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Old 01-29-2016, 11:47 AM
 
16,785 posts, read 19,654,434 times
Reputation: 33231

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Quote:
Originally Posted by nana053 View Post
You can apologize privately for losing your cool.

OTOH, I would set up the kitchen table or dining room table for doing homework and set up a schedule with both kids.

Take a look at this book. It details a good way to approach homework, imo.

Robot Check

Excellent suggestions. And I would add take away the phone that she is spending hours on during homework time. She can have the phone back later.
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Old 01-29-2016, 11:56 AM
 
9,707 posts, read 7,658,575 times
Reputation: 17565
So glad you and your daughter made peace. Growing up is not easy. No doubt your daughter still feels like a little girl some of the time, and is nostalgic for the freedom of her younger years. Perhaps she'd cope a little better if you make sure her weekends and free time include lots of slightly more mature fun, as befits her age, along with her old favorite hobbies. Take her out for a movie and ice cream, and just talk together afterwards. Tell her about your own younger days. Tell her she looks cute occasionally. Treat her as if she is just a little more mature than she actually is, and she may well rise to the occasion and behave in a more mature fashion.

Continue to help appropriately with school work - I agree that the kitchen table is a good place, and you can also set the timer on the stove to ring after half an hour to help keep her focussed on her work, something my mother did back when I would dawdle over math problems - sort of a "beat the clock".

Also, take her to the library and help her find books that relate to her curriculum - the librarians can offer good suggestions. Books about different careers may also be helpful in allaying her anxiety about the future. You can also point out her strengths and different interests, and suggest various related careers. Make sure she knows that she doesn't need to worry about committing to a career path now - instead, it's time to explore possibilities without pressure. She might also profit by talking with people who work in the various fields she may be considering.

Sounds like you're being a great dad. Admitting to your own lack of perfection is part of that, btw - it makes you more approachable and more human. She can identify with you and not feel the need to be perfect herself - just working on being a better version of her already lovable self.
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Old 01-29-2016, 12:33 PM
 
13,015 posts, read 12,460,814 times
Reputation: 37278
Quote:
Originally Posted by aabill View Post
Wow, thanks for all the great replies. I really didn't expect to get that much of a response but I appreciate it. Unfortunately, there are so many there is no way to respond to all of you. I did read them all, though.

Just to give an update: I saw the first 5 or 6 responses before I left work last night and they were very helpful. I resolved that I would have a sit down with my daughter when I got home and apologize for my over-reaction.

I know some of you said I don't have anything to apologize for. But I feel like I really lost my cool in a way that was way over-the-top and did not set a good example for my kids. Certainly when I was a kid I had much stricter parents than my wife and I are, and I got yelled at many times, but in this case I feel I showed a lack of self-control that my parents never had even when they were very angry. I do feel that my wife and I need to be stricter with our kids and they need to respect our authority more. But my wife and I need to have some discussions about how to get to that point. It is not going to happen over night, though.

In any case, when I got home I still wasn't sure what I was going to say, so I spent some time thinking about it before going upstairs to talk to her. But before I could, my daughter came down and offered an apology first. It wasn't a particularly good apology. It was very angry, in fact. It went something like this: "Do you want to hear something? I'm sorry. That's called an apology. Something you don't know anything about because you can never admit you ever do anything wrong." She was fighting back tears and her lower lip was quivering the whole time so I know it was very difficult for her. I began to tell her that that is not true and I was just about to go upstairs and apologize for my overreaction. But she was in no mood and turned away and went back upstairs. A few minutes later, I went into her room and told her that I accepted her apology and I was really sorry for the way I overreacted and that it was not appropriate and I thought it was very big of her to apologize the way she did. She was still upset and just said 'Okay'. I left it at that and left the room and gave her space for the rest of the night so everybody's hurt feelings would have time to heal over. As it turned out, very early this morning I was scheduled to drop her off at the train station for a multi-day field trip. At the train station she was back to herself, happy and coming back to give me hugs three times before finally getting on the train.

Okay, I have a feeling some might say that I'm a pushover to accept that apology. But as I said in my original post, both my daughters are generally good, sweet, compassionate kids. This outburst was very out of character for her. I think we both pushed each others buttons that night and we both realized it. What I mostly wanted was for her to know that what she said was unacceptable and there had to be consequences. Though the apology wasn't perfect it was also a first-time offense and I know I played my part as well. I basically felt playing a hard-ass at this point wouldn't serve any purpose. I know it was very difficult for her to do and knowing my daughter as I do, I know that even though it was angry it was also sincere.

I appreciate all the suggestions that people offered regarding homework. Many great ideas there. Will definitely try to use them to come up w/ a better system than what we've been doing.

