Should I bother trying to get her to study?

(6 Posts)
BreakfastLunchPasta Fri 27-May-16 20:12:41

My dd has her Summer tests at school all next week. She's 16 (17 soon) and has her final year of school next year. She's bright but has no self-discipline when it comes to school work, and has been spending all her 'free' (ahem) time pissing about online, napping, watching Netflix etc.
I've been trying to get her to study all week but every time we discuss it she has some kind of tantrum or meltdown..last night was just particularly fucking awful sad she threw a major strop, screaming abuse at me etc, and I reacted really badly, basically screaming back and telling her to get out. She did (why did that have to be the only time she did what I asked?!!), and wouldn't answer her phone/reply to texts..I searched all local places, rang around her friends and eventually managed to get 3rd hand info that she'd gone into the city centre, and after looking for her there she finally texted me, we met up and walked home together (which took ages, but was at least peaceful..).

Anyway. I haven't got the energy for many more nights like that, and I'm not sure our relationship can survive them. She hasn't done any work since she got home, and I haven't asked her about it.
The situation is further complicated because she is grieving the loss of a girl at her school, who very tragically (suicide) died a few weeks ago. Dd attended the funeral last Friday. She wasn't a very close friend, but the whole school community is so upset, and dd is still quite down about it. She is more emotional/volatile than usual, I think it's effecting her ability to concentrate when she does try, and also she's just not seeing school work as very important in the light of what's happened to her friend. I do feel awful for her, and have tried to be supportive apart from fucking up massively last night.

Should I just stop trying to persuade her to study and let natural consequences do their thing? And hope she gets motivated by her own desire to do well before this time next year..? Or is that copping out?
She will probably do okayish in most subjects without much work, but won't reach her potential.

It's been a horrible, stressful few weeks. I can't see the wood for the trees and I'd really appreciate any advice.

YeOldeTrout Fri 27-May-16 20:19:34

I have a theory that we have a duty to try to motivate them to want to do their best, but we can't make them do their best, and shouldn't blame ourselves if they don't respond.

BabyGanoush Fri 27-May-16 20:23:51

Can yoube very practical, and just ask what her next exam is and if you can help her revise, go through old exams with her?

MiffleTheIntrovert Fri 27-May-16 20:34:25

Your poor DD, and all the DC at school affected by suicide. I can well understand that she has been struggling with this. Have the school spoken about any counselling or support? Even if they weren't best friends, the death of a peer (especially suicide) can have a huge impact.

Does your DD have school holidays coming up? If it were me, I think I would actually take the pressure off revising/working here and focus more on "supporting" her however she feels would be most helpful. I know it's not easy getting them to talk sometimes (in the car is my top tip, if you drive).

I have a DC with some problems at the moment and have recommended to her that she gets some exercise, preferably in the fresh air, each day. I have also said she should see or speak to her friends whenever she likes as I think this is helpful (she has good friends). I have also said that if she feels down or worried, she should tell me just like she would tell me if she had a headache or physical problem. MN would probably shoot me but we also have some conversations via text blush it seems to make it easier to broach "big" stuff.

If you would like her to do more work, I have found that supplying them with new stationery (eg folders, post it notes) and them drawing up a revision/timetable plan can help - I encourage them to put rewards on there too so they feel they are achieving and making progress.

It's very hard isn't it. I just try and remember that I'm encouraging them not for results necessarily but for them to learn new stuff and feel proud of themselves.

Christ, it's harder for parents than the DC sometimes isn't it! brewcake

BreakfastLunchPasta Fri 27-May-16 21:50:23

Thanks all. I am finding it really hard so it's good to get some perspective.

She has quite liked it in the past when I've sat and gone through stuff with her or helped her plan. I'm a bit afraid of her right now - I'm aware how pathetic that sounds - and don't want to set her off again. I will try it very gently when she seems up to it..

Miffle I cried when I read your post. Thank you for having compassion for us all, you are very kind. I'm incredibly upset myself about her school friend, I can't begin to realise how dd is feeling sad I think she is angry at the world and that's why she keeps lashing out.
I think you are right, and what she needs right now is a different kind of support, more emotional support rather than pressure to concentrate on exams.
She gets her summer holidays next week.

MiffleTheIntrovert Sat 28-May-16 09:04:40

I didn't mean to make you cry but at least it was "good" crying (if that makes sense!)

I know what you mean about being afraid to talk to them - it's awful when they sometimes act as though they hate you but I keep trying to remind myself that she is just letting her feelings out the safest way she knows - with someone she knows loves her and will be there for her. It's very hard not to get drawn into an argument - I struggle with this despite the good advice I read on here about being a "bored police officer" in these situations.

It sounds like a holiday of Netflix and napping might actually help her and a break from the no doubt very emotionally charged area of school.

Do you have any support for yourself - is her father about? I either offload to DH to my mother as I know they both love the DCs very much and see things in perspective - my good friends have DC but not teenagers so with the best will in the world, some teenage behaviour can be shock when you have an adorable small child grin

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now