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TOPIC: My Teenage Daughter

 
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April 16, 2012 12:15 PM
you said she was quite new to the school. Maybe she is just finding her way and which crowd to fit in with. As you have said she is already a well behaved girl away from class, a little time to make new friends and worth things out could be all she needs.
  19758053
April 16, 2012 12:15 PM
QUOTE:

When my grades were rough in 5th grade for not doing the work, my parents had me get a weekly report from the teacher. If that week's report was bad, I would be grounded until the next good report.


I am using this idea for my kid... lol :)
  9233173
April 16, 2012 12:15 PM
Maybe she's just a teenager, like I was....no ADD or ADHD or depression as an excuse. I just had better stuff to do than to be concerned with school work. When my grades started to slip, my parents pretty much took everything away and I earned it back when I showed improvement in school. I woke up, went to school, did homework, had dinner, studied and went to bed for a month or so. Eventually, I earned a little more freedom. Imagine that, a kid actually having to earn something and my parents were completely ok with me being mad about it for a little while. Oh, and it didn't kill me...actually probably helped me.
April 16, 2012 12:16 PM
I'm pretty self-motivated so my parents never had to use any type of encouragement for me. Try positive re-enforcement though - like if she makes a certain grade, she can go to the movies with her friends or some such. Find out what she likes to do and use it as a reward for good behavior. If not, then start taking away things that she can earn back for better work.
  20923263
April 16, 2012 12:16 PM
Talking in class, not turning in work, totally disorganized, good kid in every other way. That is my son who has ADHD and Aspergers. Coincidentally, very similar situation with his Mom.
  17679967
April 16, 2012 12:16 PM
QUOTE:

First off, you should have her evaluated for ADD or ADHD. If you find out it's not that, I would take away her cell phone like you are going to do, and possibly have a parent/teacher conference with her teachers to go over her problems. Also taking away the internet is a good thing. You could also sit down with her once a week and go over her syllabuses and map out when she is going to do each assignment.


This~~
  3301622
April 16, 2012 12:16 PM
I agree communicate. I also believe in using contracts. A teen needs to be able to have a say in what kind of plan of action to take.
QUOTE:

Have you tried sitting down with her and her father and talk to her about what is going on.

You mentioned that she has come to live with you and her father, how long has it been?

You have not mentioned what her grades were like previously, has she always struggled with school or is it something recent?

Sounds like she has alot of change going on in her life. Maybe a little one on one girl time together might get her to open up if there is something going on.

Communication is key, and with a teen you want to keep the lines open, I personally don't think that punishment is the answer to poor academic standing.

Adjusting to a new step-mom, new school, loss of friends are pretty big to a hormonal teenager!

Best of luck to all of you.

Karen
April 16, 2012 12:17 PM
I think you should talk to her and find out why she's slipping. Maybe all the stuff that happened at her Mom's is affecting her and the only place she acts out, is at school.

If she's struggling intellectually, maybe hire a tutor or sit down with her every night and help her with her homework.

As for punishments, the best ones for teens are to take away phones, computers, tv, etc.
  14808678
April 16, 2012 12:17 PM
It sounds like she's been through a lot. I would really hesitate to take away the phone altogether, but it would probably help to leave it at home during the school day. I agree with the above poster that suggested rewards instead of punishment. Find out what the issue is, and encourage her to do better. When my parents took away privileges, it made me very resentful and caused me to act out in other ways.
It might help to have her tested for ADD. I'm not saying that is what is it, but my husband has ADD and I can verify that it is actually a disorder, not something made up to encourage meds. He self-medicates with caffeine, and it is really effective for him, as long as he doesn't go overboard. Maybe a cup of coffee or tea will help her to concentrate? Of course, it's entirely possible that it isn't ADD or ADHD, but as a mom, don't you want to explore all the possible causes?
  3470728
April 16, 2012 12:18 PM
I was a trouble maker from 1st grade through 12th. I was always in trouble for either doing nothing (staring into space, not reading, not doing work) or for doing too much (disruptive), fighting, etc. They tried drugs, didn't work. They tried punishment, didn't work. The only thing I responded to was positive recognition from teachers or parents (and girls).

Be patient. The cookie cutter school system doesn't work with everyone. Show that you are proud when she achieves something. I eventually grew out of it... at age 20. Now I am a successful small business owner, financial counselor, and get along great with my parents.

