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Feel awful after big argument with DD about lack of GCSE revision

(39 Posts)
Sobek Wed 10-Jun-15 14:49:09

DD arrived home at 11am today after GCSE History and has been slobbing around ever since even though she has a Biology GCSE on Friday and four more exams next week and keeps telling me she doesn't know anything! I didn't say anything until half an hour ago and then I just lost it when she was lying on the sofa saying she didn't want to do any revision because it's 'boring'. I said some pretty awful things, told her she is a lazy cow and that she'll look like an idiot when all of her friends who are predicted lower grades get better results than her because they've actually done some work, that everyone will be laughing at her behind her back and that her options will be severely narrowed down if she doesn't do well in the subjects she wants to do at A level. Bloody hell...I knew what I said was terrible, but writing it down makes me realise how absolutely vile I have been. I also said that I'm not willing to pay the huge cost of the train fare to the sixth form at a super selective grammar (she's at a comprehensive at the moment) if she can't be bothered to do any work for these exams as she'll probably be booted out of the grammar after a few weeks if that's her work ethic. I just feel awful now, although she didn't seem that bothered and said that she couldn't care less about her results and then she called me a cunt and said she hates me. She has been pretty crap about revision the whole way through the revision period and I spoke to the head of Year 11 who said that she would speak to her...that consisted of her asking DD if all was OK and when DD said yes, that was the end of the conversation! All of DD's friends parents say that their DCs are working really hard, which just makes me panic even more!

Finola1step Wed 10-Jun-15 14:51:11

What effect has it had in your DD?

fiftyandfat Wed 10-Jun-15 14:55:22

TBH you can't force her to revise.
If she does badly she can resit.
If she does badly she won't get into the grammar and she can stay where she is.
She may learn something about taking responsibility and making decisions.
It is a very stressful time, but in the end it is her choice.

SewingBox Wed 10-Jun-15 14:58:56

Fifty, that's exactly the "right" answer but it sooo hard to do.

OP. By the time DCs are 16yo you really should have learned that other parents only ever tell you about the bits they're proud of. All the things theirs do badly, that yours does well, they don't mention.

You both owe each other an apology and a cuppa, then move on....untilthe next time. At least that's how it works here.

Sobek Wed 10-Jun-15 15:20:21

She doesn't seem remotely bothered about what happened and is sitting in front of me reading a novel at the moment (she never normally reads!). Dd has become a master of distraction exercises ever since the revision period started (for us revision was supposed to start just after the Easter holiday but there hasn't been a lot of it in the last few weeks). She watches crap TV, is in and out of the kitchen every few minutes (has put on loads of weight!), chats to people on social media (not her school friends...people she has never met and is never likely to either). Until today, I've managed to keep my big mouth shut about my concerns. I told her that I'm happy to help with testing etc, but she has never asked me to do anything for her. So I just backed off and let her get on with it. I don't know what came over me really but I just exploded.

The problem for her is that her school doesn't have a sixth form and she has only applied to two other schools, both of which required excellent grades. So if she doesn't get the results, I don't know where she will go, but I do know that she won't be able to study her chosen subjects as all the local colleges have said that these are the most popular courses and she wouldn't stand a chance of getting on them.

JeanSeberg Wed 10-Jun-15 15:30:30

Can you take some practical steps to direct her revision? Print off some past papers or go through a revision guide together?

What are her predicted grades?

titchy Wed 10-Jun-15 15:47:42

I'd start leaving brochures for FE colleges, BTEC courses and apprenticeships - sounds like she might need them.

I don't think you should feel guilt btw - sounded like it was a long time coming.

fullsuspension Wed 10-Jun-15 16:04:10

I don't think you should feel guilty. Perhaps the way you said it wasn't ideal but unless she is naturally very bright she isn't going to achieve very much with the attitude she's displaying.

I would would start exploring BTec options so she understands what she'll be doing if the academic options are closed. If that is right for her then that is fine, but if she thinks she's university calibre a wake up call is needed

NickiFury Wed 10-Jun-15 16:06:00

I can't see anything bad about what you said.

ihatethecold Wed 10-Jun-15 16:07:54

I understand your frustration op and I don't think you should feel bad. But I would never accept my child calling me a cunt!

Sobek Wed 10-Jun-15 16:30:33

Thanks for all your replies!

She's predicted to get all A*s but I think that was always an overly optimistic target (perhaps achievable but only with A LOT of hard work and that has not happened). I told her that I will not be disappointed if she doesn't get her predicted grades, but I will be disappointed if she doesn't put in some effort and get the best grades that she can. Until Year 11, she was a conscientious and hard working student and then it all just fell apart...big time!

