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Yr 8 dilemma... daughter still not settled and misbehaving

(14 Posts)
xrossroads Sat 14-Jul-18 09:25:59

All looking for some help and guidance please.

We are a family of 5, close I'd say with lots of
Wider family around and with two boys and a girl.

My daughter started high school having come from primary with no behaviour issues or social problems and finished off with a good score on her sats and got her first choice school which at the time was the best performing school in the area.

We started having problems towards the end of year 7. Little meltdowns here and there which out of nowhere was accompanied with her writing a diary which she left out saying how much she hates us and full of the modern language of teen life today. Sat her down and spoke to her and she said she was finding it hard to fit in which I accepted and told her to keep this open and talk about what was going on at all times and that we are family and always there for her.

Carried on with yo-yo type behaviour and the start of year 8 was very unsettled but managed to settle in until a phone call from school about her continued disruptive behaviour, childish chatter, arguing with other kids.. staff.. and refusal to do her work. We agreed to put her on report and this lasted a week and again things picked up.

Things have again gone up and down. We had a family holiday which I thought she enjoyed, made an effort but when we got back noticed her staying in her bedroom more and more. Fighting with her two younger brothers, homework standard dropping and bad behaviour points increasing.

Afound this time, she also started asking around smoking and vaping.. could see it coming. Cutting the hedges back, found an empty pack of cigarettes and knew straight away it was her. Held back from confronting her about it... until she again picked up more bad behaviour points and when confronted I found little holes in sofa which were ash burns. Asked her straight away and she started crying and promised she had stopped. We talked a lot about it and she said it was tough and she's trying to be good but. She as spotted coming back from out of bounds near where the smokers hang out and denied that at first but we got there in the end.

Anyway, a month later, we have a bad month and the school puts her on report. Noticed as of late she's becoming more detracted from us and spends very little time sat with us as a family and if we do go out together she's always arguing and clearly expressing her not wanting to be there.

School said while academically she's found good, she's still making poor behaviour choices and I've had conversations before with her and the school about moving her.

My wife found a lighter on her bed again last night.. this is after she's again been put onto report and she's said it's not hers and her friends and she's not aware of the smoking... I've kept that from her. She comes home from school always moody... has a few running problems with some kids.. and I'm genuinely concerned at loosing her to some of the more unruly kids there as she is showing continued signs of this.

She's incredibly naive.. just wants to fit in but I'm scared about her making wrong choices... the school said she does move from group to group but I think the problem is the school itself as it has large problems with social media and having kids engage in a manner that's acceptable... they are all about snapchat and gangster life even though the school is in an affluent area and has performed well historically and recently.

I'm in the middle of writing an email to her school with the view of moving her and my disappointment and concern about her and the person she's becoming while at achool.

I've again confiscated her phone, and I am going to ask her today to unlock it and read though her messages, is this wise? She's been phoning people or vice Versa late at night and I need to know she's out of harms way.. she's asked how far Nottingham is which again has raised alarm

OP’s posts: |
xrossroads Sat 14-Jul-18 09:32:52

Also add that I'm about to sit down with her later today with her grandma and mother and tell them everything she's been doing including the smoking so that we are all aware of what's going on.

I can't accept her continued childish misbehaving while in school and want to look to move her but obviously know the problems this may bring.

OP’s posts: |
steppemum Sat 14-Jul-18 10:10:55

There are a few things I notice from your post.

The biggest one is that her mum doesn't know about the smoking. Does that also mean that all these conversations with her etc are all happening with you but not with mum too?

Whether or not you and mum are together, (and it isn't clear to me if you are or not) I would say that the first thing you need is to get all of you on the same page. Everyone needs to be supervising, following up and looking out for her. Not just you.

The second thing is that there is an overlap between your dd behaviour and normal teen behaviour and you need to pull out what is unacceptable (smoking) and what is normal (lying on her bed for hours texting)

If she is struggling to make friends and fit in, I am not sure that will change at a new school, where she will be the new girl.
On the other hand if it is to do with a group of friends who are a bad influence, then moving her will help.

I have a 13 year old daughter, our phone rules are:
phones downstairs overnight, off for an hour before bed, not allowed on phone all day Sat/Sun. She should not have her phone in her room overnight, that will immediately stop the late night texts.
As to content our house wi-fi has pretty strict controls, but she has data, so could get round them. Broken trust means loss of phone.

Her Nottingham comment is a worry, and yes, I reserve the right to read their phone, although I have only done it once, with my ds when he was 14. They know I will if I have concerns. But I try to get a balance between trust and respecting their privacy, and being the parent.

One other comment. Kids at this age can be prickly and hard to love, but this is an age when they need to know you love them completely and a bit of love bombing goes a long way.

Bekabeech Sat 14-Jul-18 10:16:50

I would suggest you start by working on your family dynamics first. Why are you involving her grandmother? This sounds a bit like ganging up rather than listening to her.

For teenagers what you really want is to keep the communication lines open. To be able to chat about the things that worry them, to give guidance if asked for it and to share your experiences so they know they are not alone.

By telling her what to do and coming down hard, you are shutting down those lines of communication. And teaching her to lie and cover up more effectively.

Also changing school is not necessarily any answer. Every school has: smoking, drugs and sex. A school who you can work with is better than a shiney new one.

xrossroads Sat 14-Jul-18 10:23:09

Thanks for the reply.

We do have measures in place but as you know can easily be worked around. I am looking at proposing taking her phone away from her overnight as normal now.