Patience and understanding...
  4319787
April 16, 2012 12:18 PM
QUOTE:

When I was younger, I was always getting kicked out of class, forgetting homework, talking in class, getting bad reports home from teachers...The teachers wanted me put on ADD meds (in my opinion because they thought it would shut me up, not because I actually had ADD), but the truth is, I was just bored. I was supposed to have been moved up a grade, but since I was already one of the youngest in the class, my parents didn't want me to move up anymore, and the classes were moving at too slow of a pace for me. Once I started doing a few classes (math, science) with the grade above me (while staying with my grade for everything else), and then Honors/AP track in high school, things really improved.
Has your stepdaughter ever done some kind of intelligence testing? In situations like these, I feel that the most common reasons for struggling/misbehaving in class are 1. The kid is bored and the class is moving too slow 2. The kid is not ready for the level of material and has given up 3. The kid is depressed or struggling with emotional issues that are preventing him or her from focusing.
If your stepdaughter has a well-above-average IQ, you should look into honors/advanced placement classes. If her IQ is average or below, you should probably look into having a tutor, extracurricular work like a Kumon program, or remedial level classes. Not that IQ is everything, but it could be an indicator of what the best path to take would be.
If you think she is struggling with emotional issues, you should see about therapy, and maybe consider not doing so through the school's guidance counselor, as she might be worried people would find out she is seeking help (not that there is a single thing wrong with doing that, but teenagers, like I was, often feel embarrassed about seeking therapy of any sort, as they worry people will think they are crazy).
I'm not a psychologist or teacher, but I strongly encourage you to not consider ADD/ADHD medication unless you have tried other ways of fixing the problem first. I have seen only a few people in my life that I truly think need this medicine; I know far more kids that were put on it and turned into zombies, never ate, were miserable, and can't do work without it, even though before the prescription they were still doing alright in school. Those I know who I feel truly need medicine like Ritalin have shown ADD/ADHD behavior for a long time and had trouble concentrating even on fun activities, not just school, so if her problems seem to be just school-related, dont be hasty to get a prescription like this. ADHD is WAY WAY WAY overdiagnosed/overmedicated, and if she is having emotional issues, you might be making it worse with this "quick fix".

Of course, these are just my opinions, but I am 20, so the difficulties of this age are not too far in my past. I hope you find a solution that helps your stepdaughter.


I have to totally agree, I was a doyle at school because I was bored and I misbehaved a lot ! I still did well at school but seriously some kids are far too clever for their age (in the UK there are no grades, you move on in school depending on age not ability)

Id get so frustrated when my phone, internet were taken off me and I was told to do chores as I didnt see what the problem was, the classes bored me and I was getting top grades but nobody would listen
Edited by Vegetablearian On April 16, 2012 12:21 PM
April 16, 2012 12:18 PM
My parents always gave me more chores as punishments. lol it worked for me.
That or taking the computer, driving, seeing friends privileges away.

What did it most for avoiding doing bad things was knowing I disappointed them. Gah nothing is worse to me than making them upset with my choices.

I would explain to her the reality of her decisions. If she's a freshman in high school and isn't doing well now, that will affect where she can go to college. I certainly didn't realize that as a freshman in high school.
  7591048
April 16, 2012 12:18 PM
Diificult one here, my daughter is now 31 and got married on Saturday but I remember those awful teenage years with her. Withdrawal of things she likes might help but then might make her go the other way. I think sitting down and talking to her an adult and ask her what the problem is. Ask for a meeting with her teachers with her present so she doesn't think there is some sort of conspriacy going on behind her back. Teenage years are always hard. my daughter was the class clown and was very disruptive, in the end she got expelled. But at 16 she joined the Forces and that was the making of her, she has always been hyper though, as that is her personality and I would'nt change her for the world.
  1335704
April 16, 2012 12:21 PM
QUOTE:


However, I think a reward system might be better. Something like I'm going to check back with your teacher in 2 weeks for a full report. If you're behavior has improved I'm going to buy you a new pair of jeans... or take you to (where ever she likes to go).

I think her behavior is typical for her age, and taking her phone from her probably punishes her more than you realize.


This. It sounds like you have a good kid who has been through a whole lot. Going through a whole lot has an effect on a kid. She's been punished enough by life. Now she needs some help, and a whole lot of positive in her life. She needs to hear that you believe in her. She probably needs help with study skills, goal setting and time management, but it needs to be help, not something that feels vindictive to her. Communicate with her and let her know it's a team effort to help her do well with her studies *and* with building an enjoyable, positive social life. Communicate with her teachers, but involve her in that so she doesn't feel like she is being talked about behind her back. Treat her with respect even when correcting unhealthy behaviors. Let her know that rules are set in order to help her, to get her on track and keep her on track to a very fulfilling, happy life.

