My DDs attitude to school changed within a few weeks of starting year 10. Year 9 was full of praise for her attitude to learning and now she is just apathetic - in her own words. It accompanies a change of friendship group.
I am a single parent and find it difficult to cope with her sullen attitude for 3 weeks of the month.
This term I thought she'd turned a corner, but it seems not. She has been cutting herself and has been seeing a school counsellor for some time. I didn't know about either. Only finding out when I confiscated her telephone for smoking/lying. There several messages that came in when she was at school and I rang the number, because I'd not heard her speak of that person. Later the pastoral worker rang me and told me it was a counsellor.
Whilst I'm glad she has somebody to talk to, I am concerned that not telling me about it is undermining our already strained relationship. DD told me that she has revealed to her that she has been cutting and they haven't discouraged it.
I am so confused and have been offering her a GP appointment or somebody to talk to for months, but she has been adamant that she doesn't want to talk.
Why is a counsellor phoning a child out of school? Can you meet tutor, Head of Year or head of pastoral care? Maybe she won't talk to someone you arrange because she's scared they'll report back to you?
claire, the first thing to say is that year 10 seems to be a difficult year for many teens - you're not alone in struggling with your DC's attitude and behaviour at this age.
I have a few questions after reading your post, because I can't quite work out what the problem is... I do understand that this might be because you can't quite work out what it is yet, either
You say the problem is your daughter's 'attitude to school' - but you also talk about her self harming. Do you think she has problems beyond/outside school too? If so, can you say a bit more about these please...
Her cutting/self-harming is the most obvious worry... But are there other things that seriously concern you?
When you say 'she has been cutting', what do you mean? How often, what with, how deep and has any medical treatment been required? (Not that any amount of cutting is to be ignored, of course, but there are degrees of seriousness, and very many young people do it once or twice in a minor way...) What has she told you and what have you seen for yourself?
You say the problems started/her attitude changed at the beginning of the school year, but that you thought she had turned a corner this term. Does that mean she only seemed to be having problems during the autumn term - i.e. Sept-Christmas? Or were there also problems in previous years?
Has something happened to her, or do you suspect that something might have happened?
Has anything happened to you that might have affected your DD?
I'm not sure what to say without knowing the answer to these questions - at the moment it feels like there are bits of the jigsaw missing. I don't want to give 'general' advice (like letting school deal with attitude to school, for instance, and just waiting for a year or two to pass) if there is a more serious underlying problem...
It sounds like, whatever the situation, the two of you could benefit from spending some time with each other right now - whether that's talking formally in some kind of family therapy or just 'hanging out'.
If you can tell us more, I'll respond as helpfully as I can...
I would probably ask the school for information on who the counsellor is and their qualifications. I would also ask the school or your GP to refer your daughter to CAMHS, if the self-harm is serious I am surprised they haven't done this already. CAMHS may well offer you some family therapy to help the two of you talk about your issues.
thanks for your replies. flow4, you are right, I am confused by it all.
Until year 10 parents evening, the only problem school had ever had was an incident of putting bananas in the christmas post box, in the dim and distant year 3. I used to come away from parents evening glowing with all the reports about what a lovely girl she is, a pleasure to have in the class.
The only domestic change has been our move 4 miles into a small village, instead of living on a farm on the moor. Still the same school bus etc. There are just the two of us at home, her dad died when she was two years. I have had a couple of boyfriends, none moved in and none for 3 years.
Within a couple of weeks of the new term in September, she was caught bunking off. Parents evening I was asked what was happening, why had her attitude changed? Did I know the kids she was hanging out with at school?
She was incandescent because her bag had been searched for drugs, assured me that nobody she was with had even been smoking. Later that evening I hear her laughing on the phone to her friend about how it was okay, as nobody looked in so-and-so's bra!
I know that teenagers naturally want to put space between themselves and their parents. I am glad that she has somebody to talk to at school. I am not comfortable that she talks to the counsellor about self harming and nothing is said to me. She was using a pencil sharpener blade - takes some effort to cut yourself with one of those! Not to mention the lack of hygiene.
I have resisted taking her to see our GP, as she is so resentful of anything I try to do.