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Terabith

Ok, this is about my older child...

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41 minutes ago, Terabith said:

She's 15 going on 16.  The issue is she has to buy into any plan.  And school and society have told her that the only way to succeed in life is to make straight A's in all AP classes (seriously, fewer than four AP classes is considered remedial at the school - and those have daily fights and drug deals going on in them), do a million activities, and have a job.  She knows she needs college scholarships.  She doesn't know what she wants to do, and the school says if you don't know, you will never succeed at anything.  They also have told them that because of climate change, society will collapse by the time she's 30, but even the collapse of civilization will not allow her to not pay back student loans.  They say she'll be crushed under debt her entire life.  Honestly, hopelessness and despair seems like the only rational response to this.  

 

She needs other input. 

Is she actually being told that? Or is she selectively hearing that? 

What are u telling her? 

Btw Many scholarships have nothing to do with AP classes or similar 

41 minutes ago, Terabith said:

I've offered to homeschool.  I've offered to find her a different school.  This school is the only school with any fine arts opportunities.  

 

Her fine art is drama? 

It seems unlikely to be true that only one school has anything .  Especially if wider world of learning is considered.  Including possible boarding schools, community theater groups, etc.. 

 

41 minutes ago, Terabith said:

And they changed the lunch periods so she doesn't have anyone to eat lunch with anymore.  This was actually the even that triggered her refusing to go to school. 

 

That’s understandable.  

Already on the edge and then no friends to be with. 

Contact Principal. 

 

Also try places that may have ideas ideas for alternatives .  

Charter schools, after school programs... 

See if there’s a gifted children’s association in your state or county...

 

 

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Could she use unobtrusive ear plugs? Skin tone, discreet? Perhaps with a hairstyle to hang over and further hide them? 

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Btw sounds like “what other people say” is a problem for both you and your dd and related to depression and anxiety for both of you. 

 

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I bought into a lot of my son’s thinking and version of events:  to be supportive of him, seeing him convinced, not having a clear idea of the real situation to know it was different than what he was telling me........ and then number one I did not know I could or should have a role of trying to push back on some of his thinking.  I didn’t know that was a thing.

I can see things you have mentioned where I think it seems exaggerated or catastrophic.

But ————— I know sometimes it’s like — seeing that does not mean you can say to someone “now let’s be reasonable, I de-bunk your points with my evidence.”  Sometimes things just do not work that way.

Ime the more she is wound up the harder it is to think about things like this.  And it is very hard to really come down from being wound up.

It is just not an easy situation at all and I am thinking of you today.  

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3 minutes ago, Pen said:

 

She needs other input. 

Is she actually being told that? Or is she selectively hearing that? 

What are u telling her? 

Btw Many scholarships have nothing to do with AP classes or similar 

 

Her fine art is drama? 

It seems unlikely to be true that only one school has anything .  Especially if wider world of learning is considered.  Including possible boarding schools, community theater groups, etc.. 

 

 

That’s understandable.  

Already on the edge and then no friends to be with. 

Contact Principal. 

 

Also try places that may have ideas ideas for alternatives .  

Charter schools, after school programs... 

See if there’s a gifted children’s association in your state or county...

 

 

Schools are actually telling them that.  We're giving different input at home, but she'd decided years ago that having children would be cruel because of climate change and the downfall of civilization.   Her whole friend group at around age ten decided that.  I know there are lots of scholarships.  But to be competitive for the top ones at even medicore schools, it's a factor.  

She does choir, art, and drama.  None at any super high levels, but they're important to her.  

I understand the school's rationales for changing all the schedules all the time and changing lunches.  But it still leaves my kid feeling isolated and insecure all the time.

No charter schools.  We can look at private schools. We could homeschool, but it's not great.  Should look into an auditory processing exam and ADHD eval.

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Okay — I do remember the school counselor told me this.

I thought it was nice if I agreed with him and supported him, and listened, and took his word for things.  Trust is important.

What I did NOT KNOW is that if I accept some things that are probably exaggerated, black-and-white, or catastrophic —————— then I make him think “mom thinks to too, mom agrees with me.”

So then that was something I did not know.  

So then I had to think about — can I be kind, supportive, trusting, etc, and also push back against some things he says?

And the answer is yes.  

It is hard though, and very very hard at first.  

Because — frankly he would work himself up and work himself up trying to convince me.  That was not easy.  He took it personally and it did hurt his feelings, he did think I was mean.  

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It sounds like you do push back, but she also needs to push back.  

Sometimes it helps to talk about facts and opinions, and different people having different opinions.  

There are perspective-taking sheets sometimes, where you can label a person and an opinion that person has, and then label another person and an opinion that person has.  Sometimes things like that can be helpful for seeing that there are different opinion or possibilities that are possible or reasonable.  

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I do think — to a great extent every individual thing is reasonable in some way.

So at this point I think — you can’t necessarily argue on specifics.

The main thing is — she is very anxious, she isn’t going to school, she is at risk for going downhill....... and then when anxiety is ranging from climate change to not having anyone to sit with at lunch ————— it is anxiety.  The specifics don’t matter at a certain point.  It is just anxiety.  

And she is at a point of isolating herself, and I do think sleeping at night IS isolating whether or not that is the intent.  

