Stress and awful behaviour after starting secondary school

(26 Posts)
MajesticWhine Fri 20-Sep-13 21:51:26

Had such a huge shouty argument with DD (11) this morning that my neighbour asked me later what was going on. I find this very embarrassing. DD is so volatile, whatever I say she screams and shouts at me. She is stressed out with her new school and has lost several important things (timetables, travel card, etc). If I try to get involved and help her get organised for school, she says I have no right to get involved and I'm being "controlling". But she is only 11. Surely she needs her mum to be involved with her life and help her out?
I feel I have to tell her to take a shower, put her clothes in the wash, brush her hair etc. She resents this, but she doesn't take enough care of her self without prompting, so I feel I need to do this, or she will go several days unwashed.
If I don't check up on her, she never has any of her things organised for school. But she won't let me get involved. She refuses breakfast and comes home and tells me my cooking is disgusting and she won't eat it.
Help. Rant over. Please someone say it isn't just me.

She's at secondary school. If she looses her stuff then it's her fault, she'll get in trouble at school. She won't loose stuff for long. Likewise the washing - I imagine in a very short amount of time you won't get her out of the bathroom.

Is it worth picking your battles here? Deal with what you can and take a step back from the stuff you don't need to get involved in.

Welcome to being the parent of an adolescent. I am still finding it hard to get the balance right with DS1 (Y9) and now DS2 is like this too.

If I try to remind them what they need to do or take, then I am being controlling.
If I don't remind them, then it's my fault when they forget stuff.

I have found that writing a list or post-it note gets a better response than telling them things verbally.

MajesticWhine Fri 20-Sep-13 22:00:21

Thanks both, I appreciate the advice.

Preciousbane Fri 20-Sep-13 22:04:12

When your DD makes a game of deliberately not changing her pyjamas for a month and hiding them then you realise what little gits they can be. It is all posturing as they find their way, it is incredibly frustrating.

MajesticWhine Fri 20-Sep-13 22:11:56

Yes, she does that. There is only one pair of pyjamas she will wear. If I ask her to put them in the wash, she will say, "but I don't have any others". Not true. Grr.

aliasjoey Fri 20-Sep-13 22:15:32

Wow I could have written your post, even down to the taking showers, hygiene etc. DD 11 started secondary school 3 weeks ago and its been hard. Agree, lists might be a good idea (if you say it's to help you all remember things, not because she's disorganised)

Also she is exhausted - there's so much new stuff to take in. And it is really scary. We're just trying to keep to a routine, early nights, no trips or sleepovers atm.

Offer support, but avoid being controlling. Copies of her timetable are on the noticeboard, we try to make sure she has a decent meal... and listen to her day without criticism or judgement...

It's very hard! The first Friday, as a reward for not killing each other, we got a takeaway, cakes and just watched a film together smile I hope it will get easier (we have all eaten a lot of cakes recently)

Labro Fri 20-Sep-13 22:23:15

Yes to all of that. Ds is 11 too, normally A* student, this week he's earnt 6 'demerits' which his head of year puts down to hormones and just what yr 7's do. Sometimes its worth having a short meet up with form tutor to get things back on track, apparently boys at this age aren't naturally methodical about their belongings etc, might be similar for girls too?

MajesticWhine Fri 20-Sep-13 22:25:30

Thank you - that really helps to normalise things.

MajesticWhine Fri 20-Sep-13 22:35:30

I did already try an email exchange with the form tutor, who said she seemed happy at school, so I think we are bearing the brunt of it at home.
She also suggested I go through and check her bag with her to make sure she has everything - unfortunately not very helpful, as doing this with DD usually results in her yelling at me to get off her back.
But maybe leaving lists or post its will lead to less grief, so I will try that.

aliasjoey Sat 21-Sep-13 10:20:14

It's so hard when they want to be independent... we have had the same thing over hygiene - now we've backed off and if she gets teased because of BO she'll learn the hard way sad

MajesticWhine Sat 21-Sep-13 11:43:52

Yes alias I think you are right and I need to back off. It flies in the face of my instincts but I will try.

grants1000 Sat 21-Sep-13 19:03:54

I have no advice, I just wanted to sit with you in a show of solidarity confused

DS11 is the same, water bottles leaking on all his books three times, 3 of the 4 locker keys lost amongst other things, asked him at least 4 times about his homework. Every time I open my mouth he freaks, bangs the table with his hands, literally convulses and twists his face and says through gritted teeth 'why are you always having a go?

I just asked him to eat some vege chilli and rice and not just tortilla chips and kaboom off like a rocket. I took my food up to our bedroom without saying a word. All just fabulous.

aliasjoey Sat 21-Sep-13 20:22:24

Perhaps we ought to form a support group?! grin

It's good that your DDs teacher said she was okay at school. I guess she's taking her worry and stress out at home because it feels safe at home - she is holding it together all day, and when she gets home needs to release that tension?

