Wednesday, 8 April 2009

What do you do.....

What do you do

What do you do with a kid that is dropping out of school because of 'social' reasons. Who is within 18 months of finishing Year 12. Who has reached the end of Term 1 this year and says she isnt going back.

She is hating school with a passion. She has been struggling to drag herself every day so far this year. I have to admit that I was doubtful whether she would even start the year. I thought that if she got there and found it wasnt as scary as she thought, she might finish. She is not an academic kid. She gets good marks because she works really really hard. Her marks are good, but she is far from the top of the class. High average I would say.

So she was never going to be a brain surgeoun.

She has quite bad self esteem She is extremely self conscious and has a melt down if things arent perfect. ( and they often arent, due to her high standards) She judges herself mercilessly and cannot cope with the slightest embarrasment.  

But what will become of her now.

She is without motivation. She is down on herself. She has closed up and will not talk about it. At all. She is influenced by older friends. Friends that have already finished school (or dropped out previously).

This is more then me trying to 'control'.

This has far reaching consequences. Not least financial ones.

I see her chances of getting a job pretty slim. Due mainly to the fact of her poor attendance record over the last few months. I see her sitting on her arse watching movies day in - day out. I see that REALLY REALLY pissing me off.

I wish she had a passion and was out to pursue it. I wish she had a passion.

She seems apathetic and lazy. Motivationless and angry.

I have put into place consequences to these actions and that is fine. It is a cost she is willing to pay (now!!, will see later on)

It is my head that is trapped in the endless 'what if's'. My mind that fruitlessly seeks conclusion. I detest situations that are left hanging. I want to know how things will pan out and I want to know NOW!!!!!!!

Control freak issues.... yes probably

This is my baby. My first baby that I love with all of my heart.

I so do not want to see her throw her life away. It is hers to throw, I know. But in the meantime, it will affect each and every one of us here in the family. Thats not fair.

She is worth soooo much more.

But, you cant put an old head on young shoulders.

We have all (well most of us... well at least ME anyway) made mistakes. We have made errors of judgement. And who knows, what may seem like a mistake now, may turn out to be the best thing that has ever happened to her. Sigh. I hope so.

I just want her to be happy and me not to be stressed.

And YES Lisa, I am taking my tablets.

P.S. - (For my non Australian readers, school starts here in the last week of January for the school year. We have four 10 week terms, with roughly two week breaks in between. And then about a 6 week break at christmas (our summer). Kids start kinder at age 5, then go through years 1 - 12. After that is further education if desired. Years 11 and 12 are not 'compulsory' but in this day and age, you really need them to be competitive in the job market, my daughter has just made it to the end of term 1 of year 11)


Lisa said...

boundaries- yes, if school makes her that miseable let her leave BUT boundaires- she must get some part time work/full time work, do some courses, go to tafe, something...........remember you are the big one, and you have tablets...........
she is NOT throwing her life away by not wanting to finish school
she is throwing YOUR dream away by not wanting to finish school
maybe, leaving school will be the making of her.........pray Jen, ask for guidance

Lisa said...

.......and isnt it about time you visited my blog xx

jewell said...

do you want me to talk to her...i had the very same issues when i went to school, i dropped out and started an apprenticeship and my main issue was that i had dyslexia but never knew this till i was 21.....

I turned out ok and have 4 degrees to my name!

Just let me know if you think it might help her

love and hugs xxx

Vania said...

You have your hands full, thats for sure - I am not one to give advice (even if you wanted it) on this subject as my two kiddies are still in primary shool and these kinds of problems will not come for a few years yet (but I am not looking forwards to them when they do) - all I can say is I wish you and your daughter all the best in this matter...

Cyndy said...

God, it's hard Jen, because there are no right answers. Have you been in contact with her year advisor, career educators and/or school counsellors? Sometimes these guys have a better insight into the options that are available than the rest of us. As we've all found out, school & "an ejukaytshun" don't necessarily go hand in hand. TAFE may have some better options in a more "adult" environment that suit your lovely girl better.

But the really hard part is the motivation.... it's really tough if you can't see the point in what you're doing... as the very wise GG, the queen in missing motivation, says on her MySpace: "it's a good thing that it's about the journey, cause I don't know where the fuck I am going..."

It's a re-occurring theme.....

Love to you, Jen xoxo

Michelle said...

Maybe she needs to be taking your tablets?

I'm serious, she sounds exactly like Kayla was last year....she is still in school, and doing her HSC via pathways....two subjects this year and 3 at TAFE next year....investigate depression and alternative (easier) HSC ways. Kayla did crap in yr 11 but is still going to be okay.


Shelli however....aarrgghhhhh

Myst_72 said...


I thought grade 11 was compulsory now?
Maybe that's just here in Tas.