I can tell you really care about her and want the best for her. You're a good mom. There will be rewarding days with her!
  7795021
April 16, 2012 12:21 PM
QUOTE:

ADHD is WAY WAY WAY overdiagnosed/overmedicated, and if she is having emotional issues, you might be making it worse with this "quick fix".

Of course, these are just my opinions, but I am 20, so the difficulties of this age are not too far in my past. I hope you find a solution that helps your stepdaughter.



I'm going to AGREE x10 with the adhd over diagnosed/over medicated statement.

My bf's cousin is 8 and is on adhd AND anti-depressants. One is trying to calm him down the other is trying to elevate his mood. This kid is in a drugged up haze half the time because no one wants to take care of him. Than his poor 5 yr old sister is always being accused of having adhd when in reality she's JUST a normal five year old full of energy.
  7591048
April 16, 2012 12:22 PM
QUOTE:

I was a wild child all thru school. I would ditch constantly. I was always in trouble for talking (no cell phones), passing notes, sleeping. After the 2nd or 3rd time of my teacher spoke to my father, he realized his "threats" and punishements were not working. My Dad came to my school and sat in every class, and "hung out" with me at lunch. I was MORTIFIED! He did it for a week...
Guess what? I suddenly became a really, really good student. :)


Genius!
April 16, 2012 12:23 PM
I went through a very similar situation as your step daughter when I was growing up. She may be socializing as a way to deal with the stress, but as for encouraging her to get her grades up, my mom would pay us for the grades we made. $2 for an A, $1 for a B, nothing for a C, and if you made lower than a C, you owed my mom money. laugh I was a straight A student anyway, but it really worked for my little sister when she saw how much she could be earning. I would definitely recommend taking an encouraging approach instead of punishment because teenagers don't need any more reason than they already think they have to become bitter or spiteful towards you. I hope this helps. flowerforyou
April 16, 2012 12:23 PM
I want to provide a little perspective from your step-daughter's side. Having been the good/responsible kid with the rebel/way-out-of-line sister, I know how much pain she's probably in. Your step-daughter probably feels she needs to be ultra-careful about how she acts to make up for the chaos created by her sister. Judging by what you've shared with us, there has already been enough chaos in her mother's home. She may be overcompensating, trying to soothe the situation by being as non-confrontational and obedient as possible. That being said, she's stretching herself way thin socially at home in order to cope. At school, she feels safer because it's not home...and that's why she's acting out. My parents' relationship was highly dysfunctional and eventually led to a divorce. I felt much the same way that you describe your step-daughter.

She's lonely. She's scared. She's probably got a few issues she needs to deal with. And chances are, she doesn't know how to express them. My grades slipped when I didn't have any extracurriculars to take me out of the home environment for a while and allow me to express myself in ways that weren't allowed at home. Extracurriculars often have academic requirements. In my school, you had to maintain at least a C average. To my parents' surprise, I maintained excellent grades while I was involved in band year-round.

I'm really glad to hear that she's with you both now, and that the environment is more stable. Kudos to you both! And thank you for providing her with a caring maternal example. ((You may not realize right now just how much she'll value that in the future.)) However, she's probably still dealing with the trauma of what she experienced at her mother's house. If she's anything like me, she's probably also worried about her mom and half-sister. She may not be ready to confront some of the issues she's facing, but I would still offer to take her to therapy. She'll probably be resistant, but encourage her to go - don't make her go, just encourage her to go. Offer to go with her, to just sit in the lobby and wait while she's there...whatever it takes.