I think there’s a lot of reason to think of different things that can be helpful in general that have helped other people.....

But right now I do think it might be past this point a bit, because — it is hard to do when people are in crisis and may not be thinking at their clearest.  

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I can look back at this time for me and I do not think I was thinking at my clearest, it is very hard and stressful.  I look back at some things I did and I don’t know what I was thinking.

Anyway — I hope things are going as well as they can today.  I hope your daughter is feeling okay.  

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Really I was “the enemy” for some things and that is very, very hard, and also it’s sad knowing a child thinks that.  That kind of situation is so difficult and that is how I was at this time whenever there was something that was going to cause anxiety or was perceived as going to cause anxiety.  It’s just — very difficult.

But at the same time — people do improve, it is worth the effort.  I am sorry you are having such a run-around with things also.  

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We ended up going the non-insurance route for psychiatrist (the dr is private pay only, doesn't take any insurance) to find someone who works well with my kids.  Is that a possibility where you are?

Have you looked for a psychiatric nurse practitioner?

One of my kids found a way to handle auditory stuff - always wearing one earbud at school.  Something about the music input canceled out some sensory issues.  It was written into the 504.  It did have to be on a non-Internet iPod though so there would be no issues with possible cheating on tests.

School - same kid as above couldn't manage a full day of ps high school, and ended up taking some classes online with a state-approved provider. 

Just trying to throw all this out there because your kid and mine sound like they have a lot of similarities.

 

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Regarding the earplugs, I have a brand recommendation as they are basically invisible, and they are musician's plugs, which means that the sound is still faithful, just less intense. My kids' band is getting them, and my son has trialed them during music lessons. He LOVES them (high sensory issues with sound, auditory processing problems). https://www.musiciansfriend.com/accessories/earasers-musicians-plugs/h95309000002000?cntry=us&source=3WWRWXGP&source=3WWRWXGP&gclid=EAIaIQobChMIu76v96mm5QIViuNkCh2PYg6ZEAQYAyABEgJmZPD_BwE

If you go on the manufacturer's site, they will have recommendations for sizing.

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2 hours ago, Terabith said:

Schools are actually telling them that.

 

I think this is one of several areas where u need to talk to the school principal.  

Perhaps by phone can be done even while u r sick.

 

 

Quote

 

I know there are lots of scholarships.  But to be competitive for the top ones at even medicore schools, it's a factor.  

 

I can’t tell u that u r wrong.  

But u r very possibly adding 2 her anxiety by having this viewpoint.

you also having belief and anxiety that if she isn’t getting A’s and taking AP’s she won’t be able to get a scholarship even to a mediocre college      

... and will end up homeless, under a bridge, dying of climate change by the time she’s in her 30’s. 

Catastrophic thinking

and she (and you too)  may gravitate to friends (and also watch / listen to media with speakers) who think likewise so that the idea that all “10 year olds” friends  are planning not to have kids because of climate change fears seems “normal” to you. 

 

 

Quote

She does choir, art, and drama.  None at any super high levels, but they're important to her.  

 

So if she weren't at her current school, what could she do for them? 

Quote

I understand the school's rationales for changing all the schedules all the time and changing lunches.  But it still leaves my kid feeling isolated and insecure all the time.

 

Talk to the principal!!!!   See if that can be changed by request and kindness.  

If not 504 may be needed. 

District superintendent may also be needed in order to figure out how to help her so she’s not in school refusal. Perhaps to make exceptions to usual rules

Quote

No charter schools.  We can look at private schools.

 

No other public schools?

No early cc options? 

Quote

We could homeschool, but it's not great. 

 

Current situation doesnt sound great either.  

She may need to choose least bad alternative 

Quote

Should look into an auditory processing exam and ADHD eval.

 

Yes.  Something auditory seems relevant the way u describe her extreme distress about noise. 

 

Edited by Pen
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4 hours ago, Terabith said:

the school says if you don't know, you will never succeed at anything.  They also have told them that because of climate change, society will collapse by the time she's 30, but even the collapse of civilization will not allow her to not pay back student loans.  They say she'll be crushed under debt her entire life.  Honestly, hopelessness and despair seems like the only rational response to this.  

 

It is not the only rational response.

it is a depressive and anxious response

 

other responses could be to try to take action to make changes

to laugh

to roll ones eyes

to talk back to them 

 

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There are other options:  home bound, homeschooling, a couple private schools, bunches of other public schools.  Weirdly, this is the only public school with a real arts program.  Some schools have a band or visual arts classes, but this one is pretty multi faceted.  

Part of the problem is she can’t articulate what is upsetting her.  Part of it is the loudness and chaotic ness of it.  But there’s more and she doesn’t know why.  

The principal doesn’t talk to parents.  At all.  There are at least four layers of administration between him and parents.  

All her teachers are excellent.  It’s frustrating that she can’t articulate (really at all) what is bothering her about school.  

We have told her that all we expect is that she puts forth reasonable effort. Not doing her best, because it’s unreasonable to always do your best.  In terms of scholarships, we have suggested being a big fish in a small pond but also that it’s largely luck. But that community college and transferring might be a good pathway. 