Exercise (to burn off adrenaline) snacks - even the unhealthy kind right now, at least it shows you care - sleep. Clear a space for her schoolbooks & equipment (but don't hassle her about keeping it organised)

Maybe admit to her that YOU find it hard getting used to the new routine, and ask if she needs support with anything?

Even little things - having to take earrings out for gym, using up all her dinner money in 2 days - everything is new and strange and exhausting.

At risk of outing myself... a couple of weeks ago, we had such a huge row that she completely trashed her room (and chiselled "HATE" onto her dresser) that I took a photo and posted it on Facebook blush to embarrass her. Not a good idea - it only inflamed the situation - but oh dear it was funny in retrospect

parachutesarefab Sat 21-Sep-13 21:09:20

I have 2 DDs who are in Y7. One can organise herself, and her homework, the other can't. "I don't care!", "You can't make me do it!" and "It's your fault I haven't done it!" were yelled a few times last week, along with standing in her doorway screaming for 2 hours after bedtime. Phone has been confiscated for a week.

Slightly better over the last few days. I'm making a real effort to find things to be positive about. (You were out of the house on time. You're managing on the bus. I saw you'd got a Good for that piece of homework. Well done remembering your water bottle.)
Schoolbag has to be packed in the evening, so that I can check it. I've said that I'll do this until I'm happy she's remembering everything. A note about anything that needs adding definitely works better than telling her verbally. I get her to go through her planner, and write homework on a calendar by due date. I check it's all there.

I need to walk away more. Remind her to pack x/ do y homework/ take her blazer upstairs, then walk off rather than getting into an argument. Ignore those mumbled comments that try to draw me in.

Shower in the evening, rather than in the morning. Not every day, but I give her plenty of warning on days that it is expected. Fun activity for afterwards (that she gets to join in with only once showered). Putting clothes in the wash for her - yes, she could do it, but neither of us need another battle.

Agree with the extra snacks and treats.

Photocopy timetable, insure travelcard (if you can). If she's lost things concentrate on how long she's had them before she's lost them. Sounds daft, but "You've managed 2 weeks before losing x. We'll get a new one, and how long are you going to keep it safe for this time? 4 weeks? You can do that, can't you?" she's upset because she's lost it, and worried that you'll have a go (justifiably) - stay calm and make a joke and she'll be relieved, but no less careful with the next one.

Ask her what she'd like for tea, for breakfast. Maybe she could help make tea? Or start small. 1/4 slice of toast, or a few cheerios, or a segment of orange to get her phone (or something similar). Phrase it in terms of "once you've eaten x, you get y" not "if you don't eat x, you don't get y". Gradually increase the amounts. Did she eat breakfast, and tea when she was at Primary school? Is she eating a decent lunch?

Sorry, bit of an essay.

I am in awe of the chiselling!

grants1000 Sat 21-Sep-13 22:11:09

Some great ideas here, I just asked DS & he said he would rally like crumpets and Nutella and the new special k for breakfast, also that I should not even ask him 'did you have nice day?' When he gets home, all he wants is a hello and to be given some food and to be left alone. I work from home alone so it just made me realise I am all happy chatty because I am on my own all day and I go into talk overdrive when he gets in, so I just need to shut up. grin

aliasjoey Sat 21-Sep-13 23:00:29

Great suggestions parachutes

Although not sure it's always possible to find something positive to say? Eg. That's brilliant that you spelled "HATE" correctly, well done, love! grin

As an example of what they are trying to come to terms with, DD told me that when she and a friend were having lunch a much older boy (16?) came up and flirted with her friend! It's such a world away from primary school...

MajesticWhine Sat 21-Sep-13 23:14:21

I'm loving all these ideas.
I do the talking too much thing too. Its because I'm anxious to find out if she is having a good time and doing well so I ask loads of questions. But I am probably making her feel under pressure for everything to be brilliant so making her anxious too. Not helpful. I need to lower expectations.

timetosmile Sun 22-Sep-13 00:00:43

For what its worth, DS had a horrible, miserable, nightmare-at-home Yr7.
To my shame, it took me until Easter to realise just what an ENORMOUS deal it what for him, moving from a small primary to a massive High School.
I think my only advice would be to back off as much as possible - and support, support, support, even when she is a PITA.
They are a sea of confusing hormones trying to make sense of a large and scary new environment. Bus passes and gym kits will go missing. Best friends will make new friends and it will be the end of the world only surpassed by someone sniggering at her being told off in geography
Stay close and try not to have the battles you don't need to.
And if its any help, Year 8 seems a total breeze in comparison x

Gatekeeper Sun 29-Sep-13 15:08:06

oh dear OP...I could have written your post word for word. Tantrums on a morning, reluctance to wash self and hair ( she pretends she has cleaned teeth and squirts on bodyspray to mask the hum), screaming fits about lost bus pass, homework planner "WHERE HAVE YOU PUT THEM"!!!! etc etc

I've tried telling her to get everything organised on a night but it falls on deaf ears. LIkewise with homework...she leaves it until last minute and it shows

I get so stressed on a morning getting her out of the house for 7.45 and don't help by always biting back

arrgghh...still it is nice to know I'm amongst company smile

rachcarter Sun 29-Sep-13 16:16:49

Don't worry you are certainly not the only one! My 12yr old DD is a nightmare sometimes.

