WWYD? Step daughter and A Levels
My dsd is very bright and capable but having taken on 4 A Levels she is failing them all (just finishing first year) my husband really wants her to stay at college and so does her mum but neither of them have ever –said no to her-- had any control over what she does so she’s not listening. She never goes to lessons and the HOY has now said if she’s not in every day this week she’s out! She has a trip to spain booked with her BF on Friday so this isn’t going to happen.
My DH is at his wits end trying to figure out how to get her to stay and get her A Levels but I’m more of the opinion that there is no point in her spending two years of her life and ending up with two Es and 2 Us. I get his frustrations because we all want our kids to have the best opportunities but if we can’t get her to go to college and study then surely there’s no point.. she’d be better off with an apprenticeship.
She’s got a lot going for her in terms of personality, looks, savviness and I don’t honestly think she’ll fail in life without qualifications. Anyway, should I just back my DH or should I be trying to get him to see my/her POV?
Well if she can afford to book a trip to Spain she's got access to too much money.
I agree there is no point in her being at college with such an attitude to her study but if she was my dd id be making it crystal clear that unwound not be financially supporting her to drop out.
Fair enough if she has a viable plan (vocational course/apprenticeship etc) but it doesn't sound like she has.
And we've just taken on an apprentice at work. (He's 19 & has a levels). There is no skiving off (he has to attend college once a week) & he has holidays when we authorise them. She won't last 5 mins with her current attitude.
Thanks for the reply. Her BF is paying for the trip (he's borrowed the money from his dad). She's been promised a car from us and knows if she leaves college she won't get one. She just says it's fine because she'll get a job and pay for it herself.
But no she doesn't have a plan.
She knows we won't let her starve though...
Balletgirl can I ask why he's an apprentice if he already has A levels?
Lots of people do apprenticeships after a levels instead of going to university.
Nope. Advanced and degree apprenticeships offer further education and a focused job development plan. Often much better options than just getting a bottom of the pile job.
I think you're right, OP. The motivation isn't there now. She needs to be doing something where she sees the point. She can go back and do qualifications later if/when she realises she needs them. It might be harder, but the current plan isn't working. Doing qualifications later might be more effective anyway, as she will have decided what she wants to do, so her study can be more focused.
If she cannot find an apprenticeship she likes, she could just go straight into a job. In theory she is supposed to stay on in education, but there are no criminal penalties for not doing so. When she leaves education, you will lose any benefits you receive for her (Child Benefit, Tax Credits), so make sure she knows that you'll be needing a financial contribution from her.
Good luck to her!
This is very sad. It sounds like she was motivated last year, otherwise she wouldn't have chosen the A Levels. There are two issues - the right outcome for her and the right thing for you to do. If her parents have never said no, but are disagreeing with her when it is almost too late, I wouldn't want to put myself in a position where she might direct her anger towards me.
How did she do in her GCSEs? Does she have any areas of interest / talents that could provide inspiration for her next step? What sort of careers interest her in the medium term? If you focus on those can you work backwards to see what she would need to do now to get there?
I am wondering if it is possible to focus on ensuring she feels listened to and on finding a solution together, rather than telling her what to do. I am sure you are all supportive, but teenagers often feel that the world is against them.
I would find out about BTechs and other options available locally. Look at the courses together and see if there is anything that interests her for September.
A term-time romantic break for school-age teenagers sounds rather extraordinary to me. The boyfriend would appear to be a big distraction during exam season, but teenage infatuations defy sense and, after truanting school I doubt she could turn it around at this rage in the year. You don't want to end up having a huge row about something that you can't change the outcome of.
I know some local engineering companies that offer apprenticeships, and as part of the apprenticeship, the apprentice spends a day a week at college and works towards job specific qualifications, including degrees. The company pays for the tuition fees etc, apprentice has to commit to x years at company following graduation, but at the end of it, the apprentice has a degree (with no tuition fees to repay) and work experience relevant to the degree.
It's a pretty good deal for the apprentice really.
But back to the subject, I'd agree there doesn't seem much point her continuing at college if she's unmotivated by what she's studying. Difficult to say that without upsetting her parents though. I suppose it would be best to try and get her to think about what sort of career interests her, so she can try and see what qualifications she needs to achieve to get there.
Surely all this talk of her staying at college is futile if she is not going to turn up this Friday? Even if the college don't get rid of her after that, will she be able to continue to Yr 13 with the dire results you are predicting? Won't the college ask her to leave?
I am also agog at the idea of a 16/17 year old just taking off to Spain with her boyfriend just before exams start. I have a 17 year old in Yr 13 so believe me, I know how hard it is to stop them from doing something like that, but in this case I would have taken her passport for sure.
Sounds like she needs to be booted out, have a reality check and stand on her own two feet for a while!
I just caught up on all of this. And thank you very much for the advice.
I agree it's important she feels listened to. She went away with her boyfriend (passport at mum's so nothing we could do) so the school called DH to say there will be a meeting on Monday where she will be "let go".
It will either be the making of her, or the end! Maybe it wouldn't be so bad for her to have to stand on her own two feet and sink or swim. But it's hard to know where to save her.
She doesn't have any interests or talents as such, although she is a natural sales person so I presume she'll end up at an estate agents/ beauty counter etc. She wants to be a business person - recruitment maybe. But I don't think she has the discipline or understanding of how hard it is right now.
I really feel for her.
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