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my 13 yr old daughter has given up on life :'(

Posted by on Jan. 4, 2012 at 2:14 PM
  • 24 Replies

i'm a 32 yr old single mother of two girls, 10 and 13.  it seems recently my 13 yr old has given up.  she has been to school 3 days out of the last month.  she has no interest in anything that doesn't involve hanging out with her friends.  we moved to newark de from a small farm town in maryland in aug and she had to start a new school.  before moving we discussed it a lot and we agreed together to do it so it's not like i yanked her away from her life against her will and made her move.  it was a decision we agreed on as a family.  i go to school in newark and she wanted to pursue dancing and the place we used to live had no where for her to do that.  she started dancing at a school close to where we live then decided she didn't like it and quit and said she wanted to find a new dance school so i told her after the holidays we would find her another school.  also the middle school that she went to when we first moved she hated.  she said she was being harrassed by some boys and the school is very different than what she has been used to.  she went from a school of about 300-400 students to a school of 1,400 and its been a bit of a culture shock for her, so i switched her to a different school, which she said she liked better and she was actually making some friends but now she is back to refusing to go to school.  idk what to do.  i have taken away her priveledges and not allowed her to go back to our hometown on weekends to visit her friends hoping that would motivate her to get up and go to school to regain those priveledges but it doesn't work.  she just sits in her room and reads or lays in bed.  i know the work isn't too hard for her because she has always been in advanced classes and scored advanced on all testing she has done and she has said that the stuff they do at her new school in 8th grade is equivalent to stuff the did in 6th and 7th grade at home.  she made a new friend and has been skating and over to the girls house to spend time so i don't think she is a total outcast at her new school.  she has come home a few times and said that most of the kids at her new school talk about having sex and doing drugs and that she can't believe kids her age actually do that and that its so different than home.  i am not really worried about her getting involved in any of that because she has seen her father abuse drugs and has no relationship with him because of that and i was a teenager when i had her so i have always been very open with her about sex and the risks involved.  she is very smart, level headed and well informed for her age so i don't worry about her getting into anything like that. up until recently she has had big plans and goals for her future.  i have bipolar disoder and am prone to depression myself so i initially thought maybe she was leaning toward depression also, but i don't think that's the case either because the only issue we have is school.  she is not otherwise typically depressed.  she still acts like her normal self other than the complete refusal to go to school.  she has asked to be homeschooled but honestly i can't afford that.  i hate sitting here watching her throw all her potential away.  it's breaking my heart and i don't know how to help her.

by on Jan. 4, 2012 at 2:14 PM
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by on Jan. 4, 2012 at 2:22 PM

I am so sorry to hear that you are having such a hard time with your daughter.  I have a soon to be 13 yr old as well.  Have you spoken to one of the counslors at the school?  Maybe they can help you by talking to her and letting her know that there are a lot of kids that feel the way she is feeling after a move to a strange place.  How did she handle school before?  Was she going?  You did not yank her away from her life.  You gave her a new one is all.  It is hard for kids to accept that sometimes and it is hard for us parents to see what it doing to our children.. For what ever the reason was that you had to move, do not blame yourself for her not wanting to go to school.  This is her choice .  I have a friend who is now home schooling her daughter.  I don't understand how it can be expensive really. Look into it, ask the counslors at the school there are alternative things she can do.  One thing I have learned at this age especially with a daughter is , you have to be a mom first then you can be a friend.  They need guidance and they need to know that their antics are not going to work.  Stick to your guns as hard as I know it is.  Believe me I have my own issues with my daughter (respect issues).  I have learned that as long as I stick to what I say is going to happen , things run a lot smoother. 

by on Jan. 4, 2012 at 2:33 PM

honestly she has always had attendance issues whether it was from just not wanting to go or from not feeling well. when she was younger she had strep throat probablyevery two months and also sleep apnea and didn't have her tonsils and adnoids removed until 6th grade but since then she hasn't been sick and her attendance improved drastically until now. when i signed her up for dance it was contingent upon her attendance and grades and i think that helped motivate her to go to school and get her work done in a more responible way because she wanted to be able to dance but then just one day she decided she didn't like that dance school and wanted to quit and that was the end of any progress. the attendance councelor from the school called this morning actually and i have a  meeting with her next week. i have looked at online/home schooling options and i saw one free program in my area but they have to actually go to a place and do it and if i can't get her to go to school now i dont see her going there either and the "do it at home" option costs anywhere from $1400.00-$6,000.00 or at least the only ones i can find.  she starts high school next year and i feel like if this doesn't get resolved now then she will not be successful in high school and that will ruin any chance she has to go to college. 

by Ida on Jan. 4, 2012 at 2:52 PM
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 Either homeschool or get her into an alternative school because her education should not be optional.  

To homeschool you can teach her all you need is to go to craigslist and buy the books you need.  They have homeschool groups she can join to socialize with other homeschooled kids. 

by on Jan. 4, 2012 at 2:53 PM
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Get her checked out, she is still young so there is hope.

by on Jan. 4, 2012 at 2:55 PM
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Quoting 02nana07:

 Either homeschool or get her into an alternative school because her education should not be optional.  

To homeschool you can teach her all you need is to go to craigslist and buy the books you need.  They have homeschool groups she can join to socialize with other homeschooled kids. 

Education should always come first, if you don't get her back into school the law will come down on you and CPS will be called in.

by on Jan. 4, 2012 at 3:02 PM

There may be a free homeschool, where we live there is.  I would check it out. Maybe she is still having problems with kids at school but just doesnt wanna say anything.

by on Jan. 4, 2012 at 3:39 PM

yeah i would first have a meeting with the school counselor, see if  they have suggestions. but also maybe shes being bullied or pressured to try the drugs. i know u said something bout her dad,but kids can be soooo very if she doesnt go , then she doesnt do the drugs... but we all know it only takes that one try!!!!!!! really sit down and have a heart to heart w her as a mother.....

by Grumpy on Jan. 4, 2012 at 4:49 PM

I'm sorry, I know you are going through a difficult time, but it sounds like she is either depressed and needs some help, bullied and needs some help, or spoiled and needs you to put your foot down.

by Susie on Jan. 4, 2012 at 5:17 PM

School isn't an option in our home.  10 days missed in our school and you have to have Dr's notes. Unless they have a fever, strep, or thowing up they are in school. 

I would get counseling ASAP.  We have moved several times and our dd's never had an issue with moving.  They knew it was our way of life early on and always accepted it very well. 

by on Jan. 4, 2012 at 6:27 PM

Well first of all you cannot ignore her behavior but at the same time you can't just cater t the behavior or do nothing or not continue being the mom.

I am one that will always offer my daughter options generally only two options and the third being something of her idea (assuming it is reasonable).

So for example if your daughter was my daughter the rules would be that at least once a week she has to be involved in an activity (sports, dance, drama whatever) and she has a week to pick or you pick one for her. Get signed up immediately, look through the community for free things if needed.

Give her the option to be home schooled or go to school. Give her number of times she may miss then immediately it is home schooling. IK now this may not sound the most convienent and what not but you do have to fight ways to make this happen and also she needs a babysitter.... I know sounds crazy unrealistic yadda yadda.

But see Im the stubborn one, Ill win in the end my teen learned the hard way. But the idea is, if you give her options later she cannot say you forced her into any single thing, unless of course she doesnt choose herself but still the options were there.

Grounding and what not, meh. Mine was the same way, no matter how much stuff I took and grounding she had, didnt seem to change a thing. Eventually I turned it around with options and choices, she had to pick. Soon I picked for her in dance and put her in a military style type of dance where the teacher lets no one slack. It really helped....

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