I luckily haven't gone through the hygiene thing but have gone through screaming battles with her not to leave her showers/baths soo later because she wont get any sleep.

But yeah, about school stuff, i tell her to sort it out the night before or don't complain to me about it, she still complains to me, and we are still frantically looking for things in the morning though.

I bombard my daughter with 'how was school' etc. and she told me to stop asking her soo many questions, then a few day later she told me i was neglecting her for not asking how her day was and only saying hi grin

NoComet Sun 29-Sep-13 16:37:22

My 12y Y8 DD has relapsed into beginning of Y7 disorganisation.

It's really annoying when I know she is capable of being way way more organised than I am.

All you can do is issue loads of reminders, loads of hugs and as many opportunities to relax and be a big kid as you can.

Having had a neighbours, slightly young acting GD here all weekend, I hope she will go back to school in a slightly more chilled frame of mind.

DD1(Y11) is no trouble at all, she's dyslexic, knows she can be very disorganised and is both happy to accept help and, as she's got older, develop systems to prevent chaos.

Mind you she still regularly losses her PE kit, only know she knows where to look.

Everhopeful Thu 03-Oct-13 09:53:32

Feeling a bit sorry for DD in Y7 here - she's doing very well on most things, especially the longer day (leaves the house about 0715 and comes home about 1645. Bedtime is meant to be about 8pm, but seldom is before 9pm owing to "getting ready" taking an endless amount of time). Main problem is that she's kind of compensating by being awake half the night then coming to get me to sleep in her room with her (she's always slept fine with company hmm). More than 3 nights on the trot and I turn into Monster Mum, bawling her out about how she's costing me and DH sleep too, when we all have to function next day. Last night we both ended up crying and I had (again) to convince her that I don't hate her even if I did shout (well, I surely did).

So far, I think I'd have to say she's pretty good at packing her bag, though has picked up a few detentions. I haven't checked it since about day 3. She's also very good about PE kit and hasn't lost any, nor has she lost her pass. On the downside, she's eaten her lunch moneyt in about half the time expected (apparently breaktime bacon sarnies are irresistible when you've little interest in food first thing, even though I insist she has breakfast) and mislaid her phone (I'm pretty sure it's buried in her room somewhere). She's also taking an age over homework, so I'm making her do it downstairs now where I can see her and manage it more effectively, as I think I'm asking too much for her to sort herself out at age 11. DH reckons I mollycoddle her though, but he never had any issues about this and blames my current lack of time sense for hers funny how his time sense deserts him when gardening, etc. I think it's important for her to have some downtime and she can't have it if the homework is still waiting, or she'll cut sleep instead, either to do it, or to fret about it. I think nightly shower/bath is a good idea to help relax too - again, it doesn't work if the homework is still looming.

I am feeling very reassured to know it ain't just me!

NoComet Thu 03-Oct-13 10:40:42

I'm not surprised she's awake half the night. No way would I or either of my DDs have done bed at 8-9pm.

DD1 and me read till midnight, DD2 does lights out, 10-30-11pm.

If she's not properly tired and hasn't had time to have some non directed (not HW, not bath, not eating tea) time, she will wake up with the stresses of the day still going round in her head.

Senior school children are just that, children. They have to squash being children into the evening and that's that.

I may curse slightly when my 12y climbs on the sofa for a toddler type cuddle (and to watch QI) at 10pm, but thats the odd mixture Y7-Y9s are.

The more you can go with the flow, the smoother the transition to teens is.

By the middle of Y9, Start of Y10, DD1 just dissapears to her room and sorts herself out, vrry fee reminders need to go her way. She even revises with only a gentle prod.

AllMumsTogether Thu 03-Oct-13 19:26:37

Its just awful seeing our once sweet as sugar children become stroppy teenagers. I've had the exact same problem with my 11y DD. High School can be stressful for any new starters. There comes a time when us parents just have to take a step back. She will learn soon enough the consequences of not listening to you. Unfortunately your DD must learn from being unorganized and facing the consequences. Assure her that you are there for her if needs be, ask her if she has any homework and when its due. Maybe even, just a nice idea, create a timetable fill it with "Homework time" "You and me time", keep her well organised but let her carry the weight on her own shoulders. Try to make homework a fun event, sit by her side, help if needs be. I hope your DD gets over this stage soon enough just as we all hope the same for our own.

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