I left after grade ten - couldn't handle any more school at that time for similar reasons as your daughter.

She isn't too old to get a job somewhere part time - which may lead to full time.
Experience seems to be something that is valued equally to education these days I have found.
At least that way she may get to find out what she really doesn't want to do.

We almost had a similar dilemma with Z17 - only he had finished year 11 and had his certificate in IT - he was thinking of leaving year 12 to work as a manager at Hungry Jacks.
Nothing has happened with the job as yet - he can't do it til he's 18.
I wouldn't have minded him leaving to do it - invaluable training and experience for a young man.

On the other hand, for him to leave without anything to go to - different scenario.
Do any of her friends work?

What does Dad say about this?


Natalie said...

Oh, geez Jen. Tough one for sure, but I have to be honest and say, not totally unexpected. Maybe for you as well?
I really feel for you, oh just so much.....just an awful situation.
My overall gut feeling is that it is "right" for her to leave, as there is something else waiting.

However, the mother in me is FREAKING out with you, and FOR you.
TRUST, Take a leap? I don't know....
Just know that I love you.xx♥

Anonymous said...

sometimes a year off in the real world makes all he difference...they learn that they are now behind all of heir friends that stayed and finished the year..often attending TAFE to finish school is better ( my daughter did it and now she is a legal secretary earning more money than you can poke a stick at )so...she wont get good results by being forced to finish.....this needs to be thought out.....w.w.

Breeze said...

She's so young, there's no way life is over! It's never ruined, there is always room for redemption and do-overs especially for a teen. Are there alternatives? Night school, online school, any other kind of school, heck she may be ready for some college stuff..the perfectionism sounds very familiar and my oldest daughter still has to get another credit to officially graduate but it will come.

Let it go, it's hard to watch our babies take a path that will make their lives harder but honestly, high school sucks these day, it's a horrible place and I'd love to avoid sending my kids there if I could.

I know how you feel but work on your relationship with her and hug her a lot and she'll find her way..she really will.


janis said...

Oh Jenn~ I feel for you. Nothing worse than hurting for your child! Thak you for the ps.. Our rules are different here in the states. Sounds to me as though years11 & 12 are much like "Junior College" here. Our students are required to finish through grade 12, then college, trade school, etc is not required but pretty necessary in today's competetive market. Jobs are slim these days and even the college degree can not save one.
You, your daughter, and your family are in my prayers. It sounds as though you are supportive and that is the best you can do.
Maybe, insist she get a job if she has decided not to finish years 11 & 12. Let her know there is no free ride. At least that will keep her from laying around watching movies.

Artistic Accents by Darla said...

I'm so sad for you because I KNOW what you're going through! My youngest son dropped out with 4 months left of his 12th year! No diploma! I was heartbroken. I know the pride of watching our children graduate as my older two did and there was never any issues.

My youngest had/has ADD and hated school. He disliked himself and thought the teachers hated him too. School was not only a struggle for him, but for me as a parent as well. It's so hard when you KNOW your child has brains but doesn't put them to good use. That's what Josh did.

He ended up getting his GED certificate and before he took his test I warned him that they are not easy and he will still have to study. He didn't study. He almost aced the GED testing! That just proved to me he was smart and used it when he needed it.

I worried for the next several years, wondering what kind of hard, manual labor he'd have to do the rest of his life and if he'd ever be responsible enough to be out on his own. I felt like such a failure.

Just this last year, after working temporary jobs, he finally landed a full-time job, with benefits and now brings home paychecks larger than mine sometimes! I can't believe it! He likes his job and now I worry that he'll slack off and do something to ruin this position he was lucky enough to land.

I think, as parents, we're going to always worry but we need to have faith and let them work things out for themselves at some point.

My very best wishes to you and your daughter. Things will be ok♥
Just hang in there...or maybe I should be saying to 'let it go'. Sometimes you just have to acknowledge that you can NOT control the actions of others, even if they're our own children.

I know someone will come along and give you the BEST advice but I just wanted to let you know that I can relate and my heart goes out to you at this time.

Alexandra Gibbs said...

I quit school two months before my HSC for emotional reasons. I did bugger all for about 9 months and am now going back next term, starting year 11 again.
Maybe taking some time off will make her appreciate school more, and realise she needs the HSC to get a job. Thats what i did.
BAsically, give her some time to realise how boring it is doing nothing and then she'll probably realise she wants to go back.

Dragonesque said...

Oh, Jen, it's a tough one. She's probably feeling even more down on herself because her heart does not want what society expects of her and that is why she has closed up about it.

I know it's hard when you see her potential but please do remember that education does not guarantee success any more than a lack of education guarantees failure.

Perhaps all you can really do at this time is to let her know that she has your 100% support whatever she chooses and to guide her into ensuring she has every opportunity to succeed with whatever choice she makes.

