Lazy 17 yo with no ambitions.

(34 Posts)
Timetogetup0630 Fri 12-Feb-16 02:59:38

DD making me very stressed. Here I am wide awake in the middle of the night worrying about her. Year 12 at high achieving Grammar school. Surrounded by pushy confident girls who all want to be doctors,lawyers etc. She did very little work for GCSE's and scraped into 6th form. Now doing AS but refuses to study outside school. Doing Ok in 2 subjects but needs to put some effort in to pass the other 2 this year. Plays a musical instrument well, Grade 7, but refuses to do any practice.

Has no motivation and just drifts along. No idea what she wants to do next. Refuses to talk to me about her options for life after school. Refuses to see the careers Councillor, says it is a waste of time. Refuses to talk to Pastoral care or her form tutor. Her attitude to studying indicates to me that it would be pointless her going to University, at least in the short term.

She doesn't drink, do drugs, no boyfriend, goes to school where she has a nice group of friends who all put their heads down and get on with studying. Has never been in trouble at school, just sits their quietly. She rarely goes out. Has a part time job which gives her enough money to pay her phone contract and buy a few clothes. I don't give her any pocket money though will occasionally buy her shoes, coat etc. She's very funny and good company and on the whole we get on well. But she just doesn't seem to have any vision or ambitions.

My feeling is that she is scared of the big wide world out there and is just in complete denial about her next step forward in life. But she isn't helping herself by her refusal to talk through her "what next" options with anyone.

What do I do with her ?

holeinmyheart Fri 12-Feb-16 09:57:30

Well, I have had lots of DCs and brought them to adulthood. I had two who did not know what they wanted to do. No vision or ambition at 18, would describe them.
Both were extremely clever and were at competitive entry, prestigious schools. All their reports were mediocre, could do better, etc

The first one chose a subject and went to University after scraping through her A levels. She failed to get her first choice. I never saw a book or a piece of homework during her whole school career. She said she did it at school.

I thought at the time that it was imperative she went to Uni, when I should have just let her sort herself out and face her own mess, when she didn't get the grades for her first choice.
I even sorted the Uni place out for her ( Science) as she had gone on a Gap year. I filled in the forms etc
But she didn't enjoy it. She played sport and had a job in the bar and generally had a good time. The reports that I saw ( she left them lying around) showed she was wasting her time. She did however get a good degree, as in about the second year she realised that she needed a two one to get anywhere.

After Uni she applied for jobs at prestigious establishments but her A level results didn't come up to scratch. So we funded her living in Her Uni City for six months, looking for jobs. Eventually, because she was starving she came home.
She then got a dead end job and much to her shame, she lived with Her PARENTS, and had thoughts of her own.
So, She went to Uni again ( Arts subject) and did another post grad degree in a totally different subject and got a job after a lot of interviews.
She became very successful quite quickly and within a couple of years she was doing very well. However the job, although interesting was poorly paid and she decided after about two years that she didn't find it rewarding enough.
So she decided to do something else and got herself on another four year post graduate degree course. Boy, did she work hard ! She is now a Doctor and despite being a Junior Doctor, she has found what she wanted to do at last!

I wish that, when she failed to get the grades in her A levels, I had said ' well you need to get a job and have a think, it might have helped her get there sooner.

The other DC was the same. When they failed to get or do what they said they wanted, through their own lack of interest and effort, I was there for them at every turn, picking up the pieces, giving them ideas, supporting them monetarily. Nagging etc, worrying.

On reflection they would have learnt life's lessons a bit sooner if I had left them alone to sort out their own mess. So my advice is to stand back and let your DD get on with it. Let them try and get a job and see how hard things things can be without qualifications. Perhaps then they might find some motivation.
Motivation is definately the key. I used to watch my languid two, who didn't show any inclination to do school work or seem to be able to organise their way out of a wet paper bag, suddenly come to life when they decided to go to a Music Festival. Then they could organiser complex travel arrangements, book tickets, borrow tents etc.

Thank goodness my other DCs were totally different. Even though everything worked out in the end, it may have worked out sooner for the others if I had stood back and let them sort things out for themselves. I over Parented and over protected them from life's reality.

I thought I was doing the right thing at the time and of course I love them very much. My DCs are fabulous children, but their life is their own and I couldn't save them from every self inflicted knock.

