 10th grade. Please help!

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concernedmom204

Asked by concernedmom204 at 2:46 PM on Mar. 27, 2013 in Teens (13-17)

Level 1 (3 Credits)
Answers (10)
  • Why were her last happy memories at age eight? What happened to her in the third grade? This may be something she needs to talk with a counselor about. Without knowing that, you're trying to solve the symptoms of a problem without knowing what the real problem is.

    What does she want to do with her life? Does she have future plans, or is she just going to be eight and under someone's care forever?
    Ballad

    Answer by Ballad at 2:49 PM on Mar. 27, 2013

  • When she was 8 my youngest son was born. she says that her last happy memory was at 8 but I know for a fact she has had and said she has had happy moments since then. she is currently talking to a counselor and so far all this has done is gotten her a script for some sleep aids...I don't see why the counselor doesn't hear me when I say she doesn't care about her work...my daughter says she doesn't see a need and the coulselor says will let's try this sleep aid that in non addictive...Um ok but what about her school work? My daughter has had schooling issues since 1st grade but when I asked a teacher about it they would always tell me she will grow out of it. She had to repeat the third grade cause she didn't even try and I was the one that held her back the teacher passed her because she didn't want my child in her class again. I have taken everything away from her and she doesn't care...I'm lost as to what to do.
    concernedmom204

    Comment by concernedmom204 (original poster) at 3:05 PM on Mar. 27, 2013

  • are there any medical reasons? *eye issues or dyslexia or anything?

    try a different counselor. My daughter had a worthless one, then after we moved got a really good one that did more in 4 months than the first guy did in over a year.
    charlotsomtimes

    Answer by charlotsomtimes at 3:26 PM on Mar. 27, 2013

  • She wears glasses and there might be a dyslexia problem but there again when requesting a test for this teachers and coulselors buck the idea and say she's just lazy.

    I'm in the process of looking for a different counselor now but have really just started and don't know where to look.
    concernedmom204

    Comment by concernedmom204 (original poster) at 3:34 PM on Mar. 27, 2013

  • I can believe it. Motivation problems can start (or get established) early. Especially when there are power struggles, or when a parent assumes responsibility for the child's "motivation."
    Of course she has literally had some happy times & experiences since age 8, but you are not going to gain much by engaging her in a debate over her statement.
    She likely does realize the truth of what you're saying about diplomas ("she seems to believe me") but until you return responsibility to the person to whom it belongs, she won't really be free to act in her own best interest (because she's too caught in the pattern of resisting your control. Even to her own detriment.)
    This transition can be a challenge if the parent has assumed responsibility for school/homework over a long period, which certainly sounds like the case. Don't expect an easy time, either for you relinquishing control or for your daughter reassuming self-responsibility.
    girlwithC

    Answer by girlwithC at 3:59 PM on Mar. 27, 2013

  • hmmm I could see this being the situation if I had done her homework for her as she was going through school. I never did do her work help yes but not do for her. She is 16 and she openly admits she does not want to drive, admits and has proven that she can not remember which peddle is the brake and which is the gas. She refuses to do her school work becuase she does not see a need in doing the work or even have an education in general. I have always put school work before everything and I think that is what she resents. the fact that she can't do what others maybe doing that is "fun" while she works at something that to her is irrelevant to her life. So she doesn't even bring home the homework. I was informed by a teacher of her's that they were taking a quiz a few weeks ago and she refused to take the quiz! I have let her totally dig her own hole. she will have to get herself out now and she will be repeating the 10th grade.
    concernedmom204

    Comment by concernedmom204 (original poster) at 4:13 PM on Mar. 27, 2013

  • The counselor may be responding to an issue she/he has been hearing from your daughter, and thinking that better rest might be a good place to start. I would feel pretty discouraged if a therapist seemed to focus only on pharmaceutical "answers" but it might be a mistake to assume that. It's possible the counselor is hoping to dial things down a bit in your home, and this might be reflected in efforts to reassure you or to project a calm/relaxed attitude toward the problems (versus pathologizing the situation & your child.)

    What if you said (to the therapist) something like, "I'm noticing that my daughter seems to lack motivation/initiative, showing no interest in school or in her future, and I wonder if this developed in REACTION to something, like something got out of whack with control, and this impasse is the result. How can I help to create an environment that supports her freedom to begin acting on her own behalf?"
    girlwithC

    Answer by girlwithC at 4:16 PM on Mar. 27, 2013

  • In response to what you wrote, I was not talking about doing her homework for her. I was talking about taking responsibility in the sense of taking it on as YOUR job to make her do it, make sure she did it, etc. Initiative doesn't come from that, particularly if there is a lot of struggle involved.
    She can develop into total passivity & avoidance in order NOT to be controlled, even though this only hurts her. Exactly: digging her own hole.
    Kids become adept at NOT having a "handle" anyway, so that parents CAN'T find leverage. (They don't "want" anything, so parents can't withhold it or take it away. If you don't "want" to drive or get a license, then nobody can hold it over your head, using it as incentive or a consequence.) Kids can get out of touch with what they want, or how to take constructive action, if they are oriented toward resisting control or NOT being controlled, from early on.
    girlwithC

    Answer by girlwithC at 4:21 PM on Mar. 27, 2013

  • In response to: "What if you said (to the therapist) something like, "I'm noticing that my daughter seems to lack motivation/initiative, showing no interest in school or in her future, and I wonder if this developed in REACTION to something, like something got out of whack with control, and this impasse is the result. How can I help to create an environment that supports her freedom to begin acting on her own behalf?"

    I have said this to the counselor and her response was ok I'll talk to her and see what's going on. I asked my duaghter abotu it after the appointment and she says nothing was said. I'm about ready to tell the counselor she's worhtless cause she isn't working with what info I give her. Not saying I'm right just saying "hey this is what daughter is telling me and what I am seeing" can you help with this?
    concernedmom204

    Comment by concernedmom204 (original poster) at 4:42 PM on Mar. 27, 2013

  • as for the controlling thought? this year has totally been hers...I told her if she needed help I would other than that I was steping out of that parent roll and letting her sink or swim. she chose to sink. I haven't taken anything away from her in years because it doesn't affect her. I can give her rewards or take things away and nothing works with her. she will make due with what she has and still ask for more. Christmas for example: I went off on her not doing her work and made her upset. 5 minutes later she came to me asking for a camera for Christmas. I asked if she felt she deserved it after the talk we had about her school work and her reply was sure why not? No, she didn't get a camera because gifts were already bought and when told she was ok that's cool and went bouncing away like it was no biggie to her. She doesn't care if I get on her case or not yes partly because she's a teen. but I believe there is more to it.
    concernedmom204

    Comment by concernedmom204 (original poster) at 4:51 PM on Mar. 27, 2013

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