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dd seems to be going down the drain

(31 Posts)
RhodaBull Thu 30-Jun-16 09:42:34

End of year 8.

Dd is (like all MN dcs, of course) a clever person. I am now becoming rather concerned about her. She has always been very reserved, but now has hardly any friends. Her peer group is unfortunately not the best. Ds, who went to same school, had lovely friends but it appears to be hunt the brain cell in dd's tutor group, particularly amongst the girls (they all went on from primary school, so I do have some knowledge).

She has had detention three times this week - "deteriorating attitude" was twice and now she has confessed that she has been marked late five times. She always leaves the house in good time. I am not looking forward to the school report...

She just can't seem to be bothered with work, and puts in minimal effort for homework/assessments. Every day she comes home and says the lessons were dull. Such a depressing attitude.

What can I do? (And before anyone suggests it, no, too poor for private school and too rich for bursary.)

MrsJayy Thu 30-Jun-16 09:50:07

Year 8 is 13 yes? She is rebelling and fitting in with her pals do you have sanctions for school behaviour at home if she has detention i would ground her also contact school before they contact you say you want to work with school about her behaviour she sounds hard work dont compare her to her brother or her friends she is responsible for her own behaviour speak to her year group head before the end of term

Horehound Thu 30-Jun-16 09:51:54

Sorry not sure how old she is regarding years etc I dont have kids...

I went to private secondary and was still exactly the same as your daughter. I even his in the toilets and went to the nurse pretty much everyday because i hated school so much.

To be honest I am not sure what you can do. My parents moved me to an academy for 5th year and I did enjoy that a lot more so maybe ask her if she wants to move schools? Is she being bullied? Does she feel like she can't keep up in class so instead of seek help she just pans the whole thing?

I was allowed to take a couple of intermediate 2 exams but the rest are mediocre standard grades, not interested in going to uni so I arsed around at college for a bit then had to get a job. Built myself up from using agencies and getting a good CV built up.

It depends what she wants to do with her life really.
It's not the end of the world to get crap grades but I do regret not trying harder. I see a lot of my uni friends making a lot more money than me. At the same time I see them being made redundant a lot more than me too (all oil and gas in Aberdeen, so far I have hung on!)

But the worst thing I feel my parents did was to go ballistic at me. Never let me go out because they gave me extra homework from school. I hated it, I hated school. Ask her why she isn't trying?

Horehound Thu 30-Jun-16 09:54:24

Oh yeh, don't compare them!

My brother had loads of friends and i hung around with a couple of nerds. I have plenty now, totally came out of my shell when i left school.

RhodaBull Thu 30-Jun-16 09:58:16

I don't really think she is trying to fit in with her pals, as she doesn't have any! She seems to have a few acquaintances, but no one she sees out of school. She had a "best friend" for a while but this girl appears to have moved on.

She just seems to have ground to a halt. She did say yesterday that she can't wait for the term to be over. So sad to wish your life away.

SilverDragonfly1 Thu 30-Jun-16 10:03:10

Would another state school be an option? I don't really agree with Mrsjayy, having been that girl myself I know you're not going to be able to discipline her into being happy! If she hardly has any friends, I don't see how she can be rebelling to fit in with them either.

If another school isn't possible, would a change of tutor group help? I'd also be making sure she had enjoyable, confidence building activities to look forward to out of school time and which will also be dependent on being on time and not being rude to teachers.

The first 3 years of secondary school are awful for some pupils, being forced to learn subjects they're not interested in and treated as less important than the students doing exam courses. Year 8 is the worst, because you're not a new pupil who can expect support and a bit of leniency or a year 9 deciding which GCSEs to do and having extra staff support in that. So next year may be a bit better for her in any case.

That said, if she's spent the last year feeling lonely, depressed and demotivated it's really important not to have another year of that because she's not going to snap back into 'top student' mode on the first day of year 10. The habits of not working, resenting teachers and seeing it all as pointless will be too deeply ingrained. It's really important to find out what she thinks will help her and to take action to try and make that happen.