Best of luck to you. I hope my perspective helped you a little bit.
April 16, 2012 12:24 PM
Have you taken her to the Doctor for a complete check up? Include a hearing test and an eye check. If you cant see or hear well you often act out. If it isn't physical has she seen a councelor? Would she like to?
After that I would encourage her rather than punish her....a quick drive by any downtown area where homeless kids (shameful) hang out and a "chat" about how sad their futures, if they have one, might help. Then see if you can take a tour of a college campus.
Find out what she enjoys doing and help her research jobs that she could eventually do in that field that she enjoys. Point her in that direction. Find an adult mentor that is in the business she likes.
She is new to the area, it is your or your husbands job to get her involved in something in the area that involves kids you WANT her to hang out with....martial arts (dicipline and great examples), music lessons, 4H, scouts, cadet programs, swimming lessons, any sports program. All of them have kids that are into "clean" stuff and parents that are more involved in their kids and want good kids for their kids to hang around.
April 16, 2012 12:25 PM
Keep in mind, she is 14. 14 year old girls are chatty, and sociable. passing notes is NORMAL , texting, well its a new era.. take the phone away. I would say tow a hard line. Tell her you will be checking in with the teacher every friday. If her studies have not improved, then have an extra side research project you could give her each time. I would start with some kind of career planning, and looking into her interestes etc.. what kind of schooling will be needed to meet her goals etc. I wouldn't say to have her tested for anything.. sounds like perfectly normal behaviour from a 14 year old, who is more interested in talking to her friends, boys etc. just make her know there are consequences for not having work done. For that matter, you can do what they do with my 8 year olds class.. they have planners, the teachers and the parent signs it every night in acknowledgement that homework needs have been met, and to communicate effectively any issues :)
  6138068
April 16, 2012 12:25 PM
QUOTE:



However, I think a reward system might be better. Something like I'm going to check back with your teacher in 2 weeks for a full report. If you're behavior has improved I'm going to buy you a new pair of jeans... or take you to (where ever she likes to go).



This.
If she's anything like i was she'll get used to the punishments and just carry on doing what shes doing...
Edited by Jade17694 On April 16, 2012 12:25 PM
  18229158
April 16, 2012 12:25 PM
Hit her where it hurts......Take the things that matter most away. Try until the grades/effort improve
  16035623
April 16, 2012 12:25 PM
QUOTE:

I was a wild child all thru school. I would ditch constantly. I was always in trouble for talking (no cell phones), passing notes, sleeping. After the 2nd or 3rd time of my teacher spoke to my father, he realized his "threats" and punishements were not working. My Dad came to my school and sat in every class, and "hung out" with me at lunch. I was MORTIFIED! He did it for a week...
Guess what? I suddenly became a really, really good student. :)


^^LOVE^^ flowerforyou

I am going something similar with my daughter 15, with the whole grades thing. I took her out of Soccer because of them. The AD and Coach were shocked and sad to see her go because she's a hell of an athlete, but I AM THE MOM. I don't understand why the teacher hasn't taken the phone away, although my daughters algebra teacher allows them to use their iPods or phones to listen to music if they're doing their work. Coincidently, she's flunking algebra. I have spoken to the teacher, and he's seeing slight improvement, and there are resources for her to use for help (she says she doesn't understand some stuff) but she won't use them. I'm loving this suggestion, and maybe I'll modify it, going to lunch with her and then algebra to make sure she's actually doing the work.
  9983567
April 16, 2012 12:26 PM
She's 14/15 right? She's new and she's a good kid?

She's unorganized and hands things in late? But she's a good kid?

Look, she could have ADHD/ADD, some of those things are symptoms. I have an ADHD partner, with two ADHD stepsons and they are ALL like that.

On the other hand, I and my daughter scored very high in school and we did the same thing as the ADHD students. We were/are bored.

My last meeting with my daughters teacher, we discussed how she isn't challenged and doesn't feel engaged in the learning process. I made it very clear to the teacher that as long as my daughter maintained the bare minimum I wasn't going to harass her over grades because I know she knows the stuff and I know she gets it. However I am working on organization and timeliness because both of those things directly affect how easy the teachers job is.

Chasing students for homework is no fun.

Maybe you need to look at her way of tackling school work and devise a way WITH her, to get more on top of things. Maybe sitting down with her and talking about why she's having these issues may help?

I mean there's not a lot that can be done for boredom. But if you know that is what it is, then you know it's a matter of either supplementing her education outside of the school room, or riding it out until something engages her.

But getting her to work on her organization and her timeliness, those are skills that she will need in her future as a paid employee, those are skills that can make the difference between a promotion and more money and staying in the bottom pool. And those may even appease her teachers enough that they won't be calling you all the time.


Lauren
April 16, 2012 12:26 PM
Set her up with a CBT therapist.

Enroll her in something positive, like tae kwon do.

Communicate, communicate, communicate.

Find out what her "motivators" are. This may take some time, but is well worth it.

Above else, *don't yell* at your teen-even when you want to. This will only make YOU mad and close her off even more.

I know how rough teenagers can be. I have one, too. Good luck.
Edited by sl1ngsh0t On April 16, 2012 12:28 PM

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