So that is my story for what it is worth. Best of luck as it is not easy being a parent.

WhoaCadburys Fri 12-Feb-16 10:00:04

I would stop labelling her for a start. She sounds scared, not lazy.

wickedwaterwitch Fri 12-Feb-16 10:08:48

On the bright side - she's got a job, is good company, isn't doing drink, drugs or unsuitable men so that's all good!

What about an apprenticeship?

wickedwaterwitch Fri 12-Feb-16 10:10:17

I also think it's hard trying to decide what to do at 17

If she's in first year of A levels there's time, she doesn't have to decide now

wickedwaterwitch Fri 12-Feb-16 10:11:24

Nice post holeinmyheart

holeinmyheart Fri 12-Feb-16 10:12:55

Mmmm I don't think mine were scared of the future at 18. I just think they were unmotivated. I never actually thought they were lazy myself OP.

I was puzzled more than anything. Latterly I felt sorry that they couldn't find something that lit their fire.
They were all rounders. They were good at Sport, Art, Maths etc. I think it made it difficult for them to decide what to do with themselves. I suspect the OPs DD is the same.
whoacadbury what do you suggest the OP does then after she has stopped thinking her DD is lazy?

Mag314 Fri 12-Feb-16 10:17:01

there are so many courses that you can do if you apply as a mature student. I'd make her get a full time job and wait for her to get an idea that is HER idea. Occasionally I'd come up with an idea and my parents would dissuade me out of it and then I'd feel discouraged again and go back to drifting on auto pilot. She sounds exactly like me. I never gave my parents any trouble wrt boys, drink, drugs, staying out late, bad friends, but I drifted, underperforming & de-motivated in an expensive school they couldn't really afford. Occasionally I got an idea and they'd talk me out of it and try and talk me in to the academic route. Sometimes it takes a bit of real life before you get an idea and feel a passion.

holeinmyheart Fri 12-Feb-16 14:04:00

mag314 I think you are spot on. I never actually suggested any careers to my DCs, but I did over think things on their behalf and worry too much about them going to the 'dogs'
Similar to the OPs' DD, there was very little evidence that they were on the dogs' path.

When I listen to anguished parents worrying about Primary and Secondary schooling for their DCs, I want to say, ' look, if they have plenty of support from home, a good example of a parental work ethos, an essentially secure and boring home life, they will be fine.'

DCs are capable of being so mean to their parents. It is because they know we are not going to give up on them. ( some compensation for their utterly selfish behaviour , NOT)

The second languid little toe rag of mine, now has a fab job and a wonderful husband and is as content as a bug in a rug. She is a beautiful human being.
But I spent hours and hours worrying about her and her future.

I think parents over think things. I just wish MumsNet existed when I was bringing my DCs up.

Peebles1 Fri 12-Feb-16 15:11:44

I love your post holeinmyheart. It's such good advice for us going through this at the minute. Thank you!

Bahamarama Fri 12-Feb-16 15:24:34

OP I am in a similar situation. Dd17 doing AS levels and not studying outside of lessons. She is very unmotivated, lazy and selfish and I've spent many hours fretting over her and her future.

You have some positives there though. She has a part time job - my dd hasn't got time for one, which is utter bullshit. She's just lazy. And your dd's friends are hard working so it might encourage her to get her act together when she realises that she will be left behind. My dds group of friends have either dropped out or are all as lazy as her so I've got no hope.

And she sounds like a lovely girl who you get on well with. That's a bonus.

I haven't got much advice but I think we just have to let them get on with it. I keep telling myself this but it has yet to sink in. I wouldn't be bothered if she didn't get brilliant exam results so long as she tried but it annoys the life out of me to see her doing NOTHING!

I know how you are feeling.

Lanark2 Fri 12-Feb-16 15:39:33

I had parents whose view of me was relentlessly negative catastrophic and panicky. I hated it and it made me feel like whatever I wanted they would never agree because they thought I should do something else, so I have up communicating any ideas or ambitions.

Carry on making her feel like she is useless and enjoy the 'I told you so' position if you like. Well done.

Bahamarama Fri 12-Feb-16 15:58:43

That's not the case here. Whatever she wants I encourage her to go for it. Whether she wants to leave and get a job, fine go for it. Or do another more vocational course, great. But just do something.

What is the point of doing A levels if you are not going to do more than the minimum of study. Its just a waste of time.