Before she came to school, she took art lessons.  She wasn’t ever able to do theater though, despite dozens of auditions.   There are some choral options but they are expensive and not good fits for her.  

I’m really frustrated because I don’t think the loudness is the real problem, just that it’s the only one she can articulate.  And it’s hard to figure out what would be a workable scenario for her if we don’t know what the problem is.  I suspect part of it is the emphasis the school is putting on grades and test scores.  But I’m not at all sure of that.  (And she has all A’s.  And we really honestly don’t care about her grades.)   

She could do homebound.  She could maybe do a mixture of school and homeschool.  We could homeschool, but honestly, it would involve losing most of a year because I cannot just pick up and teach calculus, chemistry, Spanish 3, and AP geography off the top of my head.  We might could do community college next semester.  We could look at possibilities of private schools.  I’m pretty sure the other public schools would be a worse fit.  

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She has friends.  She likes her teachers and her classes mostly.  I just really don’t understand why it is completely intolerable as a situation.  

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It would be awesome if she could regroup over the weekend and go back to school on Monday. That would be awesome.  For me — I have told my son before if I am trying with the school — maybe you could turn in a request for a 504 or IEP evaluation and tell her you are trying to work that angle.

The ideas about an earbud or musician’s ear plugs are great.

Some times things do not make a lot of sense.

I think maybe over the weekend at some point it will calm down and she can talk more about what is going on.  

To me — to be ready to go back Monday, sleep would need to be getting on track at least Saturday night.  Maybe she is easier with getting back to a day schedule.  But that is something that might need to happen sooner. 

What can happen iirc with school avoidance — the weekend seems a lot calmer, then things get bad again as school gets closer, so Sunday evening gets worse. 

It sounds like she does want to go to this school.   

 

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https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/bipolar-disorder/index.shtml

I am very far from knowing much about this, but one of my relatives is diagnosed with bipolar disorder.  He is similar to how my son would be when my son would be anxious and ramping up.

But with my son as far as I can remember, he would not stay super ramped up for a super long time. 

But how my cousin acts can be really similar and supposedly that is him having something with bipolar disorder.  

Having medication that is working is important for him.

He also does better with a routine and with structure.  School is something that can provide a routine and structure.  

I am sorry to say it but I think if she doesn’t go back on Monday then she will be getting to where she misses enough that you get more help from school.  It is so stupid but it can be that way sometimes.  I hope so at least, sigh.  Whoever it is will be back in the office maybe.  

I think it can be fine either way, it will be okay if she doesn’t go on Monday.  But it would be great if she did.  

I hope you find out promising information about insurance and in-patient so that can be a good option as well.  

I am sorry it is so hard!  I know you are doing good things.  

 

Edited by Lecka

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I looked back at the website and my relative is diagnosed with the type 2 where the hypomanic episodes are not full-blown manic episodes.

Anyway — I have hung out with him when he has been this way and it is similar to how my son has been when he has been anxious.  Like — I could see with either one, saying a lot about “this thing happened, this thing happened, this thing happened.”  

Of course it’s hard to know with the Internet lol.

My son doesn’t really have this anymore but he had it when he was having school avoidance.  

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So, more information.....They have A days and B days.  On A days, she has English, Choir, Chemistry (with her best friend), and Art.  On B days she has Spanish 3 (the bane of her existence, since her Spanish 2 teacher literally had them watch Disney movies in English all year and so she is woefully behind), Precalculus, AP Human Geography, and art.  She likes art, but she despises a bunch of the kids in her art class, for what seem like pretty good reasons.  

B days are VERY stressful.  She says that she doesn't feel safe at school because when she's at school, she feels like she needs to self harm or feels suicidal.  The straw that broke the camel's back was when they changed lunch periods and she has nobody to sit with.  

The noise/ chaos factor is a factor, but I think it's not THE factor.  She's also expressing some pretty significant body dysphoria.  She absolutely despises her breasts, and she's a DD.  She wants to bind, but because she's so full chested, binding both doesn't work terribly well and makes her feel like she can't breathe, which has given her panic attacks.  So she feels stuck.  

So, mental health is obviously a huge factor here.  Sensory stuff is definitely *A* factor, but not the overarching one.  Body image stuff is huge, and I have no idea how to fix that or even where to begin.  Obviously, safety and well being is the biggest priority, but given the fact that she had no gender dysphoria issues until she hit puberty, I'm  really not comfortable with permanent body modifications at this point.  

There's no school on Monday.  We have a meeting with the head guidance counselor person on Tuesday morning, but on the phone she was talking about things like having her eating lunch in an administrator's office.  Which....not going to solve the core issues.

She's not sure why she feels so stressed at school.  Part of it is pressure/ grades/ fixation on test scores.  My husband keeps going back to the fact that she was absolutely fine at Catholic school.  Which.....she did eat there.  And the school adored her.  But she didn't have good friends, and with the gender stuff, I'm not sure it's the best choice.  

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A non student day might be a good time to reach people at the school when they aren’t directly busy with kids present, and gives her an extra day to be away without it counting as an absence. 

If not a Principal, how about an “assistant principal “?     These aren’t just guidance counselor issues, and they aren’t specific to any one teacher. 