Several of you mentioned the possibility of ADD/ADHD. I don't think it's that. She's always been a good student before. One poster asked, "Is it that that homework just isn't fun?". I think it's that more than anything. She gets anxious about life sometimes. She's in 8th grade and she sometimes has anxiety about whether she's going to be able to find a job when she's an adult. It's almost like she's worried about growing up and it's happening too fast. She wishes she could still just spend her time just doing all fun things like it was just a couple of years ago. We have her in counseling for her anxiety and it seems to be helping some. Like many of you suggested, I think we need to come up with a plan that works for her and us and then implement it.

Thanks again for all the replies. You all were very, very helpful. You've given me a lot to think about.

Bill
Nobody thought I had ADD because I was at the top of my class and was the middle school and high school valedictorian before going to an Ivy League school, where I graduated *** laude. But I'm a classic case, and anxiety is often an add-on symptom of ADD. Trust me, I'm very high anxiety.

I did great in school, but everything else was a mess. As for the wanting to do fun things all the time, I remember being the same. I was a terrible procrastinator because reining my brain in to tackle boring projects was more than I could handle. The idea of sorting through a ton of facts to organize them into an essay or working through a complex math problem just seemed like an insurmountable obstacle to me. It seems just like this unending miserable slog.

Please do get her screened. It was the best thing that ever happened to me - I went out, researched symptoms and coping strategies and it changed my life.
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Old 01-29-2016, 12:51 PM
 
Location: CT
3,462 posts, read 1,698,642 times
Reputation: 4600
I recall almost 20 years ago our oldest son was going through his teenage years, the "attitude" was in full swing and he was having words with his mother one morning as she drove him to school. At that time our son was probably 16 or 17, 6 foot and at least 170-180 lbs. while his Italian Mom was 5 foot nothing but with an arm long enough to reach across the car. Well, somewhere in the conversation he uttered the F.U. message to his mom at the wheel, before he even new what hit him the car was at a dead stop and he was nursing a fat lip. That never happened again and we laugh about it to this day. It's called growing pains, the kids learn how far they can push you, that's where they discover where the limits are.
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Old 01-29-2016, 01:00 PM
 
41 posts, read 19,762 times
Reputation: 66
I raised to boys and they would never get away with swearing at me. She needs to be punished for that and told that you will not put up with disrespect. My boys got grounded for bad grades. If they had a bad three week report then they lost all everything, phone, games, tv, and no going out for three weeks until report card time. That usually put a stop to failing grades because they knew if they were still failing at report card time then another three weeks would be added to the grounding. If you know that your daughter is capable of getting good grades and there are know other learning problems then she needs to be held accountable for her grades. I would also speak to the teachers at school and find out about tutoring and other programs that they may offer to help her. It is never ok for a child do be disrespectful to a parent. If they get away with that at home they are twice as bad elsewhere.
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Old 01-29-2016, 03:13 PM
 
4 posts, read 2,937 times
Reputation: 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by JrzDefector View Post
Nobody thought I had ADD because I was at the top of my class and was the middle school and high school valedictorian before going to an Ivy League school, where I graduated *** laude. But I'm a classic case, and anxiety is often an add-on symptom of ADD. Trust me, I'm very high anxiety.

I did great in school, but everything else was a mess. As for the wanting to do fun things all the time, I remember being the same. I was a terrible procrastinator because reining my brain in to tackle boring projects was more than I could handle. The idea of sorting through a ton of facts to organize them into an essay or working through a complex math problem just seemed like an insurmountable obstacle to me. It seems just like this unending miserable slog.

Please do get her screened. It was the best thing that ever happened to me - I went out, researched symptoms and coping strategies and it changed my life.
Thank you Jrz, certainly something to consider. Definitely something that would be at least worth discussing with her counselor.

Bill
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Old 01-29-2016, 03:15 PM
 
4 posts, read 2,937 times
Reputation: 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by CraigCreek View Post
So glad you and your daughter made peace. Growing up is not easy. No doubt your daughter still feels like a little girl some of the time, and is nostalgic for the freedom of her younger years. Perhaps she'd cope a little better if you make sure her weekends and free time include lots of slightly more mature fun, as befits her age, along with her old favorite hobbies. Take her out for a movie and ice cream, and just talk together afterwards. Tell her about your own younger days. Tell her she looks cute occasionally. Treat her as if she is just a little more mature than she actually is, and she may well rise to the occasion and behave in a more mature fashion.

Continue to help appropriately with school work - I agree that the kitchen table is a good place, and you can also set the timer on the stove to ring after half an hour to help keep her focussed on her work, something my mother did back when I would dawdle over math problems - sort of a "beat the clock".

Also, take her to the library and help her find books that relate to her curriculum - the librarians can offer good suggestions. Books about different careers may also be helpful in allaying her anxiety about the future. You can also point out her strengths and different interests, and suggest various related careers. Make sure she knows that she doesn't need to worry about committing to a career path now - instead, it's time to explore possibilities without pressure. She might also profit by talking with people who work in the various fields she may be considering.