She spent a whole day printing off past papers which would have been better spent actually revising and then I found the whole lot in the bin last week...she hadn't even looked at them (what a waste of time, printer ink and paper). In the recent half term holiday I suggested that she draw up a revision timetable even though she'd already done quite a few exams and she spent a full day doing it (lots of different designs and colour schemes) and then conveniently lost it the next day.

I really don't think she is suited to doing A levels. If she can't cope with revising for GCSEs, how will she manage at that level? Maybe BTecs or an apprenticeship would be the way to go. I'll have to find out about them as I know absolutely nothing. Hopefully, I can get some brochures for her (if the local crap college prints any...prospectuses always seem to be online nowadays!).

As for her calling me a cunt, I know it is totally unacceptable, but I don't know what to do about do I punish a 16 year old? I've already confiscated her phone, ipod and ipad because of her damaging our doors by slamming them constantly! Any suggestions would be very much appreciated.

ragged Wed 10-Jun-15 17:04:13

Make sure you only buy train passes 6 weeks at a time & let her get on with it.

MayPolist Wed 10-Jun-15 17:24:28

She is more likely to revise if you don't nag her to!!.
You really have to give ownership back to her if you want her to be motivated.If she really is predicted 10 A*s she probably doesn't need to revise for GCSEs at home.They will have done loads at school.

peteneras Wed 10-Jun-15 17:44:04

She is out of order calling you what she did. Don't blame yourself over what'd happened. You're rightfully doing what a caring, responsible parent should be doing. In years to come when she comes to her senses she'll thank you for this. Where is her dad? Has he any influence on her?

TheAwfulDaughter Wed 10-Jun-15 17:47:54

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

SasherinSuite Wed 10-Jun-15 17:58:28

Sounds like my ds. I'll be completely gobsmacked if he gets his target grades. I'm ashamed to admit that in the heat of the moment I did call him a waste of space but even that didn't register. I spent loads of time setting up a revision plan on get and printing out shed loads of past papers but ultimately it's his call. Part of me hopes he doesn't do that well as I think that will be the only thing that will motivate him in 6th form. That's if he gets in of course hmm

CrispyFern Wed 10-Jun-15 18:08:38

She's predicted all A*s.
She might get all As and Bs without revising.
Maybe she's happy with that?
If it happens, then limits her chances, she'll learn from it. Saying she will definitely have to go to a crap college now is a bit of an overreaction, to me.
Shouting at her isn't going to make her exam period any easier.

The calling you a cunt isn't acceptable but that's a different issue I guess.

Muppetmad Wed 10-Jun-15 18:26:55

Congratulations, you got me to join Mumsnet to reply to this!

I don't intend to give a diagnosis over the internet - particularly since I'm not qualified to give them in person! - but there are a lot of worrying tell-tale signs here that I think it's worth taking into consideration. You say "Until Year 11, she was a conscientious and hard working student and then it all just fell apart...big time!" - why is this? Students who are hard working rarely fall apart like this just because they can't be bothered. You say she's predicted straight A*s and you think this is unrealistic - maybe she thinks this too? You say she has only applied to sixth forms requiring excellent grades - maybe she feels under an immense amount of pressure and is collapsing under the weight of unrealistic expectation placed on her by her teachers and by these sixth forms? You say she doesn't care about her grades - it's very common to feel that, if you can't achieve what is expected of you, it's better not to try at all.

The behaviour you describe certainly reinforces this: you say DD "has become a master of distraction exercises ever since the revision period started" and "watches crap TV", even reading when she doesn't normally - this isn't normal "I can't be bothered" behaviour, there's clearly more to it than this. Printing off past exam papers as a way of appearing productive, only to not actually do them, is a sign she wants to engage with her revision but simply cannot bring herself to do it. Most tellingly, you say she "is in and out of the kitchen every few minutes (has put on loads of weight!), chats to people on social media (not her school friends...people she has never met and is never likely to either)". Firstly, the weight gain is a massive tell-tale sign that something is up here - atypical comfort eating is a strong indicator of feeling stressed, depressed and/or anxious. Secondly, she's specifically avoiding talking to her friends - because they would remind her of exams, when she's trying to avoid the negative emotions she is possibly attaching to them currently - and is talking to people outside of her "normal" circle. These all illustrate one very important thing: she's not just being lazy; there's more to it than this.

Again, I'm not trying to give an armchair psychoanalysis, but I felt it important to bring this up. The pressure one feels doing GCSEs can be greater than doing A Levels simply because of the number of exams - that's certainly how I felt when I did mine.