 

 

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I think her thoughts of suicide and self-harm are so serious. It seems like it’s more serious than getting her back in school.

I think sometimes school counselors are knowledgeable about services and therapists in the area, so I do think it sounds good to talk to her on Tuesday.

Another idea is to try to contact a PFLAG chapter and ask if they have any ideas.  If there’s a contact number maybe that person would have an idea or be someone to talk to in some helpful way.  It’s just a thought.  It might be a gesture your daughter would appreciate.  

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I realize that just someone to eat lunch with is a huge big deal.

But does she have genuine good friends at the current school?

Or are they adding negativity and pressure?

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It's a non student day, but it's staff development but it's a terrible day to reach anyone because it's the entire district showing up for training.  

The mental health/ self harm stuff is way, way more of a bigger deal than whether or not she goes to school.  I want to solve the "how does she get an education" question, but honestly, whether or not she goes to school, I don't care.  

At home, she has bad days where she cries all the time, but other times where she is fine.  

We have an awesome diversity center here with an amazing youth group program where they buy the kids drinks and desserts at the support group for LGBT+ kids, but she won't go, because she ways, "Why would anyone want to sit around and talk about that?  It's not exactly a massive commonality."   

She does have genuine good friends at school.  I don't think any of her friends really add negativity or pressure.  School administrators, on the other hand.....

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47 minutes ago, Terabith said:

It's a non student day, but it's staff development but it's a terrible day to reach anyone because it's the entire district showing up for training.  

The mental health/ self harm stuff is way, way more of a bigger deal than whether or not she goes to school.  I want to solve the "how does she get an education" question, but honestly, whether or not she goes to school, I don't care.  

 

But the school may care whether she does (or truant officers may care) and they may have connections to resources that could help.  

Quote

At home, she has bad days where she cries all the time, but other times where she is fine.  

 

“Fine” meaning?   

 

 

I’m glad she has genuine good friends.  That could help. 

 

(I find it concerning that she wasn’t afraid to be out as a lesbian at the Catholic school, but apparently is afraid to wear earphones and noise canceling music or similar at the public school.) 

 

 

 

Edited by Pen

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1 minute ago, Pen said:

 

But the school may care whether she does (or truant officers may care) and they may have connections to resources that could help.  

“Fine” meaning?   

Oh, I'm sure the school will care.  I'm definitely not going to tell them I don't care.  Definitely open to connections to resources.

Fine meaning smiling, laughing, talking, doing chores, playing video games, reading, playing board games or D&D.

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Is there a community center, art museum, Co-ops that have art classes? I really think she needs to be taken out for the year. Maybe ask her favorite teachers if they'll tutor after school. Let her focus on her art. Remind her she can sit for the AP tests. Remind her she is important and her future will be there when she reaches it. That you can help her reach her goals. That taking time off to heal and self care is a strong adult thing to do. 

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10 hours ago, Terabith said:

It's a non student day, but it's staff development but it's a terrible day to reach anyone because it's the entire district showing up for training.  

 

Have you tried?

And have you tried along with making it very clear that you are trying to reach them about a child who is so unhappy in their school that she’s talking about suicide?

Further, you say it’s a terrible day to reach them because it’s a training day. Well, let them know they apparently have a training emergency because they should be training staff how not to talk to students (or perhaps arrange lunch schedules) in a way that makes students feel suicidal.  And so maybe exactly who you need is district level administration who conduct trainings if perhaps your own school admin is just doing what they’re taught to during such a training.  

I cannot tell if your own depression, flu-like illness etc is at play here and anticipating that it’s all but impossible to reach school staff.  

If what you report about the school is true, that it’s virtually impossible to talk to administrators, that they tell your dd the things you say they have told her, like about how she’s going to be crushed by college debt during total societal collapse, and a failure because she doesn’t have a career direction yet, then it seems like a horrible, horrible, horrible school.  It seems like a school that’s involved in emotionally bullying its students, and that’s nearly completely unresponsive to parents even in a life or death potential (because suicide risk) situation.  

But I don’t know if this is truth or perception.

I don’t know if you make the gravity of the situation clear when you try to reach people.

I don’t know if your dd latches on to negatives that are said and ignores what might be more positive messages.  

I personally would be inclined to start emailing the administrators for whom you have emails (such as on school or school district websites) this weekend letting them know that you need to speak with them urgently on Monday, that your dd, a student at their school is so unhappy due to administration’s actions (lunch schedule) and statements to her (such as telling her about how she’s going to be saddled with huge student debt as civilization collapses if she doesn’t _______) that she feels like self harming or committing suicide.  

I think you need to at least start to learn if you have a horrible school with an almost entirely unresponsive administration, whose people in charge bully  its students .  Versus whether you’re not getting adequate response because you aren’t making the urgency and the suicide talk (etc) clear to them.

 

I’d even want it in writing so that the impossibility of reaching a principal, impossibility of talking with anyone because it’s a district training day is made clear in the event you need to take this to a lawyer. 

But make sure any accusations and statements on your end are true—not exaggerations based on your dd’s descriptions that have been distorted  by the filter of anxiety and depression .  

 

 

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Spanish 2 inadequately preparing your dd for Spanish 3 also seems like a school training issue. 