Sounds like you're being a great dad. Admitting to your own lack of perfection is part of that, btw - it makes you more approachable and more human. She can identify with you and not feel the need to be perfect herself - just working on being a better version of her already lovable self.
Thank you Craig, those are all fantastic suggestions. Exactly the kind of thing I was hoping to find here. Many thanks.

Bill
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Old 01-29-2016, 03:39 PM
 
Location: Huntsville, AL
2,850 posts, read 768,530 times
Reputation: 5396
When my 'step' was 16, people would ask how old she was... My typical answer was, 16 going on 30 going on 5.
It all depended on what age she was at the moment... Those years were some trying times... and I thank God every day for seeing me through it... with both of us still alive! lol
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Old 01-29-2016, 04:12 PM
 
5,841 posts, read 3,312,390 times
Reputation: 13656
Glad you're all feeling better. In regards to your daughter's anxiety, I would guess that all the news about unemployment, college debt, foreclosures, etc. doesn't help at all. A few years ago the mantra to our kids was "You can do anything you choose", and now all they hear is "You won't do as well as your parents/grandparents". We even had to help our college-age son get more realistic grasp on it all a few years ago. Best luck to you and your family.
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Old 01-29-2016, 04:22 PM
 
Location: North America
14,212 posts, read 9,623,527 times
Reputation: 5534
Quote:
Originally Posted by aabill View Post
Wow, thanks for all the great replies. I really didn't expect to get that much of a response but I appreciate it. Unfortunately, there are so many there is no way to respond to all of you. I did read them all, though.

Just to give an update: I saw the first 5 or 6 responses before I left work last night and they were very helpful. I resolved that I would have a sit down with my daughter when I got home and apologize for my over-reaction.

I know some of you said I don't have anything to apologize for. But I feel like I really lost my cool in a way that was way over-the-top and did not set a good example for my kids. Certainly when I was a kid I had much stricter parents than my wife and I are, and I got yelled at many times, but in this case I feel I showed a lack of self-control that my parents never had even when they were very angry. I do feel that my wife and I need to be stricter with our kids and they need to respect our authority more. But my wife and I need to have some discussions about how to get to that point. It is not going to happen over night, though.

In any case, when I got home I still wasn't sure what I was going to say, so I spent some time thinking about it before going upstairs to talk to her. But before I could, my daughter came down and offered an apology first. It wasn't a particularly good apology. It was very angry, in fact. It went something like this: "Do you want to hear something? I'm sorry. That's called an apology. Something you don't know anything about because you can never admit you ever do anything wrong." She was fighting back tears and her lower lip was quivering the whole time so I know it was very difficult for her. I began to tell her that that is not true and I was just about to go upstairs and apologize for my overreaction. But she was in no mood and turned away and went back upstairs. A few minutes later, I went into her room and told her that I accepted her apology and I was really sorry for the way I overreacted and that it was not appropriate and I thought it was very big of her to apologize the way she did. She was still upset and just said 'Okay'. I left it at that and left the room and gave her space for the rest of the night so everybody's hurt feelings would have time to heal over. As it turned out, very early this morning I was scheduled to drop her off at the train station for a multi-day field trip. At the train station she was back to herself, happy and coming back to give me hugs three times before finally getting on the train.

Okay, I have a feeling some might say that I'm a pushover to accept that apology. But as I said in my original post, both my daughters are generally good, sweet, compassionate kids. This outburst was very out of character for her. I think we both pushed each others buttons that night and we both realized it. What I mostly wanted was for her to know that what she said was unacceptable and there had to be consequences. Though the apology wasn't perfect it was also a first-time offense and I know I played my part as well. I basically felt playing a hard-ass at this point wouldn't serve any purpose. I know it was very difficult for her to do and knowing my daughter as I do, I know that even though it was angry it was also sincere.

I appreciate all the suggestions that people offered regarding homework. Many great ideas there. Will definitely try to use them to come up w/ a better system than what we've been doing.

Several of you mentioned the possibility of ADD/ADHD. I don't think it's that. She's always been a good student before. One poster asked, "Is it that that homework just isn't fun?". I think it's that more than anything. She gets anxious about life sometimes. She's in 8th grade and she sometimes has anxiety about whether she's going to be able to find a job when she's an adult. It's almost like she's worried about growing up and it's happening too fast. She wishes she could still just spend her time just doing all fun things like it was just a couple of years ago. We have her in counseling for her anxiety and it seems to be helping some. Like many of you suggested, I think we need to come up with a plan that works for her and us and then implement it.

Thanks again for all the replies. You all were very, very helpful. You've given me a lot to think about.

Bill


Maybe you should take her to a therapist. They can work on some strategies to help her reduce it.
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