Making sure she has a plan (or two) to follow is always a good start.

Of course, you could always handcuff her to her schoolbag, escort her to and from school and chaperone her during class if that seems to be a better option...

Evil Twin's Wife said...

Well, I haven't faced this situation as a parent, but as a teen, I threatened to drop out of school and my parents told me I should be prepared to find a job, an apartment and be on my own then. That scared me straight into staying in school. I then went on to get a Bachelor's Degree from the university! It seems extreme, but might work? Put the fear in her? Good luck {{{HUGS}}}

Jen said...

Having just switched on the computer before getting ready for work and downloading these comments, I am filled with gratitude for this incredible community.

Thank you soooo sooo much for your advice, which I did indeed need. I have trouble sometimes straightening things in my head when they deviate from the original plan and this is one of those times.

Thank you so much to Alexandra for your 'right in the middle of it' comment. It is invaluable to get an insight into the teenage mind sometimes (an impartial one too).

I am going to get ready for work now - definately feeling a lot calmer, that there is a grand plan in operation here and that there are many paths to the end.

Thank you again

Anonymous said...

Dear Jen,
Do not be concerned that your daughter will not be educated.

She is Troubled!!! Maybe horribly depressed.
We all know what a fuck up the education system is now so let her leave with your blessings.
There is so much pressure, very little recognition of worth and poor teachers struggling with kids behaving badly because they do not want to be there.

Can she sew or do something to have her own stall at a market. This was how Collette Dinnigon sp?
began and now she is an international designer and seller.
I'll look for your answer in comments.

keep your chin up and remember Dick Smith, Richard Branson, Jimmy Barnes etc etc..


Hippy Witch said...

All will be ok Jen, I know how you are feeling. Lorena dropped out of year 12 8 WEEKS before the end and she was 10th in English & Maths, we had been paying all this money for a private school and she wanted to throw it away, I was horrified. I argued with her, but at the end of the day I she had no say, she just left, I had all the same thoughts and feelings, Lorena is a lazy person, always has been, so I was convinced her life was over, she would spend the rest of it in front of the TV, I was so stressed. But I had no control over her choices, my mother rang me and abused me because she left school, (it must be my fault) eventually I had no choice but to accept her choice. I said to her that she needs to be responsible for her own life choices from now on, I will keep out of it. She spent the next year on the dole, going out with friends to no where exciting because she had no money. Then she started whinging to me that she was bored and couldn't get a job, she wants a car, she wants to travel. My reply was, Rene, your life is your own, your choices are your own, and know this beautiful one, you will be the only one to live with the consequences of your choices, so accept your life as it is, don't complain to me about the choice you made, it you are no longer happy with it you are the only one who can change it. Her reply was, I don't know what I want to do. I said, Welcome to the planet darling, neither do a million other people, but while they are contemplating what they want to do they are busy studying or doing something they might like, because that is what life experience is about and there is no point wasting your life away, so my advice to you is to think about yourself, write a list of your traits, good and bad, a list of your likes and dislikes and decide based on these facts something that you may want to try, and do whatever it takes to achieve it. The world really is your oyster, I love you, but I can't make these choices for you. Well Jen, she was back in a week very excited, she had already enrolled in Uni, one of the traits on her list was laziness, so she was going to try teaching, because they don't have to work on school holidays and she loves kids. It didn't work though she got 2 years in and didn't like it, she stressed, I said, stop it, don't stress, remember life experience Rene, your choice, you must be happy, Im proud of you anyway, so she didn't throw away her 2 years, she utilised the credits in the Bachalor of Arts, she now knows she wants to work with money because she wants to be rich and nothing is going to stop her. Her year on the dole with me not giving her a cent or keeping her (she lived out on her own) was the best life experience my daughter ever had, it showed her what she doesn't want, that is a powerful lesson. So let her be Jen, allow her to make her choice, do not stress, and when she stresses gently tell her you love her and you will honor her choices and walk away.

Glain said...

I agree with Michelle. If she's feeling that down and unmotivated with low self esteem, and she wants to drop out of school I'd want her to have some sort of psych assessment, just in case. Being in years 11 and 12 is very stressful, she's growing up and if she doesn't have supportive friends it can be much harder.
I've found that a lot of the people I know who dropped out of school after year 10 ended up going to TAFE or doing open foundation at uni a few years later. They tend to go back to education because it's so much easier to get a job that way.
I guess all you can do is support her now as much as possible, try and talk to her, and look into al of the possible options. Let her know that a lot of the time you HAVE to have done year 12 to do TAFE anyway now. Unless you start an apprenticeship, and even then you sometimes still need to have completed year 12. Make sure she looks at the courses at TAFE to see what needs year 12 qualifications and what doesn't.