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8 hours ago, Miguelsmom said:

Is there a community center, art museum, Co-ops that have art classes? I really think she needs to be taken out for the year. Maybe ask her favorite teachers if they'll tutor after school. Let her focus on her art. Remind her she can sit for the AP tests. Remind her she is important and her future will be there when she reaches it. That you can help her reach her goals. That taking time off to heal and self care is a strong adult thing to do. 

 

I think that’s a great idea.

a year off focusing on art and self care and healing

 

 

Along with finding a functional medicine or perhaps orthomolecular medicine doctor, maybe a nutritionist, who can help her with the healing and self care .  

Just low vitamin D status could significantly add to depression and anxiety.  

So could vitamins in the B group being low at least relative to her stress levels causing high demand for them (even if RDA is met or exceeded). 

etc

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On 10/18/2019 at 9:14 AM, Terabith said:

And school and society have told her that the only way to succeed in life is to make straight A's in all AP classes (seriously, fewer than four AP classes is considered remedial at the school - and those have daily fights and drug deals going on in them), do a million activities, and have a job.  She knows she needs college scholarships.  She doesn't know what she wants to do, and the school says if you don't know, you will never succeed at anything.  They also have told them that because of climate change, society will collapse by the time she's 30, but even the collapse of civilization will not allow her to not pay back student loans.

This is horrible! I would not want a school saying that to my kid! As an adult, I sometimes feel depressed about these things... I just feel downtrodden reading the news, bad stuff everywhere... but I was not aware of this when I was a teen. Maybe I was clueless, but I don't think it's the worst thing for young teens to be clueless! There is plenty of time for teenagers to mature and learn about adult issues.

OF COURSE she doesn't know what she wants to be when she's an adult! Don't college students change majors like 7 times (I think I read that somewhere)? I do remember being stressed about that pre-college, but I was not as worried about it as your DD. I think it's terrible that the students are being pressured so much at that age. Maybe she would feel better reading about the costs of a lower-cost college, like a state school? I was dumb and picked an expensive private college, which I now regret, but I could have gone to the state college for almost nothing. And my grades weren't even close to stellar.

I even feel this way about my own school, which is K-8. The kids in my cohort are being exposed to some heavy themes this year (human rights - or the lack thereof - immigration, death of a parent), and it just feels like there's a dark cloud hovering over the year. Maybe it's just me. But it definitely doesn't feel like the light and happy year that I remember last year.

Anyway. That was long and rambling. But I wish there was a way for your DD to feel less pressure at school. Maybe if you get some "small" things taken care of - lunch period, maybe switching to a different Spanish class? things could feel better for her. I also agree with the people that say the administration and teachers need to know that all the pressure about grades, and doom and gloom about the future, is really impacting your DD, and other kids as well.

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 One of my strategies for managing DD's college anxieties is basically not letting her get on the competitive collShe train at all and focusing on finding schools which are "safe", but still have amazing things to offer. And the VA college pressure is intense, with a feeling that only certain schools are good enough. Which then leads to trying to advertise and compete on other fronts, which then leads to fees that cost more than tuition, so there is a lot of pressure. There was even back when I graduated, and I'm sure it has gotten worse. 

 

I can think of a half dozen  state schools off the top of my head that have excellent fine arts programs, both for majors and ones open to non-majors, where your DD's stats as a whole would likely put her in the top 25%, and where any merit aid at all comes with an out of state tuition waiver, with base cost lower than VA schools. Some do automatic admissions based just on ACT/GPA, so no need for four AP's a year. They aren't UVA, but they are pretty comparable to JMU. And there probably are a lot more out there that I don't know about. 

Edited by dmmetler
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Also, if all the kids are being told they are failures if they don’t have precalculus in 10th and at least 4 APs it’s no wonder to me that a lot of kids who aren’t capable of that will have become disorderly.

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We seriously aren’t concerned about name brand college.  It doesn’t have to be UVA or anything.  But even schools like Tech, the money is just crazy stupid.  And while she wants to sing in a college choir, she definitely doesn’t want to be a fine arts major. But she’s not sure what she does want to major in.   I think she would do a lot better at a smaller school.  And we are definitely pushing the schools where her stats will put her in top tiers.   Virginia is just so different culturally with college than Tennessee or South Dakota.  

Guidance counselor told me there was no way to talk to anyone Monday. 

I honestly am not sure how much is what is said versus what she’s hearing.  Some of it is definitely being said; I just did my student teaching for the district and the first graders were getting some of these lectures.   But I’m sure part of it is what she’s hearing too.  Just not sure where the line is.  

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46 minutes ago, Terabith said:

Just got vitamin D results.  She’s up to 73, so that’s definitely improving.  

I m glad to hear that

 

Quote

Guidance counselor told me there was no way to talk to anyone Monday. 

 

I would not take Guidance Counselor word for that.

Keep the appointment with GC on Tuesday, but try to reach people at the school Monday. Or start emailing today.  And follow up with phone calls on Monday.  

Try to get refusals to talk with you in writing if they refuse.

 In a world where kids (not your dd, but some kids) who feel desperately upset about school may show up and shoot a number of students before being stopped or killed, I think refusal by school to deal with you with a child in distress is utterly appalling. 