I chose to leave mum out of the smoking incident but think she suspects.. my mistake but that will be cleared up today as we will all sit down and discuss what is and isn't acceptable.

She has breached my trust on several occasions and her bring a lighter home again means that she's still in my eyes pushing me.. and she know says openly she doesn't care if I find out to her mum. I'm not going to start yelling and shouting at her but will be talking firmly about her and her behaviour.

I will ask to look at her phone though and she will not be getting the phone back until o see an improvement and I've spoke to the school again who I am disappointed with.

But then again, am I being over the top? She is naive, and she's getting caught up in all the classic fomo and usual lies other kids tell just to impress and feels that she is missing out even though most don't do what they say.

The smoking I cannot accept and will be pushing her hard on, all I ask is that she does well in school and is capable but she's just not doing that. Her room is always a mess, she never cleans up, pushed people round, tuts and groans.. laughs at people in a patronising way.

Just a bit deflated with her at the minute

OP’s posts: |
steppemum Sat 14-Jul-18 10:35:08

I still find something in your tone really out of scync.
How on earth do you discipline over a serious matter like smoking, and her mum doens't know??

You are teaching her to be deceitful, and to play one of you off against the other, as soon as you say 'I won't tell mum'
rule no. 1 in our house is - if mum said it, then dad will say it too. So don't go and ask mum for something if dad has said no.
always always always present a united front as parents.

Removing her phone for a week or two is fine.
Saying from now on, no phone on bedroom overnight - fine

But it doesn't actually get to the underlying issue. Why is she feeling the need to smoke/play up /talk to strangers on the internet. Why is she really unhappy right now.
She need 1:1 time with you, her mum, or anyone she trusts, and gentle encouragement to talk.
Telling her how disappointed you are isn't going to do that.
Telling her there are consequences for her behaviour, but you really love her and are worried about her, may open a door

Soursprout Sat 14-Jul-18 10:39:25

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Soursprout Sat 14-Jul-18 10:43:36

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

xrossroads Sat 14-Jul-18 10:45:56

Not including her mum for the smoking issue was a bad choice but in general, we do what you said and is if one says the other supports.

We do fiction fairly well, I thought I would try and see if the smoking issue was a one off and chose not to include her but is a first and a mistake.

The fact that she had a lighter again and her continued disruptive behaviour is what's concerning, like I said, we are pretty easy going and do give a lot but we will have to be more firm going forward including restricting her time spent with kids at school over the holidays.

Again, not going in heavy handed... I'll be coming across as concerned but need her to her understand this is not acceptable... and will be emailing the head of student support over this with my concerns.. more so as they've not been In touch and I've not seen her report and that she's been caught with a lighter again

OP’s posts: |
xrossroads Sat 14-Jul-18 10:52:34

Sour sprout:

Yes, she has, quite early on in year 7 sad

There another school nearby which perform as well and better this last year.

She moved with the majority of her year but as is the case, does not hang out with them anymore but these new cool kids...

I will look to use stricter rules around her time on her phone... she was walked in on one night in her bed clothes while facetimeing someone from school which again she was told was unacceptable but all we hear is everyone else does it.

I feel I have to be firmer with her, she was at primary a great kid, staff loved her as do the boys and I've got a really good relationship with the primary school, it's just the kids at high, moreso at this school who are in general unruly which is mad given its a school which has performed well but did drop two places last year.

OP’s posts: |
xrossroads Sat 14-Jul-18 10:55:53

We do actually talk a lot. She just wants to fit in, the school even says as much, she can and does spend a lot of time going out with her mum and she does confide in me and her mum for various things, mum deals with the girl stuff like periods and boys etc and I deal with the social education side.

Granted not telling her about the smoking was a mistake but we do talk.. had a sit down last month and spent a couple of hours talking about school and how she knows she needs to do better but then brings a lighter home

OP’s posts: |
Soursprout Sat 14-Jul-18 12:26:53

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

penguinsnpandas Sat 14-Jul-18 14:16:14

I would definitely tell her Mum but looks to me likes she's struggling to cope and needs help. I wouldn't tolerate smoking either or bad language though the endless texting think they all do. I find its useful to chat about how she is feeling and keep chatting and get her Mum talking to her and let her know you understand its difficult, you will support her but there need to be boundaries for her own good. It maybe worth trying counselling as some girls start self-harming around this age. It maybe more a being cool thing but if she can't cope and is angry with herself there is an increased risk of that, the bad behavior maybe a cry for help.

steppemum Sun 15-Jul-18 13:36:29

all teens will tell you that 'everyone else does'

my 15 yo ds thinks we are TOTALLY unreasonable, because he isn't allowed to stay up all night on his x-box, because he is the ONLY ONE who has a limit.
This is despite me knowing that one close friend has no x-box mon-thurs at all.

The best answer I have come up with when they say everyone else does, is to say
well, I am not everyone else, and I love you enough to think that boundaries are useful.

It is important to know for yourself that you think this boundary (whatever it is) is important and necessary, and then hold tight and don't rise to the endless fuss they kick up about it.

For your dd, I would probably go down the line of - things aren't great, she is struggling at school, and you want to give her more structure and support, so the new rules are....

Don't forget teenage hormones do give them unpredictable emotions, highs and lows that they don't understand themselves.

It is hard parenting teens, it takes a lot of emotional energy, and at times feels thankless. But quite a lot of what you say will be trickling in, even if she wouldn't admit it to you.

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