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How do I become "supportive & encouraging"?

(37 Posts)
KatyMac Sun 09-Oct-11 20:00:51

I think most of you know I'm not happy. I have got to get out of this mindset, it's not helping DD or me.

She is doing a tremendous amount of activities and I'm worried she is doing too much. As far as I can see I have the following options:
1) Cut down her activities (unilaterally without her permission or agreement)
2) Find a residential school where she can do it all built in to her timetable (ie not be down for 14 GCSE's as well as 15hrs plus dance a week)
3) Home Educate
4) Negotiate with her about dropping some activities & accept if the ones she wants to drop are the ones I want her to carry on with
5) Find a way of coping with her doing this much

I know in my heart of hearts 5 is the only option, so help me please? I need coping techniques to deal with:
a) Her diet
b) Her weight
c) Her level of fitness
d) Her health
e) Her mental health
f) Her tiredness

Actually I'm changing my title "Pushy & nagging or supportive & encouraging?" isn't right - is it?

iggly2 Sun 09-Oct-11 21:46:35

Does she need 14 GCSEs?
Would fewer be more manageable- Her dance must be another 4 on top!
HE with that many subjects could be hard (surely her friends help her)
Can she do anything to relax (leisure time with friends maybe swimming/spa type)

KatyMac Sun 09-Oct-11 21:53:13

Hell no 14 GCSE's is ridiculous; but that is the deal with the school
6.5hrs dance is the new school
5.5hrs of the dance is at school (BTECH)
3.5hrs of dance is other types she wants to do
3 or 5 hrs choir**
1.5hrs theatre**
1hr glee**
1hr Arts Award**
1hr drumming**

She sees the ones marked ** as relaxing

Dear god it's ridiculous

iggly2 Sun 09-Oct-11 22:01:20

WOW .
I think I would have a go at school for cutting down a couple of GCSEs but as a compromise is there a way that she could ease of on something such as choir (doing 3 hours not 5). Do you think she benefits more from the social side of say choir/glee or from drumming (is this more individual?).

iggly2 Sun 09-Oct-11 22:02:25

I personally feel no course would require more than 9/10 GCSEs.

KatyMac Sun 09-Oct-11 22:08:12

It's hard to say

The drumming is a community group doing African drumming & dancing

She won't voluntarily drop anything.....in fact she is campaigning for more!

I'm being very negative about it all and that isn't good for her

KatyMac Sun 09-Oct-11 22:10:57

The choir is a school choir plus a community Gospel choir so more practise when there is something coming up

blackeyedsusan Sun 09-Oct-11 22:27:42

what does she want to do with her dance?

can she see anyway to make this more likely to happen?

what does she think the affect of all this extra work is on her ability to dance, short term and long term?

personally, I would want to ask her to drop one of the choirs and put a blanket ban on all new activities, getting her to agree would be another matter.

KatyMac Sun 09-Oct-11 22:32:36

She just (start of September) won a place at Ballet School (which is the 6.5hrs) & started Btech Dance within school. I was already worried about her level of activity/exercise but she is very determined,

She read that you needed Grade 5 music theory & some 'high' ballet grade to get into PA college, so at the beginning of the summer she booked herself Theory lessons (someone coming to the house so it was 'safe') & nagged me to arrange ballet lessons (DD going somewhere so I had to do it as she wouldn't be able to get there by herself).

She has now planned 4 (fairly respectable and possible) alternative careers for herself

Working on the West End in a musical
Owning/running a dance school
Teaching in someone else's school
Teaching dance in a high school

gelatinous Sun 09-Oct-11 23:04:42

It does seem a lot!

Aside from how you are coping, how is she coping? Is she actually getting over tired and stressed or is this something you are worried may happen? You may find if you take it half a term at a time and make sure she gets plenty of rest each holiday that she can cope OK. If not would a planned couple of days off (scholl or dance or both) every 3-4 weeks be possible (maybe calling it illness if necessary).

Her determination is good, if she can translate that into organisation and keep on top of everything that's going on she may manage fine. My gut feeling says there's one or two too many relaxation activities on the list though. Could you both order them in terms of which goes first if things do get too much and see how much common ground there is and maybe agree a cutting back order (only to be used if needed)? At least talking it through would mean it doesn't come as a big surprise if it has to happen.

Diet - she will need lots of carbs quite soon after each exercise session as well as proper meals. Cereal bars, pasta snacks all good. With that level of exercise she's probably going to be able to eat as much as she likes with no worry about putting on weight.

I know talented swimmers who do 17+ hours training a week often do reduced GCSE set and don't do some classes at school (usually, PE, drama, art type subjects). I think she's already getting some time to do homework in PE/form time (?), but you may need to negotiate a reduced timetable so she does fewer subjects and gets a few more frees in school.

I wish her all the best, she sounds fab.

seeker Sun 09-Oct-11 23:07:47

Why is she doing 14 GCSEs?