On top of telling kids that they are failures and that the future is hopeless.

 

It is outrageous. 

People may not know the school is telling kids this.  

Think of pushing to get assistance for your dd as possibly stopping a Columbine situation for the wider community because kids feeling hopeless can lead to very bad results.  And a school telling them life is hopeless could easily be the focus of a rage response in a kid more prone to rage than crying jags. 

Assuming what you have conveyed here to be true,  I myself find it distressing, appalling, and outrageous. 

Imo, a reasonable response is to Be outraged, to demand that someone in a position of authority speak with you. 

 

Edited by Pen
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53 minutes ago, Terabith said:

I honestly am not sure how much is what is said versus what she’s hearing.  Some of it is definitely being said; I just did my student teaching for the district and the first graders were getting some of these lectures.   But I’m sure part of it is what she’s hearing too.  Just not sure where the line is.  

 

Are you afraid to speak up because it could hurt your ability to get job?

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6 hours ago, Pen said:

Are you afraid to speak up because it could hurt your ability to get job?

I'm not really afraid to speak up.  I just have been to these faculty development days, and I think the guidance counselor is accurate that Monday is going to be pretty much impossible to meet with anyone or even get anyone on the phone or email.  It's like Black Friday.  It's insane.  And I don't really see a huge difference between Monday and Tuesday in terms of outcomes.

My bigger issue is I'm not sure how much is being said versus what my child is hearing, and I'm not sure how much of what my child is hearing is directly from the school versus other places in her life.  (Like my mother in law, who has been telling them to prepare for the apocalypse because of climate change since they were, say, three.  She's practical and relatively cheerful about it, but they're definitely getting doom and gloom messages from a wide variety of sources, and while I know the school is a source, because I've personally heard "inspirational speeches" that were anything but inspirational for anxious perfectionists directed to children as young as kindergarten, I don't feel like I can go in and make accusations based on incomplete information.)  

And.....honestly, while I'm FRUSTRATED by the institutional culture, I am under no illusion that I am going to change it.  It is what it is, and our school system, and our area of the country, is extremely invested in it.  I see it as part and parcel of public school.  I don't like it, and it's why I kept my kids home when they were little.  But one angry, frustrated mother chiding them is not going to make a damned bit of difference.  I'm struggling with my own anxiety and depression, and while in an ideal world, I'd fight the good fight (and there are SO FREAKING MANY good fights; the bus situation here is such that kids are not getting picked up until an hour after school STARTS and teachers have to stay after school for two hours, without pay, to supervise kids, because there aren't enough drivers to take the kids home and all the buses are running double and triple routes), but I flat don't have the energy to fight this fight for them to quit telling kids that if they don't get good grades, their lives are going to suck.  I'm tired and it's not going to work.  I have to put my energy into my personal survival, making things okay for my kids (both my oldest, who is in crisis, and my younger one who has to move up to the high school next year and has an IEP and complex needs).  And I literally just started a new job doing early intervention for kids, which is a cause I'm passionate about and where I feel like I can make a genuine difference in the lives of children and families.  Public education is thoroughly broken.  It is what it is, and my complaints aren't going to change it.  When it was working well enough for my kid, I was willing to play the game, but it's clearly not working for this kid.  So I need to figure out how to make it workable.  

ETA:  I see at least four core issues.  One is depression and anxiety.  There's a strong genetic propensity, and I think it just hit her.  The second issue is sensory stuff.  The third is the body image issues and her raging hatred for her breasts.  The fourth is the institutional culture of school and constant pressure for grades and performance.  And we talk REGULARLY about how we don't care about grades.  We don't even care about doing your best.  We talk about how sometimes half assing a task is as much effort as a task is worth.  There's no guarantees about the future, but they always have a home with us and that we will make sure they are okay, no matter what.  We talk about how learning stuff is cool, for its own sake.  But I've always been pretty deliberate about not reinforcing the message of grades and performance and college and the general rat race.  

Honestly, I don't think going back to school is a workable situation for her, at least right now, and possibly not ever.  I'm not sure what is is, but she went from dancing and singing and glowing and loving pretty much everything about school in eighth grade to falling apart in ninth grade.  She was slightly better over the summer, but school starting back has been bad.  Even things that she likes, like choir and drama, are sources of stress.  My first thought is that maybe it's THIS school that is the problem, since it changed with the change of school, but she really doesn't think this is the case.  And trying any other school is risky, psychologically (because if she fails, it's another strike against her self confidence) and financially very very expensive, because even tuition to non districted public schools is extremely expensive.  And what she is describing is, to some extent, difficulty with the institution of school.  

So, I see two, maybe three options.  Option 1:  Homebound and tries to complete at least academic classes at home, either until the end of the semester or the end of the year.  Work on mental health.  Maybe a job or some kind of volunteer activity, because she's going to need to get out of the house.  Re-evaluate at the end of the semester or year and figure out plan, whether it's going back to school or homeschooling with intention.

Option 2:  Pull her, work on mental health, try to keep up skills in math and foreign language, and let everything else go, either for the semester or the year.  Unschool/ de-school, whatever.  I'm actually worried that not having enough structure or regular activity would make things worse for her though.  

