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Need help with dd 14

(14 Posts)
Talulaley Thu 14-Jan-16 09:47:51

Dd aged 14 is not showing a lot of interest in school work, home work, reading ..

We've had a difficult time, I separated from her father, we moved house, new school. However, the lack of interest predates all of that. Really it's been like this since she started high school. All she wants to do is talk to her friends, be on YouTube ..

I don't want to see her do badly in her gcses.

Can I ask how others handle this? Do you leave them to it or stand over them, making sure they do revision for two hours a night?

If I left her to it, she would spend all her time on her laptop in her room. I do understand, I remember what it's like to be a teenager, but would like her to interact with me a little bit.

She's very sensitive and has a bit of history of self harming, so I can't just wade in, I'll have to stay calm and encouraging confused

We're also having a bit of a disagreement about her mobile. I want her to leave it downstairs at night, she says it's the only alarm that wakes her up! I'm sure she spends all night messaging and skyping. She struggles to get to sleep at a reasonable time anyway.

Any advice on how to handle these issues without starting a battle? I don't really have anyone I can talk to about it. Her dad was a waste of space and I feel things have got out of hand and I'd like to turn them around before it's too late.

Sadik Thu 14-Jan-16 10:04:33

"All she wants to do is talk to her friends, be on YouTube .."
I think this probably stands for a lot of teenagers smile

How is she doing at school in general? DD is less than enthusiastic, shall we say, about homework and the like - but she's getting perfectly good reports, good effort grades etc, so I figure no need to worry until they fall off.

Mobile - Dd's lives on a shelf in the hallway overnight, outside her bedroom door. It means she has to actually get out of bed to turn the alarm off! We have a rule of no tech in bedrooms at night for everyone, lots of moaning, but I just ignore ignore ignore.

General screen time - I know this divides people, but we impose a limit of an average of 3 hours per day over the week - dd has an app on her tablet & phone called 'screentime' that monitors usage. You can use it to directly limit and cut off at a certain time, we don't do that but keep an eye on the totals.

Talulaley Thu 14-Jan-16 10:18:16

Thanks. Her grades have gradually fallen a bit. Her teachers at her old school commented on her lack of interest, lack of commitment, inability to concentrate. I don't want her to get a reputation for this at her new school.

I know she's tired, she doesn't sleep enough, but I can't make her sleep.

I've let the whole tech thing slip during the difficult times recently (illness and bereavement in the family, I was away a lot looking after my parents) and now I don't know how to get back on track. I worry about her getting depressed or self harming again.

ivykaty44 Thu 14-Jan-16 10:23:45

Turn off the WiFi at bed time
Change the password on the WiFi
Switch the fuse box and knock of the electrics downstairs when you go to bed - thus turning if the WiFi

Mostly the phone is used for internet so no internet means no phone use

Just explain calmly weekdays the internet will not be staying on after bed time as it isn't needed but of course her phone can be used for an alarm clock.

BertrandRussell Thu 14-Jan-16 10:25:58

I think insisting on a bit of something vaguely school related every day is reasonable- but not anything like 2 hours. I have a 14 year old in year 10. We have a deal that he reads or does homework for 40 minutes every day, walks the dog and does a couple of chores- then his time's his own. Probably about 2 hours in total. If his grades went down he knows we'd have to renegotiate.

You say she's messaging and skyping all night- is she tired in the morning?

BertrandRussell Thu 14-Jan-16 10:27:11

Sorry- I see she is tired.

What happens if you ask her about her sleep?

Bluelilies Thu 14-Jan-16 10:32:36

Buy her an alarm clock, and then push the issue of leaving the phone outside her room at night, or at least out of reach from her bed, somewhere that you can look in and check it's been left. Alarms on mobiles are really not that loud so it's bollocks that she wouldn't wake to any other alarm. Do you check she's up in the mornings? If not, then maybe that would help to make sure she's awake if she really can sleep through alarms. Does she have an unlimited data contract on her phone? If not, and she's relying on the wifi, you can switch it off at an agreed time which will prevent late night messaging.