I would be quite happy for her to leave college but there is no way I am going to support her while she sits on her arse doing nothing.

I never tell her she is lazy or useless BTW, and mainly leave her to get on with it. But its frustrating to me.

Clobbered Fri 12-Feb-16 15:59:11

Back off! Let her finish school in peace without nagging about what she is going to do next. If she isn't ready to think about it, she isn't ready, and no amount of pushing will make her. She has a part-time job already, so hopefully it won't be massively difficult to get more work when the time comes. She can apply for uni in a few years if she wants to, or just get on with living her life. Not everyone is ready for the big wide world at 17 or 18 or older even.

Lanark2 Fri 12-Feb-16 16:06:35

Sorry that sounded a bit bad tempered.. It sounds like either she hasn't found what really excited her yet, or is unhappy, or is treading water to allow a 'real her' to develop once she leaves home. You could help by trying to understand what she really likes, not what she 'should' like and trying the motivations together with ability.. Its hard if what she really likes is something you would disapprove of.. Eg if its 'would love to be awake all hours at festivals meeting odd folk' then its adventure, enquiry, understanding people and culture she likes...you have to climb down your ladder of inferences...

Timetogetup0630 Fri 12-Feb-16 18:47:21

Thanks for sharing your story Holeinmyheart, and thanks for being so understanding Bahamarama.
I have said the same thing. " you don't need to stay in this school, you can switch to a more vocational course, you can leave and get a job/ apprenticeship. But no she wants to stay at her current school.

I feel I do try to back off, am supportive and positive. Have never, ever told her she is lazy or useless. I do nag a bit, especially WRT music practice as lessons are not cheap and I feel so sorry for her teacher who is cheerful and lovely and so supportive. She is doing Music A level so needs to keep playing. But of course nagging has no impact on her.

I would be delighted if she wanted to take up a new pursuit, hobby, passion, whatever but she is contented just lazing about at safe and boring home texting her friends, watching TV and binge watching illegally downloaded movies.

I would LOVE it if she wanted to go to festivals, but she is a bit OCD and doesn't like the thought of being in with all the sweaty people, no shower for days, muddy clothes etc !

Her BF suffers from having a teacher as a mother who fusses incessantly and interferes with everything she does. As a result BF has stopped talking to her mother. Lesson learned there !

Chocolateislovely Sat 13-Feb-16 00:02:42

This is a timely post. Dd here in the same situation so a bit of advice needed.

Should I sit dd down and tell her my concerns. I don't want to outright tell her she is lazy and needs to sort herself out but I want to try and get through to her. She is struggling in one of her subjects. Purely because she does no work outside of lessons. She has a very light timetable and many free hours for study during the day. But she chooses not to use them for study.

She has only 14 hours of proper lessons each week. That is a big difference to the 30 hours of lessons she had in school. Plenty of time to keep on top of things but she is out every single night as well. She thinks its none of my business and that I should leave her alone. She can happily lie on her bed, on her phone, for the whole of the day doing nothing and that's what gets to me, the doing nothing.

I'm afraid that if I start, I will end up with a whole list of things, apart from the lack of studying and she will get into a giant strop and we will fall out.

She is just highly unmotivated, lazy and inconsiderate and seems to think that things will just come to her, without having to try. Life is not like that and she certainly hasn't been brought up to think that way.

Whatever I say will be taken the wrong way so I don't know if its worth it.

holeinmyheart Sat 13-Feb-16 13:46:05

Aw, Thanks for the thanks. That feels really nice, as sometimes you can be flamed for your advice on Mumsnet.
My languid no 2 is still not what I would call active. They find it difficult to make friends as they are very introverted. They also have no hobbies, but occasionally go to the odd Aqua fit. They are married with a child but their recreation seems to be looking at their iPhone for hours.
They are the absolute opposite of me in temperament.
BUT THEIR LIFE is not mine. Sometimes it has been hard to forget that, as I played Netball at County level when I was youngerr. I walk up mountains and exercise every day, and have a wide range of friends and interests. I used to think, why? Why ( didn't they want to go out and play on a frozen pitch etc) The others played Sport with enthusiasm.

I wish now that I had just been a bit more understanding about picking the fights I picked.

All my DCs had part time jobs in Pubs. The two languid ones got sacked on occasion.
They just didn't approach things with enthusiasm or gusto

I think the OP should chill, but that is not to say that she should relinquish her role as a parent and should allow her self to be walked all over.