Excuse the essay, obviously a sore point for me ;) But please don't punish your unhappy girl.

SilverDragonfly1 Thu 30-Jun-16 10:04:43

Cross posted with a few I see :D

BananaL0af Thu 30-Jun-16 10:11:13

Does she feel as though she has friends? Mine say they have friends, seem happy enough, but rarely meet up with them outside of school - I'm trying to accept this as their norm, I'm trying not to project my idea of how teenage friendships should be on my kids.

If your DD is actually unhappy about her lack of friends, can you speak with the head of year and her tutor before the end of term? Try and get some info about her attitude in school?

If you don't / can't move her to another school (I can't judge whether a move is warranted) then maybe a move to another form group? Is the school big enough to have 2 "halves" and could she be moved to give her the chance to meet fresh people?

RhodaBull Thu 30-Jun-16 10:12:53

Thanks, SilverDragonfly - you have articulated it well - I couldn't bear a year 9 that's more of the same or even worse.

I think one of dd's troubles is that she has the MN RBF (resting bitch face - don't like the term, but...) and is not a hit with teachers. She never gets picked for anything, including trips. I don't believe for one second in the "names out of a hat" thing. I contacted the school about dd not making yet another trip and they magically found a place hmm. She has always been very quiet indeed and that, coupled with a grumpy expression, does not endear her to anyone.

MrsJayy Thu 30-Jun-16 10:33:18

Och reading on thats sad poor girl sounds weary of the whole school thing which is a shame at her age is next year her option year ? (im not being dim i live in another country) she might make some friends in the new term different group iyswim I would still speak to her year head or pupil support to try and get to the bottom of it ignore my sanctions comment your dd sounds sad not naughty she seems to be lashing out. Fwiw it took 1 of my dds a 2years at secondary to find her tribe

MrsJayy Thu 30-Jun-16 10:34:49

My eldest is 23 and she still looks like she is chewing a wasp her face always looks kinda sneery

Ancienchateau Thu 30-Jun-16 10:56:46

I don't have much advice but I can offer sympathy! My DS Year 9 equivalent sounds very similar. He's gone from being cute and smiley to really tall and grumpy looking in a year. He also goes completely off the boil towards the end of the academic year, did the same last year. He's come first in everything he likes at school (gives me hope for a levels and uni) but totally bombed in the stuff he hates.

I put it down to a battle of the hormones and not fitting in with his peer group, and importantly, not making any effort to fit it! I just smother him with love and remind him about all the good things in his life. He's clever enough to know the forecast isn't that grim. We've talked about home ed but decided together it's wrong for him now. I would advise against changing schools if you can. We did this last year. Total disaster. At this age when social awkwardness hits an all time high, it can be really hard to make new friends unless it's a super special international type high turnover place.

RhodaBull Thu 30-Jun-16 11:10:35

Yes, I've thought about other state schools but it could be out of the frying pan into the fire. Dd is possibly the least outgoing person of all time so being "the new girl" could well be an utter disaster.

I do think she has been unfortunate in her tutor group. The girls do not seem to be awful, just "meh" as dd would put it.

I am a little concerned that speaking to the Year Head would mark dd's card even more.

MrsJayy Thu 30-Jun-16 11:32:01

Do you think it would be making her stand out more Rhonda if you spoke to her year head

MrsJayy Thu 30-Jun-16 11:34:27

What are her interests are there no school clubs she could get into 1 of my dds hid in lunch clubs not ideal as you want them to mix with other kids but dd felt safe in the clubs

mary21 Thu 30-Jun-16 19:34:04

From your breif description it sounds as if she really isnt happy.Do you think she is being bullied? Or wanting to be noticed. Do you thin.k her behavour is a cry for help.
I think it might be worth talking to her form tutor or head of year.
Is therr a more suitable form group

mary21 Thu 30-Jun-16 19:41:27

Does the school run any nurture groups or social skills groups.It moght just be hormones but I would take it seriously and talk to the school..also watch to see if you get your lovely dd back over the holidays

amidawish Fri 01-Jul-16 09:54:37

she sounds completely fed up and demotivated.
what subjects does she like?
would it be worth her getting a saturday job? it can be fun mixing with a different set of people but i also think it's invaluable for them to see/realise that this is their future unless they choose it not to be. What a levels can you see her doing? might be worth looking to the future - who do you know with kids at uni? someone having fun? a bit of joie de vivre. if she has a vision then she may step it up a bit.

difficult times yr8.