Sobek Wed 10-Jun-15 18:33:03

Yes, I agree, I do think I've totally overreacted which is why I feel really bad about the whole situation. Dh doesn't give a damn about education and doesn't get involved at all. He has never been to parent's evening, never helped with homework, so I'm on my own with this one.

She might get good enough results to allow her to go to the sixth forms she has applied to, but I feel like Sasher in that it might be better if she actually does really badly as it would shock her into working for her A levels. But although I know failure now would probably be best in some ways, I feel like I would be a failure myself as her mother if I don't try my best to prevent it, hence the screaming match this afternoon. The worst case scenario...and the one I think we will getting OK/good results in which case she'll think that she can get away with doing sod all work for future exams.

I'm wondering if there is something wrong with me. The other parents at school seem to be much more relaxed about the whole thing and have managed to keep some sense of perspective.

Doilooklikeatourist Wed 10-Jun-15 18:41:44

Don't think you said anything wrong
What she said , however is a different matter
She owes you an apology for her rudeness

Annoyingly , she'll probably do well enough to get into 6th form

I used emotional blackmail to get my 2 to revise .

I have faith in you DD , I know you're not going to let me down

Worked well with DS who has just finished his first year at uni , hoping DD will do well at her last A level exam tomorrow

Phineyj Wed 10-Jun-15 18:42:54

I am a teacher at a superselective grammar and I agree with Muppet. It's anxiety, so going on at her won't help at all. Your DH's attitude is sending a mixed message too. Tell her you'll love her whatever results she gets and maybe see if you can enlist a helpful grandparent/auntie/family friend to talk to her about her state of mind. I agree a straight A* student will probably get As and Bs without revision, also.

Sobek Wed 10-Jun-15 18:48:12

I think that there is more too it also and I spoke to the head of sixth form at length about this around Easter time as there had been a drastic change in attitude since the beginning of Year 11 and I thought she was showing signs of low self-esteem and mild depression. At that meeting I said that I thought that she was so afraid of failure that she probably would not bother trying for her exams, as at least that way bad grades could be explained by lack of revision, rather than lack of ability. The school said that all the data was fine and they hadn't noticed any problems, but they would talk to her anyway. Unfortunately, they just asked if everything was OK and she said it was, and that was the end of it. I didn't nag her about revision at all, but I did tell her that I wasn't hoping/expecting for her to get all A*s, but I did expect her to try her best. But today I said some terrible things and behaved appallingly towards her. She seems fine at the moment, all bright and breezy and smiles (in between calling me a 'fucking faggot' and telling me how I totally fucked my own life up because although I've got good exam results I've done sod all with them (which is a fair comment).

She looks bad too. She won't brush her hair in the morning before school, wears a school jumper with holes in (she's got jumpers without holes), hitches her skirt up to an obscenely short length, has cold sores and bad skin (she sleeps in her make up) and is twice the size she was a few months ago.

I don't know what to do to help. I'm making things so much worse. Today I put her under so much pressure by saying the things I did. I'm a pretty shit mum at times.

Sobek Wed 10-Jun-15 18:59:11

Going to the super-selective grammar for A levels probably isn't a good idea either imo. I worry she'd be put under a lot of pressure there. I don't know why she wants to put herself through that.

hellsbells99 Wed 10-Jun-15 19:06:47

Hi op. Don't worry too much about what you said - we've all been there. I think my DD calling me a cunt though would mean their phone being confiscated or grounding them.
My DD2 got excellent Gcse results last year with very little revision so your DD may still do surprisingly well (and this year DD2 is having to work).
Putting on weight and spotty skin may be mean her hormones are out of balance. Are her periods regular? If not, it would be worth taking her to the GPs for a checkup and blood test. DD1 went like this and actually was diagnosed with polycycstic ovaries. She has been very different since being put on the pill. If she is anxious have a look at 'alternative therapies' like acupuncture or yoga. Try and keep her off sugar and on a low GI food plan, as this helps the hormone levels/moods.
Above all, try and keep everything calm until the exams are finished and go and have some wine you deserve some.
Good luck!

stonelog Wed 10-Jun-15 19:09:35

Oh dear. It really does sound like she could have pretty acute anxiety at the moment (as do you!). I think you both need to take a step back from this. What your DD needs more than anything is support. I'd recommend the best message you and your DH could be giving her is that she can only do her best. That's all you ask. Forget targets, forget predicted grades, forget aims for now. The exam period is so stressful it's too much to think long term, and it's the short term which takes up so much energy. Therefore just ask her to take it one exam at a time and make it clear that your DDs wellbeing is your first priority, not grades. Funnily enough achievement will follow from there. Happiness is followed by success, OP! Not the other way round.

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