Option 3:  Try to figure out homeschooling mid semester on the fly.  Not feeling prepared for teaching those subjects though, so I'm not crazy about this.  

I'm leaning towards option 1 or 2 through Christmas and then seeing where we are, while we work on mental health.  Could conceivably start homeschool at the beginning of next semester, but online and community college classes tend to be sequential.  

Edited by Terabith
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The guidance counselors are more or less completely incompetent.  Pretty much every interaction I have had with them has involved them saying, "But you can't do that," and me pointing out the pages in the handbook or the state law that say that you can.  And it's stupid stuff, like substituting dance class for pe or geography for history.  Anna's teachers are actually all really good this year, but the administration is not super competent.

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31 minutes ago, Terabith said:

I'm not really afraid to speak up.  I just have been to these faculty development days, and I think the guidance counselor is accurate that Monday is going to be pretty much impossible to meet with anyone or even get anyone on the phone or email.  It's like Black Friday.  It's insane.  And I don't really see a huge difference between Monday and Tuesday in terms of outcomes.

My bigger issue is I'm not sure how much is being said versus what my child is hearing, and I'm not sure how much of what my child is hearing is directly from the school versus other places in her life.  (Like my mother in law, who has been telling them to prepare for the apocalypse because of climate change since they were, say, three.  She's practical and relatively cheerful about it, but they're definitely getting doom and gloom messages from a wide variety of sources, and while I know the school is a source, because I've personally heard "inspirational speeches" that were anything but inspirational for anxious perfectionists directed to children as young as kindergarten, I don't feel like I can go in and make accusations based on incomplete information.)  

And.....honestly, while I'm FRUSTRATED by the institutional culture, I am under no illusion that I am going to change it.  It is what it is, and our school system, and our area of the country, is extremely invested in it.  I see it as part and parcel of public school.  I don't like it, and it's why I kept my kids home when they were little.  But one angry, frustrated mother chiding them is not going to make a damned bit of difference.  I'm struggling with my own anxiety and depression, and while in an ideal world, I'd fight the good fight (and there are SO FREAKING MANY good fights; the bus situation here is such that kids are not getting picked up until an hour after school STARTS and teachers have to stay after school for two hours, without pay, to supervise kids, because there aren't enough drivers to take the kids home and all the buses are running double and triple routes), but I flat don't have the energy to fight this fight for them to quit telling kids that if they don't get good grades, their lives are going to suck.  I'm tired and it's not going to work.  I have to put my energy into my personal survival, making things okay for my kids (both my oldest, who is in crisis, and my younger one who has to move up to the high school next year and has an IEP and complex needs).  And I literally just started a new job doing early intervention for kids, which is a cause I'm passionate about and where I feel like I can make a genuine difference in the lives of children and families.  Public education is thoroughly broken.  It is what it is, and my complaints aren't going to change it.  When it was working well enough for my kid, I was willing to play the game, but it's clearly not working for this kid.  So I need to figure out how to make it workable.  

ETA:  I see at least four core issues.  One is depression and anxiety.  There's a strong genetic propensity, and I think it just hit her.  The second issue is sensory stuff.  The third is the body image issues and her raging hatred for her breasts.  The fourth is the institutional culture of school and constant pressure for grades and performance.  And we talk REGULARLY about how we don't care about grades.  We don't even care about doing your best.  We talk about how sometimes half assing a task is as much effort as a task is worth.  There's no guarantees about the future, but they always have a home with us and that we will make sure they are okay, no matter what.  We talk about how learning stuff is cool, for its own sake.  But I've always been pretty deliberate about not reinforcing the message of grades and performance and college and the general rat race.  

Honestly, I don't think going back to school is a workable situation for her, at least right now, and possibly not ever.  I'm not sure what is is, but she went from dancing and singing and glowing and loving pretty much everything about school in eighth grade to falling apart in ninth grade.  She was slightly better over the summer, but school starting back has been bad.  Even things that she likes, like choir and drama, are sources of stress.  My first thought is that maybe it's THIS school that is the problem, since it changed with the change of school, but she really doesn't think this is the case.  And trying any other school is risky, psychologically (because if she fails, it's another strike against her self confidence) and financially very very expensive, because even tuition to non districted public schools is extremely expensive.  And what she is describing is, to some extent, difficulty with the institution of school.  

So, I see two, maybe three options.  Option 1:  Homebound and tries to complete at least academic classes at home, either until the end of the semester or the end of the year.  Work on mental health.  Maybe a job or some kind of volunteer activity, because she's going to need to get out of the house.  Re-evaluate at the end of the semester or year and figure out plan, whether it's going back to school or homeschooling with intention.

Option 2:  Pull her, work on mental health, try to keep up skills in math and foreign language, and let everything else go, either for the semester or the year.  Unschool/ de-school, whatever.  I'm actually worried that not having enough structure or regular activity would make things worse for her though.  

Option 3:  Try to figure out homeschooling mid semester on the fly.  Not feeling prepared for teaching those subjects though, so I'm not crazy about this.  

I'm leaning towards option 1 or 2 through Christmas and then seeing where we are, while we work on mental health.  Could conceivably start homeschool at the beginning of next semester, but online and community college classes tend to be sequential.  

