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Teen daughter - self esteem(14 Posts)
I am waiting for CAHMS for my daughter but I have been waiting months and in the meantime I feel like I need to do more things myself.
One suggestion is joining clubs, but not only does she refuse to do this it's also an expense that I have paid out for many times only for her to drop out and it then puts financial pressure on all of us, with no benefit to her.
She doesn't have hobbies or really many friends, she seems to be drawn to the troubled souls of the world. I think she does have a hard time at school (mainly seems to be boys targeting her) which I have addressed time and time again with school and haven't seen much improvement.
Moving schools isn't a valid option. Not only are there no places locally she doesn't have a good school record (behaviour report) to be accepted and I'm concerned it would damage her GCSE prospects with the upheaval but that's not enough to stop me; no school places stop me!
Also don't know if this would actually help her.
School behaviour and attitude to work has improved this year, so it's not a crisis but we have just had another bought of telling lies/feeling ashamed of herself cycle of events and I just want to help her feel better about her life and enjoy life. She spends most of her free time with me, so I suppose she is one of those coddled children who never 'played out in the street' (not possible where we live) and she doesn't have friends to do this with. The few friends she has are certainly not good for her and they all bring each other down.
Any ideas or suggestions?
Sometimes. I'm not sure moving school would solve all her life problems but these boys do seem to be particularly horrid
Firstly, a state school can't refuse to take her on the grounds of behaviour until she has multiple exclusions. So, if you and she think that moving schools might help, I'd suggest putting in an out of round application and getting her on the waiting list.
Secondly, are there opportunities in her life to tangibly succeed at something? For many of us/DCs this will be through sports, drama, music etc - there's nothing like a round of applause, or cracking a tricky new skill, or beating a personal best, to make you feel great. I know you say she doesn't have many hobbies and keeps dropping out of clubs etc so might not get opportunities like this - can you support her to find some more cheaply and/or out of a team environment? I'm thinking: running, cooking, volunteering (there's something to suit everyone), writing a blog, painting...
I'm a firm believer that the best way to build self-esteem is to support someone to really achieve something - everything else can flow from there. Also, unless she has health problems, really encouraging her to exercise will boost anyone's mood as well as building in the potential for goal setting.
This may not be practical where you live, but does she or could she have a pet? Or share one?
DD spends quite a while walking our elderly neighbours' dog, who is always delighted to see her. It's cheering for a grumpy teen to be greeted by frantic wiggles of joy, and she at least has to be sociable to the extent of saying 'Yes, she was fine, no, she didn't chase any cats' to the neighbours.
They tend to treat her as if she's about 6 still ('Here's a bit of pocket money and a cake for you, sweetheart'), which she seems to find soothing.
I really do agree, don't know where to begin. She doesn't like anything and I cant get her to participate. I have suggested/tried many things all rejected. I am wary at signing her up for something that is expensive long term (you know like £50/60 a term) that she then refuses to go to.
I think I want her to do volunteering and she would like it - where do I start with that for an under 16?
She hasn't had exclusions but she is IN the state school and all other schools are academy so they have their own rules and giant waiting lists which she is on. School places here are like gold dust so it might take a long time.
I don't think moving schools ever solves all of a child's problems but being in a school you hate, where you don't feel supported and where you are being bullied can make things much worse/harder.
Having a fresh start can sometimes in itself help and given children spend so much of their time at school it can make a big difference in terms of helping a child to tackle other problems if they are in a supportive school environment.
I have recently moved my DD (only 10 so still primary so different I know) because she was very unhappy and the school just couldn't provide her with an emotionally (or physically) safe environment.
The school she is moving to is much smaller than her previous one, we met the head and looked round and she formed a bond with DD. I was impressed with how she spoke to her rather than me and with the lovely understanding and supportive things she said. Also that the whole school was friendly and open.
I'm not expecting moving schools to solve her problems (suspected ASD, very low self esteem etc) but I am expecting it to make it easier for her to address the other things by providing her with an environment that she feels safe and secure in.
If we have picked the right place for her anyway!
There were no places at the school but we appealed and the head has been very supportive of our application, making space for her and working with the local authority to make a plan for DD to ensure the move works out so it is looking hopeful.
I wouldn't right off moving simply based on there being no places!
I think also it helped my DD to have some time off school and at home with me. She has been off for 1 month after periods of increasing absence since before summer hols.
CAMHS, SW etc don't really agree but I think she has been pretty traumatised by the last school and having time off hiding and being loved and allowed to be small and looked after I think is what she needed. She is keen to go back now and get learning again.
The LA can provide complementary education for children who can't attend school for physical or social/emotional reasons and that is something we had considered for DD but she wants to be at school really, just couldn't cope with that school.
I second the idea of a dog BTW. I can't have pets where I am but CSM has our dog living with him and it helps her massively. Other stuff that has helped are silly things like helping her make a little business selling her paintings (she is very arty), she hasn't sold any yet but it has built her confidence and has helped her get friendly with the other children where we live because she has taken them on as 'employees' etc
Volunteering might be good, especially if she's drawn to 'troubled souls'! Try do-it.org perhaps she could be an online mentor or something to someone else experiencing bullying? Though it sounds like she'd be better to be out in the community if possible. Best to contact a charity she's interested in and see if they'll offer any opportunities to under 16s.
Could you volunteer together, something like this?
Alternatively take up a sport or hobby together. Something like badminton can be enjoyed without lessons and requires very little outlay or regular trips to the swimming pool together.
Apologies Myusername, for the purposes of what I said re school places, academies are state schools and they have to abide by the same admissions code as LA schools. If she's already on the waiting lists you've done all you can do.
On volunteering, you/she could have a look at:
londonyouth.org/support-us/volunteer/ (if in London, of course)
www.ncsyes.co.uk/what-is-ncs (if/when she's 15+)
There are some national charities e.g. RSPCA and Barnado's who accept under-16 volunteers so if there's a particular cause she's interested in, worth a check. I'd also have a search for local organisations who are sometimes able to be a bit more relaxed about age limits - as well as charities think youth groups/sports groups/church groups (if that's her thing, obviously - can't be more specific since its not mine...) who could do with an extra pair of hands.
Really hope you both find something that engages!
Ok I have signed up to about 3 volunteering places now!!
She hates the outdoors but she likes the elderly and the young, she's a bit scared of dogs/larger animals such as horses and cows I don't think that would work if chance they would be there!
She needs to feel valued and worthy
If she likes older people and you have a downstairs loo you could both volunteer to host tea parties once a month through this charity - www.contact-the-elderly.org.uk/ my friend hosts at her home and I go and help, it's really lovely as most of the people who go don't really get to go anywhere or do anything social for the rest of the month (and they're lovely, and hilarious!)
Had similar situation with my dd. She was working too hard at AS exams and got everything out of proportion. CAMHS appointment took ages so she saw private counsellor for 4 sessions. Dd then took our advice to socialise more. She was isolating herself and not going out. Started going out with a friend, swimming, shopping, came out more with us to restaurants etc. Luckily, she heeded the advice, but we were very concerned at one point. I do wish you luck with this situation. It's not easy with teens. Exercise is good, balance socialising with good boundaries. A hobby outside of school is good - art, music, both therapeutic activities. I think also knowing you're there for them really helps them feel secure. Good luck x
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