KatyMac Mon 10-Oct-11 07:55:59

Seeker; Because that is what the school do - over 3 years (this year is a trial apparently)

She is tired, but actually seems to be thriving on it. I have to be honest just because she considers it 'relaxation' doesn't mean it necessarily is, to get to hr main career path she needs singing & theatre & dance

The Arts Award is another version of a GCSE, which initially I thought important because of all the PA she was doing to keep an academic strand running through it. Of course it is less important now, but getting DD to give up is impossible.

Yes school have agreed to no PE and is letting her work on her course work then. I like the idea of reduced GCSE's but whether the school will go for it or not......we will have to see. At least she is doing them over 3 years not 2. School have been resisting me 'going in for a chat' but I will persuade them.

She has naturally over the weeks doubled her lunch, increasing the quality at the same time. She has started having a proper breakfast (thank goodness) and is now on 4 meals a day. I'm more worried about her losing weight than gaining tbh

cory Mon 10-Oct-11 09:28:23

Thinking the same as everybody else; the real problem here is the school's intransigency about the 14 GCSEs (^whyyy^?- it's not as if a uni admissions officer is ever going to care).

seeker Mon 10-Oct-11 09:37:12

My dd is 15- so older than yours, and she has had to rein in her activities (pun intended- several ofthem are horse related!) this year because she just can't manage it all. And her school only does 10 GCSEs. It only takes one sleepover at the weekend to completely stymie the week if you're doing so much- there's no slack in the system, and there needs to be in my opinion.

gelatinous Mon 10-Oct-11 10:11:30

some children do have the capacity to do a ridiculous amount though seeker - your dd may have needed to cut back, but it doesn't necessarily mean Katymacs dd will have to (though she may well). My ds is older still and somehow managed to do almost as many ECs as Katymacs dd and came out smiling. He was always very tired come the holidays though and needed a couple of days to recover.

KatyMac Mon 10-Oct-11 11:48:03

Did I mention she slept 13 & 3/4 hours on Saturday night hmm

AMumInScotland Mon 10-Oct-11 12:43:13

Are you game for considering Home Education? She could drop down to a far more sensible number of GCSEs, and still end up with a set of qualifications which would get her into her choices for the future. And she certainly sounds determined enough to work independently if she sees the value in it.

DS spent Yr10 & 11 out of school, and it allowed him to spend way more time on his music than he could have done otherwise, while still getting IGCSEs through an online school.

KatyMac Mon 10-Oct-11 18:04:56

It is a possibility, but I work 50 hrs plus a week so it could be tricky

I'm a bit ambivalent about it all tbh; almost I am scared to do anything in case I make it worse - our relationship is quite volatile

KatyMac Mon 10-Oct-11 19:01:14

OK stuff I can do easily
1) Make sure she east well - this is working I cook breakfast & she does her lunch (I buy lots of good stuff), she has tea with the children & does pasta for supper
2) Make sure she sleeps well - more tricky but maybe after Saturday she will admit she needs more sleep
3) multi vitamins
4) cut out activities in half term so she rests

That should help

ragged Tue 11-Oct-11 13:14:41

What school year is she in now and what is the schedule for when she will be finishing which GCSEs? It sounds like she will need to concentrate on the ones taken sooner, and just tread water on the ones to be examined later.

KatyMac Tue 11-Oct-11 13:17:34

She is in Year 9 and I don't have that information; I don't feel very informed by the school tbh - I must chase it up

seeker Tue 11-Oct-11 13:20:05

And- I'm really sorry if I'm sounding bossybor judgemental or anything like that, but do you think you might need to be a bit more assertive with her? She is still a child and presumably you are paying for these things and taking her tonthem. You should have q say in what she does......

KatyMac Tue 11-Oct-11 13:33:37

Seeker - it's all happened gradually, the big spanner in the works was this scholarship without that she was busy but fine.

As it's her career choice as well I need to balance between training a professional and indulging a whim; and I have been told very firmly by several teachers it is the first. So reducing a class may have a direct effect on her future employability.

I can unilaterally cut classes for her; but I have found since she started 'being a teenager' negotiation, leading by example and debate far more effective than blanket ban/decisions. So we are in negotiation atm

We have cut Sunday School, piano, guitar, street dance, Guides & youth club in the months this has been increasing. What we cut next is still being discussed

titchy Tue 11-Oct-11 13:44:20

What is the actual problem of her doing all these activities? Or is your mindset that somehow they are not good for her the problem? Or the cost? Or the practicality of fitting them all in? Or her tiredness? Or what?

Without understanding the problems ti's a bit difficult to advise!

To be frank -she's 13. If she buggers up her GCSEs she can re-take them. If she falls asleep in the middle of a dance exam, she can re-take it. I can't really see that however much she does, and the consequences of that, or conversely however much she drops, and the result of that, will realistically make any difference to her entire adult life. You seem to have the mindset that any mistakes now will screw her up for life, and thus everything becomes all emcompassing and vital to resolve corrctly NOW....

ragged Tue 11-Oct-11 13:46:29

See what I said on other thread about injuries; if she overdoes it now she is at much higher risk of permanent injuries which could dash all her hopes.

Much better for her to do focus on quality rather than quantity in her development programme, anyone relying on their body for a career has to look after it extremely carefully.

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