 

You could also have some aspects of option 1 and some of option 2...   for example an option 4 could be: work on her health (mental and physical) plus a job and/or significant volunteer activity plus try to keep up Spanish / math — and let the rest go.

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I’m concerned you seem to be minimizing some serious mental health issues. 
 

I also wonder if you will be able to keep her awake in the day.  If she is sleeping in the day everything except online school I think will be extremely difficult.  
 

Things you have said are not just from the institution of school.  

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I think you are making some excuses about dealing with the school, too.  Could your husband or mom or mil do that if it is anxiety-provoking for you?  

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8 hours ago, Pen said:

Also, if all the kids are being told they are failures if they don’t have precalculus in 10th and at least 4 APs it’s no wonder to me that a lot of kids who aren’t capable of that will have become disorderly.

It's no wonder we have a massive mental health crisis among adolescents these days! 

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Public education is thoroughly broken. 

 

?  Is it? 

Quote

ETA:  I see at least four core issues. 

 

There might be underlying physical health (sleep, nutrients, fresh air...) issues  even more deeply at core beneath all of those.  Or at least beneath how she perceives and processes what she experiences.  

 

Edited by Pen
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I don’t think things can have changed so much since Tuesday that everything is rosy if she stays home.  You have mentioned many concerns and they are serious concerns.

I think if she is not getting back to school, those concerns seem even greater, because they are serious enough to prevent her from attending school.  
 

I do think she is at risk for going downhill.  
 

I hope for the best though and I hope she will feel better!  It is a hard situation.  

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1 hour ago, Lecka said:

I think you are making some excuses about dealing with the school, too.  Could your husband or mom or mil do that if it is anxiety-provoking for you?  

 

Good idea!  If there’s a Dad to do it sometimes schools pay more attention.  Sad to say as a single mom, but I think true

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I’m not minimizing the mental health stuff at all.  It’s just more straightforward and to some degree out of my control in terms of timeline.  She has an appointment with her therapist for Monday afternoon.   I will take paperwork to a place that does psychiatric evaluations on Monday morning.  I’m not sure how long it will take to get an appointment.  I don’t really want to take her to the hospital because I know from experience it’s a pretty superficial evaluation and it can be very frightening.  But it’s an option on the table.  Getting a psychiatric evaluation is the biggest priority.  

Another priority is getting a CAPD evaluation.  I need to call Able Kids in Colorado.  I could get an evaluation locally, but not sure it makes sense to do it twice. I need to find out what the ballpark numbers are for how much that would cost.  

If she’s at home, my husband would have to change his work to work at home or I would have to quit my job to be with her.  We would have to have a schedule that involved exercise and some kind of getting out of the house.  A job or volunteer work or something.  And she’d need to keep up with math and Spanish, at least.  

I wish she’d consider going to school on A days, when she has choir, chemistry (hard to do at home), and a friend to eat lunch with and do home bound for B days.  I think mentally it would be better for her to have some down days and days at school.  But she doesn’t think she can do it and my husband doesn’t want to push her at all.  I wish we could raise the possibility with the therapist and guidance counselor.  

My husband will come to the meeting with the guidance counselor.  But I will do the talking.  Because while I have a lot of weaknesses, I am damned good at dealing with school administration and getting good IEPs and such.  I can’t change the whole structure of the school.  But if we can figure out what she needs, I can darn well get the school to agree to it.  The problem is I think we need to experiment to figure out what she needs. And my husband and daughter won’t buy into experimenting.  I think we need to experiment not for academic purposes but because it could be better for her mentally.  

She definitely needs exercise.   More sleep could be good but she does get reasonable amounts and quality of sleep. She needs to not be isolated...but both the auditory sensitivity and the depression makes that hard.   Better nutrition would be ideal, and if she’s at home she will eat lunch.  

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12 hours ago, Pen said:

Also, if all the kids are being told they are failures if they don’t have precalculus in 10th and at least 4 APs it’s no wonder to me that a lot of kids who aren’t capable of that will have become disorderly.

I think sometimes we create these worries on our own. MIT not only has Calculus level 1 on offer for freshman year, it also has a 'stretch' calculus class that lasts over both term 1 and the January term. The stretch Calculus class is for kids that just feel they need to learn calculus level 1 at a slower pace. This is at MIT. Just saying. 

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8 hours ago, lewelma said:

I think sometimes we create these worries on our own. MIT not only has Calculus level 1 on offer for freshman year, it also has a 'stretch' calculus class that lasts over both term 1 and the January term. The stretch Calculus class is for kids that just feel they need to learn calculus level 1 at a slower pace. This is at MIT. Just saying. 

It’s an insane kind of pressure.  The issue at this high school is the way they track you.   There’s the all AP track or the thug classes.  If you can’t handle all AP classes, you’re stuck with classes with literal fights and drug deals and constant misbehavior. It’s not a reasonable system but it’s not kids or parents saying this is the way it should be.  But a big part of it is racial and economic inequality and the legacies of the south.  The schools may be integrated but this is sort of how they “compromised” to keep the riff raff out.

ETA:  This segregation starts in elementary school.  

Edited by Terabith
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