You don't mention your DP/ DHs role in all this OP. What is his take on this situation ? My husband used to say ' leave them alone' and he was probably right.

I think the OPs' DD will be fine, but in her own way. The path will be her own not her Mothers.

LaurieLemons Sat 13-Feb-16 15:58:55

I was like this as a teenager and if I could go back and give myself a huge kick up the arse I would but I don't really think there's anything anyone could have said to me. I think its good that she's getting a levels (even if she does just scrape by) then she has the option of uni later on. It was only once I started working full time I really had any spark or ambition. I would just encourage her to try new jobs/apprenticeships after she leaves and see what happens, as long as she's happy all's good IMO smile

CalicoBlue Sat 13-Feb-16 16:02:53

I have a similar situation with DS 18. Last year of A levels, is proud of not doing any work. Has not applied for Uni as he does not want to go. Not motivated to do anything. Won't get a part time job.

I have tried everything, from letting him get on with it, to sitting with him and trying to go through his college work with him, to screaming and shouting.

I am not giving him any going out money now, so he has to do something.

There is a website called Not Going to Uni there are lots of choices on there, including employer sponsored degrees. There might be something there that interests your DD.

ivykaty44 Sat 13-Feb-16 16:15:12

You DD sounds idyllic, doesn't smoke, doesn't drink, doesn't go out much, has a pt job, doesn't cause you any real problems. Tbh if you can't see her going to uni she can get a job or apprenticeship.

Nothing you say or do will make her become motivated if she isn't in the first instance.

What employment do you think she should seek op?

Remember though this isn't your life, its her life and she has to do it her own way not your way.

Timetogetup0630 Sun 14-Feb-16 08:05:49

Ivykaty44 sounding idyllic is part of the problem! She is off the radar at school. Not clever enough to be given special attention and never bad to be in trouble.

It's not what sort of job I think she should do, it's what job SHE would be interested in. Thats why I would like her to talk to careers people at school and get some ideas about what is on offer. I work for a small charity and she is not interested in that area of work.

Holeinmy heart her Dad is largely absent and overseas. He adds to the problem by constantly nagging her to do her homework, which of course makes her less likely to do it. He left school at 16 and did an apprenticeship and now has a highly salaried job. So he would be Ok with her doing an apprenticeship or getting a job, but how do we encourage her to take the first step towards doing this.

She is supposed to do some work experience in July. Most people's families seem to sort this out for their darlings. I haven't really got the contacts and I don't want to do this anyway, but School will give her some contacts if she asks for them. needs to get this sorted out now. She can't be arsed to see the teacher and ask for the contacts.

Timetogetup0630 Sun 14-Feb-16 08:11:37

Chocolateislovely your DD sounds exactly the same as mine. Good to know they are not all highly motivated, hard working academic Angels.

Any attempt I make to discuss school, jobs etc is responded to with cries of STOP and she walks out of the room.

Friday I get an email from school saying she hasn't handed in her A level options yet despite multiple reminders...... I think she was a bit surprised that they had communicated directly with me. School report was Ok for two subjects but for the other two it was all "needs to start revising now". Can pass this subject if put some effort in etc etc.

SirChenjin Sun 14-Feb-16 08:26:56

Watching with interest. My DD (17) is exactly the same - really lovely girl (when the PMT demon hasn't moved in), doesn't drink or smoke, no wild parties, a real homebird - but doesn't push herself at all. I've always made a concerted effort to tell her that she can do whatever she wants and be whomever she wants to be, how strong and amazing she is, that good grades will give her choices, etc etc - all the stuff we're supposed to tell our daughters - and the truth is she just wants to practise her smoky eyes make-up and play The Sims.

SpotOn Sun 14-Feb-16 08:28:13

I have one of these.

17yo is gentle, kind, funny turns up to all lessons, but does no homework. Surprise, surprise his mocks were all Us. He's now being made to retake the mocks, but he walked out of school last week saying there's "no point".

He wants to do different A'levels next year at college. He seems to think he can sit in his bedroom staring at a screen until then. confused

Sorry, I've no advice, just sympathy!

She obviously has enough brains and social skills to do ok in her own time when she's worked out what she wants to do. I agree these kids are scared, rather than just lazy.

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