SilverDragonfly1 Fri 01-Jul-16 11:09:27

Wanting to be noticed really strikes a chord, mary21. One of the things I hated was getting no acknowledgement of the efforts I was making in any area, whether academic (well above average), sporting (well below average but I tried) or social (very shy indeed). All the attention went to the pupils who had difficulty in behaving or who were very confident and usually sporty.

It started very early in year 7- or 1st year seniors as we called it back in the day- with the Commendation scheme, where you would get points for good work, behaviour etc followed by certificates for a certain number. The pupils who weren't great at work but tried hard got them in scores, while I was just expected to produce something good and not acknowledged. In sports however, people who were good at it got them and people who were average or below didn't. I remember my mum asking worriedly why I hadn't brought any more certificates home after the initial few weeks and I didn't really know how to tell her! The same situation as primary parents have now with their children really. But it was utterly demotivating for an 11 year old to see the person next to her who wasn't very academic get two or three a day while her own, much 'better' work just gets a quick tick. At that age, you can't see the bigger picture!

Sorry, making this about me now! But wanting to be noticed might be one thing the school can help with anyway.

RhodaBull Fri 01-Jul-16 13:19:58

I agree that dd usually goes right under the radar. She is not an eager beaver type and thus has never once been a teacher's pet. I think she just retreats inwards and scowls. Eg post referendum she said the kids were debating the result but their points were so uninformed (both sides) she couldn't be bothered to say anything. Writing this I'm actually beginning to realise that she suffers from an inferiority/superiority complex - which I think I do too at times blush .

SilverDragonfly1 Fri 01-Jul-16 17:53:57

Haha, I can imagine myself saying that blush x a million. But it's helpful if you've identified a similarity in yourself, since it might help you to come up with solutions. Confidence building is really key imo- when you don't feel inferior, there's far less reason to try and convince yourself you're superior.

I wanted to act and it would have helped my whole psyche immensely if I'd ever been given a part in one of the school plays I forced myself to audition for. But it was assumed that I'd be too shy and quiet I think. I actually saw a teacher's comment about me at one audition- 'Very good, but quite quiet.' It's like, well why not just encourage me to speak more loudly then??? But it's easier to just give jobs that require confidence to people who already display confidence and in a school environment that is understandable. Thing is, we understand it as adults, not when we're actually going through it.

SilverDragonfly1 Fri 01-Jul-16 17:56:43

Do you think fear of failure is also an issue? It's been a constant in my life, even though I'm not aware that anyone ever told me I had to succeed!

RhodaBull Sat 02-Jul-16 09:11:11

Oh, yes, to all those things.

Dd auditioned for the last two school plays and didn't even get a back of the chorus part. She said they did group auditions and she was drowned out by the jazzy hands brigade. The school only does massive musicals - no traditional plays - so no chance to do any plain acting.

I agree that schools only seem to notice the loud ones. I actually wrote to the primary school head when there was a hand-picked group of pupils who got to go on enriching trips - Houses of Parliament, sketching in National Gallery, kayaking. They weren't the disadvantaged, or the talented, just the outgoing "favourites". It was a ludicrous and unfair idea.

MrsJayy Sat 02-Jul-16 09:19:01

Dd did school shows got chorus but they let everybody in she was in a Drama group at an arts centre did ss she said proper acting would she consider something like that gets her mind on something different and raises confidence and she would make friends away from school.

MrsJayy Sat 02-Jul-16 09:22:35

And these trips should be for all or none i cant stand this names picked out of a hat nonsense when it clearly isnt your dd is missing out on opportunities i would want to know why

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