Other than that though it's really hard and I wish I knew the answers. My DSD (15) is similarly unengaged with school work at the moment, spending many hours on FB or youtube and doing very little revision for mocks, or homework, but like yours is a bit fragile emotionally so wading in and being really firm about things isn't an approach I'd want to take. With my own DC if I catch them repeatedly on their phones when they should be doing homework I remove the phone until the homework is done, but I'm less confident doing this with DSD partly because she's less robust emotionally, and partly because she's not my child. I'd recommend it though, as it does make sure they get on and do the homework. I always allow them a quick few seconds with the phone first before I take it away to say to their friends that they're going to be offline for an hour or so.

With DSD I try and tread the fine line between being supportive and caring, and telling her to get her act together and do some work. I try to teach her that it's much nicer, and healtheir for you to relax knowing you've done all the homework for the day, rather than procrastinate for hours knowing you ought to be getting on with it. But she doesn't seem to get this. It's not easy.

Sadik Thu 14-Jan-16 10:33:31

DD's also pretty rubbish at regulating her sleeping, and always has been (and gets really miserable if she doesn't sleep enough).

I figure we can impose a lights out / no tech time, and beyond that she may or may not sleep. She definitely sleeps more than she would left to herself!

Sadik Thu 14-Jan-16 10:35:25

I found the book 'Divas and Doorslammers' quite helpful - it's written by a teacher with lots of years experience dealing with teenagers, and he has some good strategies, I think. We've used various of them at different times when things just didn't seem to be working for dd/us.

Talulaley Thu 14-Jan-16 13:21:07

Thanks for the book recommendation, I'll have a look for it.

Blue, I do get her up in the morning, so truth be told she doesn't even need an alarm. I'm going to have to put my foot down. I never used to allow her to have her phone after 9 pm, but when I was looking after my mum her dad allowed it and now she's insisting it's necessary.

Bertrand, if I ask her about it she says she doesn't touch her phone, but I don't believe her. I've seen Instagram messages listed at 1 in the morning shock

Ivy, turning off the Wi-Fi may be a good idea, although I'll have to change the password as well.

pandora987 Tue 19-Jan-16 11:19:19

I've just imposed a technology ban for all of us after 10pm. We gather up all devices and put them downstairs in a drawer. It's been remarkably painless, but I give lots of warnings like "you've got 2 hours left" and "10 minutes to go". She then reads, does colouring until who knows what time, but at least its not screens. Good luck, don't back down... My DD is also very fragile and emotional , but I have said that good sleep is a good starting point to feeling better about yourself, so I think she's seeing it as part of the "make her feel happier " plan we've got going at the moment rather than a bad thing. I've said she can keep it at weekends as long as it's off past 11pm. It helps that we've all done it, so DH cant look at the football on his Ipad when he's in bed! And I can't check facebook. So DD feels we are all sacrificing something!

OliviaDunham Tue 19-Jan-16 12:09:44

My DS is 12 with a similar attitude, I have withdrawn all consoles in the week and his phone (actually sold it and handed him the receipt!). Once his grades are up this will be renegotiated. He does 30 mins reading, 30 mins writing plus any homework each night.

JustDanceAddict Tue 19-Jan-16 14:29:58

You def need to take away the phone/laptop at night then - I have known 14 year olds who are on tech into the early hours (not my kids). Even taking the wifi away wont help if she can access it on the phone on 4G. I bet some of her issues re grades/arguments are sleep related - kids are awful when they don't get enough sleep. She needs at least 9 hours sleep a night. I have to say, my DD doesn't quite get that, but I make sure she is in bed for 10pm as her alarm is set for 6.35.
Both my kids are quite emotionally fragile too. Recently I have been more 'available' in the evenings by playing some games/chatting with them after dinner - phone-based quiz ones so they can still engage with their phones if needs be - so I keep the kids downstairs for longer rather than them being squirrelled away in their rooms on phone/youtube for hours on end. I would rather they even watched a bit of TV with me as then we can talk about the programme. It still gives them time for themselves during the evening as well to chat/whatsapp and youtube.
Divas and Doorslammers is a great book - have read it myself to be 'forearmed' more than anything else. I;m getting DH to read it at the moment too.
Good luck with it all!

BackforGood Tue 19-Jan-16 23:46:45

I agree with others - you need to take away the technology / screens from 9.30ish each evening. If - as she insists - she's not using it, then there's nothing to miss, is there ?

Spending the evening in her bedroom on YouTube is a LOT more normal than doing 2 hours revision a night though grin and I@m on my 3rd 14 yr old at the moment.

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